Flensburg vs. Barcelona / EHF Champions League – There is no doubt that this is a derby of the third round of EHF Champions League. In last several years both teams can boost with titles of European champions and are certainly most serious candidates to reach the final this year. As it is usual more is expected from Barcelona, which is untouchable in the Spanish championship and it won two times in first two rounds of the EHF Champions League. On the other hand, Flensburg is also undefeated in the Bundesliga but in the EHF Champions League it drew derby of the first round at home and won in the second one. The two teams met the last time in the group phase of Champions League 2013-14 when Barcelona won both matches, but semi-final of season 2014-15 is still remembered when Flensburg won after 7-meter throws and later on become the champion. Begins: 05.10.2016 – 18:30 CET
Flensburg is not undefeated this season as Veszprem prevented them in the first round of Champions League to have the perfect score, as the match was draw 24-24. They pulled off one point from that match as they were trailing behind for most of time in it, but it was confirmed once again that Flensburg is very difficult to defeat when it plays at home. However, they had trouble to overcome Magdeburg which was defeated by minimal goal difference and after dramatic finish, while for the time being they win easier when play away even when facing reigning champion of Germany, RN Lowen.
On Sunday they played away against Silkeborg and after smaller problems in the first half they won by 25-19. They played very good defence, while in attack left wing Mogensen stud out although other players also played well. In that match they couldn’t count on left wing Eggert but versatile Mahe was a good replacement. Due to injury centre back Lauge Schmidt is out of action, while in this match they expect the most from goalkeeper M. Andersson, and right back Glandorf and right wing Svan Lasse.
Probable lineups Flensburg: M. Andersson, Mahe, Gottfridsson, Mogensen, Glandorf, Svan Lasse, Toft Hansen
Barcelona still has perfect score this season but on Saturday it needed just a bit to spoil the winning streak. They faced Kiel at home and were trailing behind for a bigger part of match, sometimes even by four goals, but in the very finish they pulled themselves together and after a real drama they turned over the result and won, despite that the guests had last attack and could theoretically score for draw. It was practically the first real test of strength for the Catalans this season as they have no worthy opponent in domestic championship when for years win everyone in a row.
In the first round of Champions League they faced Wisla Plock away and despite not so brilliant game in the first half they routinely won at the end. All didn’t go smoothly in several championship matches but all shortcomings surfaced during the match against Kiel. Barcelona was saved by its left and right wingmen, Rivera and Tomas, who scored the most goals, while backs didn’t play up to the level, including Lazarov who scored just two goals. R. Entrerrios was even weaker and they all have to do better in order to avoid losing for the first time this season. The best of all is that no one has serious problem with injury.
Probable lineups Barcelona: de Vargas, Rivera, Jallouz, R. Entrerrios, Lazarov, Tomas, Sorhaindo
Flensburg – Barcelona PICK
Individually, Barcelona is perhaps stronger but when we put together all what the two teams did so far, Flensburg is perhaps a slight favourite. Anyway, our forecast is in line with tradition from matches between the two rival, which says that defence gets less importance and that we will see plenty of goals.
Pick: over 53.5 goals
Odds: 1.90 at bwin (down to 1.80 can be played)