Familiar faces do battle in Nantes
Last year’s VELUX EHF Champions League finalists HBC Nantes are targeting a return to Cologne. After getting past Rhein-Neckar Löwen in the Last 16, Group A winners Barca Lassa come to town for a clash between two sides with a number of connections – four Barcelona players are French, while four Nantes players wore the Blaugrana jersey in the past.
With the first leg at home, the French side know the importance of making sure they have something to play for when travelling to Spain in ten days’ time.
QUARTER-FINALS, FIRST LEG
HBC Nantes (FRA) vs Barca Lassa (ESP)
Wednesday 24 April, 20:45 hrs local time, live on ehfTV.com
- the two teams faced each other in the group phase last season - Nantes won at home (29:25), Barcelona took revenge a couple of weeks later (31:25)
- four Nantes players are former Barcelona players : Eduardo Gurbindo, David Balaguer, Kiril Lazarov and Valero Rivera
- seven former champions will be on the court: Lazarov, Gurbindo and Rivera for Nantes, Sorhaindo, Arino, Tomas and Raul Entrerrios for Barcelona
- Kiril Lazarov is the home side’s top scorer with 70 goals, while Barcelona’s Aleix Gomez scored 60 goals
- this is the second straight time Nantes have qualified for the quarter-finals
- on the other hand, Barcelona have failed to reach this stage of the competition only once in the last nine seasons - last season, after being defeated in the Last 16 by another French team, Montpellier
- Barca only lost one game in 2019, in Veszprém, while Nantes have only won two of their six games in Europe this year
Author: Kevin Domas / cor