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June 28, 2022

Men’s handball: HCM Constanta to face MKB Veszprem in CL

The draws that took place in Vienna on Tuesday have revealed the team that will oppose HCM Constanta’s in the last-16 stage of the Champions League. The ‘Sharks’ will face MKB Veszprem, Marian Cozma’s former team.

HCM Constanta will play the first leg of the fixture at home on March 24-28, with the decisive leg scheduled on March 31-April 4 in Veszprem. HCM Constanta was 4th in the Champions League’s main group stage, totaling 9 points. With four wins, one draw and five defeats the ‘Sharks’ managed to qualify for the first time for the last-16 stage of the most important inter-club competition in Europe. MKB Veszprem topped Group B with 9 wins and one defeat. The draws were lucky for the Romanian title holders, with HCM considering Veszprem the best outcome considering that it has an accessible level when compared to the other possible opponents (Kiel or Ciudad Real).

While HCM chalks up the first presence of a Romanian club in this stage of the competition, Veszprem already has a tradition in this regard: the Hungarian club played the CL final in the 2001/2002 season and reached the quarterfinals last season. Veszprem’s record also includes the Cup Winner’s Cup trophy won in the 2007/2008 season. After the draws, MKB head coach Mocsai Lajos said for Hotnews.ro: ‘I believe this is not an easy opponent. We would rather have played against Copenhagen but actually it is difficult to find an easy opponent at this stage of the competition. We expect a rough duel for which we will prepare thoroughly in the attempt to tip the scales in our favor. I hope the injured players will recover in time for the first leg.’ In his turn, Mihai Popescu, HCM Constanta’s goalkeeper, stated for Gsp.ro: ‘There will be two difficult games between two teams close in value, with MKB having added experience. We have equal chances but they have a slight advantage because the return leg will be played in Veszprem. The qualification will be decided in the second leg. I am sure there will be two spectacular games because both teams will play for Marian Cozma.’

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