Even before the first national games, the Nantes handball players spend Wednesday evening at the European revealer, with the start of the Champions League that they find again this year, while Paris will have to wait a week after the postponement of its match in Szeged.
Unique curiosity for European indoor team sports competitions: the 2020/21 season of the Men's Handball Champions League starts on Wednesday, even though the previous edition is still underway.
She took the opposite view of the Euroleague men and women basketball, the men's and women's volleyball Champions League, and even the women's C1 handball, who all decided to stop due to the pandemic of Covid-19 and resume on a new season.
The 2019/20 men's C1 will find its epilogue on December 28 and 29 in Cologne (Germany), since the EHF, organizer of the event, has decided to maintain its flagship event.
Final 4 will bring together the Hungarians from Veszprem, the Spaniards from Barcelona, the Germans from Kiel and the Parisians, which is what is currently being done in Europe.
A simple glance at the group which awaits Nantes for the new season 20/21 from Wednesday evening allows to notice the presence of three of the four participants in Final 4: Veszprem, Barcelona and Kiel.
The draw could not be worse for the "H" (Paris and Nantes could not be in the same group).
The mission therefore promises to be quite perilous for Nantes, finalist of the 2018 edition beaten by Montpellier, and who is making his return to the premier European handball event after having played in the EHF Cup last season - renamed this year. European League-, the antechamber of the C1.
- First responses against Veszprem -
"For me, these three teams are above us. But I think we will be able to achieve great things and to rank well in this group," said the Spanish coach of Nantes, Alberto Entrerrios.
To compete in the rest of the competition, Cyril Dumoulin's teammates will have to take one of the top six places in their group which also includes Aalborg (Denmark), Zaporijie (Ukraine), Celje (Slovenia) and Zagreb.
One of the first two places in the group will offer a direct ticket for the quarters, the other four qualified will go through a jump-off.
The reception of Veszprem Wednesday evening in its Arena (8:45 p.m.) will provide the first elements of an answer to the claims of the Nantes team.
PSG, on the other hand, will have to wait another week: its match in Szeged was postponed by the EHF, after a case of Covid-19 was detected within the Hungarian team, placed in quarantine by order of the health authorities Magyars.
A reminder, if one were to be, that the coronavirus pandemic which greatly disrupted the end of the 2019/20 season across Europe, will be an integral part of the coming season.
On Sunday, the Montenegrins of Buducnost, C1 winners in 2015 and candidates for a Final 4 this season, were deprived of 10 positive players for Covid-19, and drew on their young team to play their first Champions League match in Koprivnica (Croatia), concluded with a 29-26 loss.
© 2020 AFP