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Draw: The champion in Skopje, Kielce or Rhein Neckar

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Vienna, 25 February

Today in EHF headquarters, a Final 16 elimination round draw was held for the EHF Velux Champions league. The first leg is scheduled for 19-23 March, the second leg will be played 26-30 March. The winning teams of the last 16 qualify for the quarter-finals and only the four best outfits will make it to the climax of the season, the VELUX EHF FINAL4 in Cologne (31 May and 1 June 2014).

VELUX EHF Champions League Last 16 draw:

Orlen Wisla Plock (POL) vs MKB-MVM Veszprém KC (HUN)
HC Vardar – Skopje (MKD) vs HSV Hamburg (GER)
Aalborg Handball (DEN) vs FC Barcelona Intersport (ESP)
HC Motor Zaporozhye (UKR) vs THW Kiel (GER)
Metalurg Skopje (MKD) vs KIF Kolding Kobenhavn (DEN)
Celje Pivovarna Lasko (SLO) vs SG Flensburg-Handewitt (GER)
Gorenje Velenje (SLO) vs PSG Handball (FRA)
Vive Targi Kielce (POL) vs Rhein-Neckar Löwen (GER)

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Comments from clubs representatives after the VELUX EHF Champions League Last 16 draw at the EHF Office on Tuesday:

Thorsten Storm, Rhein Neckar Löwen/GER

On playing Vive Targi Kielce/POL:

“This is the biggest draw we could get. Both teams are on the same level, it will be tough, but also we will see games on a very high sport level.”

Radoslaw Wasiak, Vive Targi Kielce/POL

On playing Rhein Neckar Löwen/GER:

“We played each other before three times in the CL. It will be very exciting for our spectators and very tough games for our players. But all three possible opponents were strong. Under a new coach our team has a new spirit. He changed the system of our defence, but he still needs more time. We will see how far we can get until March.”

Davor Stojanoski, Vardar PRO Skopje/MKD:

On playing HSV Hamburg/GER:

“We were expecting this could happen. They have never played against us, but they will know what to expect in Boris Trajkovski arena. It will be very difficult for us, but it is very good to have the reigning champions in our hall.”

Matthias Rudolph, HSV Hamburg/GER

On playing Vardar/MKD:

“Vardar Skopje are a tough nut to crack. It is not true we have not played against them. We have, but at that time their name was Chekhovskie Medvedi (laughing). But seriously now, Vardar are very tough, but we have to deal with it. It is special down there in their arena and I do not think we can create a similar atmosphere in Hamburg.”

Zoran Cvetanovski, HC Metalurg/MKD

On playing KIF Kolding Kobenhavn/DEN:

“Big fight, nothing more. Both Kolding and Metalurg play a good defence. I hope we will be ready and I hope we will be without serious injuries. The first leg is very important for us, it is very tough to play in Skopje and we proved that last Sunday against Barcelona.”

Jens Boesen, KIF Kolding Kobenhavn/DEN

On playing Metalurg/MKD:

“This draw was good for handball and we are looking forward for two top games. We had many problems with injuries and Kim Andersson will probably not be able to play in this season, but we hope we can get two or three players back from the injury list. Many people wanted to avoid them, but why? We are really looking forward.”

Roman Pungartnik, Celje Pivovarna Lasko/SLO

On playing SG Flensburg-Handewitt/GER:

“Our chances are close to zero. But it is really good to play Flensburg, because this year it is ten years since we played against them in the Champions League final. For our fans and our club it will be a great opportunity to prepare a great handball feast. We have a young team and know each other. We will see.”

Dierk Schmäschke, SG Flensburg Handewitt/GER

On playing Celje Pivovarna Lasko/SLO:

“There was no particular wish for this draw as all teams are very strong. Because of the 10th anniversary of the Champions League final we played against each other it is very important for both teams. It will not be an easy game to play, but we still look forward. We are sure we will play in two full houses in Flensburg and Celje.”

Sabine Holdorf Schust, THW Kiel/GER

On playing HC Motor Zaporozhye/UKR:

“We are not really happy because of the travel that awaits us. We wanted to meet Aalborg. It is difficult to say what they can achieve against us. They are a strong team with several international top players. It is the first time we play against them so we will see. But the travel is unpleasant and really expensive too.”

Dmitriy Karpushchenko, HC Motor Zaporozhye/UKR:

On playing THW Kiel/GER:

“It is our first appearance in the Champions League and I think it is a big step forward for our five-year old club. We have already made several surprises this season and why we should not make more? Why not to give a good fight to Kiel after we tied Rhein Neckar and beat Veszprem.”

Xavier O’Callaghan, FC Barcelona/ESP

On playing Aalborg Handball/DEN:

“After one year we will go back to Denmark for the Last 16. Denmark is a country with a long handball tradition and you know there is always a lot of respect to handball there. It is a pleasure for us to go to play in Aalborg. We know we have to play a couple of good games to stay on the road to the FINAL4. I think they are on a similar level like Bjerringbro were last season. In Denmark you can always find good teams.”

Thomas Christensen, Aalborg Handball/DEN

On playing FC Barcelona/ESP:

“There was nothing more we could wish for today. It’s just superb. It will be great to see Barcelona playing in Aalborg. They have top players on all positions, so we are looking forward to see them in our arena.”

Bruno Martini, PSG Handball

On playing RK Gorenje Velenje/SLO:

“It could have been worse of course. But Velenje have one of the best attack in the Champions League. They play a very good handball and at home they have a very good atmosphere. They are from a great school of handball and we have to be very carefull of those two matches.”

Csaba Hajnal, MKB Veszprem KC/HUN

On playing Orlen Wisla Plock/POL:

“It is a strong opponent, but in our eyes the strongest team was Vardar Skopje. Plock are a very good team too. Of course, it is a big advantage, that we play the second game in Veszprem. We have to make a good result in Plock and we hope we can do that. Currently we are overwhelmed by Spanish coaches everywhere. Our coach is Spanish, this week we play against Szeged, they have a Spanish coach too and now we have a Plock with another Spanish.”

Tanija Rednak, RK Gorenje Velenje/SLO

On playing PSG Handball/FRA:

“We are satisfied with the draw, our players also wanted Paris. Paris are a strong team with great individuals such as Hansen, Narcisse etc. and of course our former player Melic who is very welcome in Velenje. But that doesn’t mean that we will go in the match with a white flag. We will fight and of course we aim to win.”

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