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Handball 2016/17

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    Handball 2016/17

    As both the Bundesliga and EHF Champions League throw off this weekend I thought I should start this thread now as a couple of (well at least one) people expressed an interest during the Olympics.

    Firstly I feel a little fraudulent in trying to guide you through the world of handball. I play in the UK and whilst I can follow a game I don't have a massive amount of knowledge about the professional game.

    I've been doing some reading to bring me up to speed and have been slightly horrified that the ruling bodies appear to take FIFA and UEFA as role models. I know I shouldn't be shocked as this is sports administration but still.

    Hassan Moustafa has been president of the IHF for 15 years now, in which time he has recruited 60 new national federations. Which might sound positive except that not all of these organisations appear to have any people who play handball. Oh, and as you ask, yes the IHF does have a 1 member fed = 1 vote system.

    As for the EHF they just seem to want to be UEFA. They renamed their European Champions Cup to EHF Champions League the season after UEFA rebranded to the Champions League. They have also dropped a Cup Winners Cup in the past five years. The selection process for the Champions league is also rather opaque, yes there is a coefficient and teams qualify but teams who missed out can also apply and their admission is based "according to a criteria system that looked at eight different fields including past performances, venue, spectator, TV, marketing and media issues, the EHF Executive decided on the teams for Groups A and B, teams for Groups C and D and the qualification teams." Which is why PSG, Nantes and Montpellier are taking part but 2nd placed St Raphael aren't.

    I'll cover the group stage structure at a later date as it's a little complicated.

    Now I've got that out of my system lets have a look at this weekends fixtures.

    This weekend has the mens Champions League qualifying round. Two groups of four teams playing a semifinal on Saturday and a final on Sunday. The winners go through to the group stage of the Champions League.

    All times CET

    Saturday 3rd September

    Champions League

    RK Gorenje Velenje (SLO) - Cocks (FIN) 13:30
    TATRAN Presov (SVK) - Red Boys Differdange (LUX) 16:15
    Bregenz Handball (AUT) - Achilles Bocholt (BEL) 16:45
    ABC/UMinho (POR) - Maccabi CASTRO Tel Aviv (ISL) 19:30

    DKB Handball-Bundesliga

    Rhein-Neckar Lowen - SC Magdeburg 15:00

    Spanish Supa Copa

    FC Barcelona Lassa - Helvetia Anaitasuna 20:30

    All these games should be watchable by most of the board users (certainly ones in UK, US & Australia) just click the fixture and it will take you to the game. Most of these won't have commentary though.

    I'd recommend the Rhein-Neckar Lowen - SC Magdeburg as it's the league winners v the cup winners in a regular game (the super cup is tonight at 20:15). I just want to draw your attention to some brilliant team names like Red Boys Differdange, Achilles Bocholt & Cocks.

    Handball 2016/17

    Wonderful stuff.

    Thank you.


      Handball 2016/17

      Good stuff. How was your Bank Holiday Weekend tournament, Levin?


        Handball 2016/17

        It went well. ITV took on the cost of hiring the copper box in return for making it part of their #iamteamGB thing. Which meant that we got far more coverage than the past few years including a write up on the Telegraph website. We had lots of British medal winners (and Alesha Dixon) come along for photos etc. which meant that there were 400+ people there.

        Sadly most people left as soon as the Olympians did but hopefully some caught the bug. As well as the olympics and the games there were some "try handball" sessions.


          Handball 2016/17

          Cheers Levin, great to see this thread. I've been looking forward to it since the end of the Olympic tournaments.

          While claiming zero expertise, I've been doing some research on the season ahead, so, to build briefly on Levin's EHF Champions League coverage, I'll note that the two other main European club competitions are the EHF Cup and the Challenge Cup, which look like equivalents to the UEFA Cup and, well, I suppose the Intertoto Cup respectively. This all applies to both men's and women's clubs.

          As Levin says there is some sort of coefficient mallarkey to decide the number of clubs from each country that will go into which tournament. Suffice it to say that in the coefficient rankings for 2015/16 the British men were placed 39 of 42 (above the Faroes, Malta and the Republic of Ireland) and the women were 37 of 37. For the forthcoming season the British entrants in the various tournaments are:


          Champions League: none
          EHF Cup: London GD (2015/16 British league champions)
          Challenge Cup: Cambridge (2015/16 3rd place)

          In the EHF Cup, London GD play Maccabi Srugo Rishon Lezion on 9th and 10th September (both games are in Israel). In the Challenge Cup, Cambridge play Lokomotiv Varna on 19th and 20th November (both games are in Bulgaria).


          Champions League: none
          EHF Cup: none
          Challenge Cup: Olympia (2015/16 4th place)

          In the Challenge Cup, Olympia play LK Zug on 12th/13th and 19th/20th November (it's not yet clear where the games will be played).


            Handball 2016/17

            Brilliant stuff, thanks Levin and Furtho!


              Handball 2016/17

              I like the "passive play" rule in Handball. Football should have a think about introducing something similar.


                Handball 2016/17

                I think Reed would probably like that.


                  Handball 2016/17

                  Good stuff, people. I assume that Britain's second placed men's team and top three women's teams aren't entered because they can't afford the travel?


                    Handball 2016/17

                    Well there are cost implications but also they'll get pasted. So it's balancing the desire to have a trip and play a pro team against the cost and disappointing losses.

                    As I alluded I think, you have to apply even if you qualify. Is that true with football but the choice is a no brainer or do teams have to play?

                    I've not asked too many questions in the club but the men's team has gone whenever they can but the women's team have never applied.

                    Oh, to demonstrate how one-sided these games will be...

                    GD's past few European campaigns.

                    2015 HC Kehra 80:42 GD
                    2014 OCI Lions 72:30 GD (we only lost 18:28 in the first leg and I suspect the Lions coach wasn't happy)
                    2013 B.B. Ankara Spor 82:32 GD
                    2012 KIF Kolding 88:32 GD


                      Handball 2016/17

                      The Women's Euros are on in Sweden in December. Tickets are now on sale for all games.


                        Handball 2016/17

                        Standing by for a bit of Tatran Presov vs Red Boys Differdange. Oh yes. I remember the glory days when the latter used to tear up* the UEFA Cup.

                        *lose in the Extra Preliminary Round of


                          Handball 2016/17

                          The stream was pretty ropey, so I ended up treating it more like a ticker - Tatran won 38-32, although it was mostly closer than that until the last few minutes.


                            Handball 2016/17

                            That's a shame. I've never had any real problems with the steam quality.

                            So the men's champions league group stage is now set.

                            TATRAN Presov & ABC/UMinho go to groups C & D respectively.

                            Ok, lets have a look at the group format shall we? You'd think that with four groups it should be fairly simple wouldn't you? Oh no.

                            Groups A & B both have 8 teams. You want to be in these groups. The top team in each group qualify directly for the quarter finals. Teams finishing 2-6 (out of 8!) go through to the round of sixteen.

                            Groups C & D have 6 teams each. 1st in group C play 2nd in group D and vice versa. The winners of those matches go through to the round of 16. Well it's called the round of 16 but there are only 12 teams taking part because two have already qualified for the quarter finals.

                            The women's champions league has it's qualifying tournaments this weekend (starting Friday) three tournaments of 4 in the same format as the men.

                            The group stage is a much more sensible four groups of four. However... three teams from each group qualify for the Main Round. Which is two groups of six. With teams carrying the results of the games against other group qualifiers through to this round.

                            After this is gets logical. 4th from group 1 playing 1st from group 2 and so on.

                            Why can't it be simpler?

                            One of the good things about the champions leagues are the final fours. Semifinals, 3rd place games and finals are played over one weekend in one location.


                              Handball 2016/17

                              There are two streaming games on Wednesday evening.

                              HSC 2000 Coburg - Rhein-Neckar Lowen 2015
                              FC Barcelona Lassa - Fraikin BM. Granollers 2030

                              I'd recommend the bundesliga game as the last league game Barcelona lost was 18th May 2013.


                                Handball 2016/17

                                Indeed, Barcelona essentially lack domestic competition in the sport and have won the last six titles on the trot. Granollers do have the second highest number of titles, but their last win was in the mid-70s.

                                Unlike basketball, Real Madrid does not field a top flight handball team, and Atleti have disbanded their team. Barca apart, the Spanish league is largely composed of teams from provincial towns without top flight football clubs.

                                Rhein-Neckar play in Mannheim, should anyone be wondering.

                                The very strong French League starts later this month, with the Trophee des Champions (SuperCup) featuring double League and League Cup winners Montpellier, Cup Winners PSG, Nantes and Saint-Raphael being held on the 16th and 17th.


                                  Handball 2016/17

                                  Yeah, a league where one team has the budget of all the other teams combined is never going to be very exciting.

                                  One of the joys of finding more out about the bundesligas has been working out where teams play. There are some tiny towns that have 1st div teams. Thanks for mentioning where Rhein-Neckar play, it makes sense when you look at a map I guess.

                                  The French league is competitive at the moment but I don't know how long that will last, PSG had twice the budget of Montpellier last season. And won the league by 10 points (2 for a win).

                                  God, two (of ten) teams in Ligue féminine de Handball D1 went bankrupt last season.


                                    Handball 2016/17

                                    I'm not sure that starting this thread has been a great idea. I'm currently rather frustrated by the lack of historic information about handball in England and am considering trying to gather it all in one place. A project that I've no idea how to do.


                                      Handball 2016/17

                                      Three competitions start this weekend. At the top we have the Men's Champions League. This guide is as good a place to start as any.

                                      My pick of the fixtures are SG Flensburg-Handewitt - Telekom Veszprém at 1730 CET on Saturday. Last years losing finalist versus the team who lost to the eventual winners at the quarter final stage.


                                      THW Kiel - Paris Saint-Germain Handball at 1930 CET on Sunday. The most decorated team in Germany against the team with one of the biggest budgets in handball.

                                      At the other end of the pyramid we have the english men's and women's competitions starting. There are games in Barking and Leyton. London GD have three games in Barking against Cambridge (technically Cambridge home games). Mens II at 11.30, Women at 1330 and Men I at 1530. West London Eagles (formerly Ruislip Eagles) are playing Coventry, Men and Women in Leyton. The link has the times but not what day...

                                      The Barking games take place at Sports House Barking, Mayesbrook Park, Lodge Ave, London RM8 2JR and the games in Leyton at Score Centre, 100 Oliver Rd, London E10 5JY (just opposite Brisbane Road).


                                        Handball 2016/17

                                        I'm sorry but I have to ask, why do West London Eagles play in East London?



                                          Handball 2016/17

                                          It's because a handball pitch is 40m x 20m and there are a limited number of halls that size (also hence why Cambridge were playing their home games in Barking). I was talking to a guy who used to play for Colchester and the place they trained wasn't long enough so they had to play 'home' games at alternate venues.

                                          An additional problem is that hall owners sometimes have issues with the use of sticky on the ball as it leaves marks that are quite hard to shift.

                                          It's going to be a problem long term as well. Not helped by things like Sportshouse Barking (which used to have 4 handball courts, and was therefore used for schools and uni championships) converting 3 of their pitches into a trampoline, skatepark and climbing centre.


                                            Handball 2016/17

                                            So GD men started off their league campaign by losing heavily to last year's 2nd place team Cambridge. Our women managed a win though they made harder work of it than they needed to.

                                            Top 5 goals from the second round of the Men's champions league a couple of ridiculous ones in there. No big shocks so far Flensburg getting a draw against Veszprem was a bit of a surprise though.

                                            In France PSG are 100% after 2 games in the Lidl Starligue, yes that is the name, bloody franglais.

                                            edit: I know it's only one season but the only cities to have both Women's and Men's teams in div 1 are Paris and Nantes and none of them are branches of the same club.


                                              Handball 2016/17

                                              More good team names, seen yesterday

                                              "FTC Rail Cargo Hungaria - Astrakhanochka Astrakhan"

                                              A bit one sided though.

                                              5 games into the Men's CL and Barcelona are unbeaten, closely followed by PSG who only lost theor opening game against Kiel.


                                                Handball 2016/17

                                                Oh, short notice but if you fancy some third tier European action this weekend Olympia are hosting LK Zug at Medway Park.

                                                There is a full day of domestic games on the Saturday culminating with the 1st leg of the Challenge Cup 3rd Round at 1800 (the second leg is Sunday morning)

                                                Tickets can be bought here. It's the first time a European game has been hosted in the UK.

                                                Yes Medway is an odd place for London Olympia to play but the sportshall owners are very keen on handball and have been very helpful.


                                                  Handball 2016/17

                                                  For those in North America, ESPN 3/Watch ESPN have been showing some European women's games on-line, but they are rarely announced in advance.