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25/01/2016

Delicate duels in Wroclaw: Father meets son and Scandinavian neighbours face off

PREVIEW: When Spain and Hungary play against each other, Spain's Alex Dujshebaev fights for points against his father and Hungary coach Talant, while Denmark can make a huge step towards the semi-final in their match against Sweden

Photo: Sascha Klahn

On the penultimate day of Main Round Group 2 in Wroclaw on Tuesday two thrilling duels on the personal as well as on the team level will excite the fans.

Like several times before in the VELUX EHF Champions League, the Dujshebaev's family gathering is in the focus of the first match, when Spain try to get closer to the semi-final in their game against Hungary.

The Scandinavian duel Denmark vs Sweden is a true classic and also crucial for both sides as they fight for a spot in the semi-final on the Danish side of things and in the Olympic Qualification Tournaments when it comes to Sweden.

After Denmark won the top clash against Spain on Sunday (27:23), they have the maximum of six points, but still they can qualify for the semi-final on Tuesday only, if Spain do not win against Hungary.

Group 2: : Spain vs Hungary, Tuesday 26 January, 18:15 hrs local time

Spain are under pressure after they conceded their first defeat at the EHF EURO 2016, losing 23:27 against Denmark on Sunday.

They need to win both remaining matches against Hungary and Russia to remain in the race for the semi-final, but the final ranking of this group will only be known once Denmark have played Germany.

"We must get our minds focussed for the match against Hungary," says Spain's defence specialist Viran Morros.

Hungary, who are still on zero points after their 19:29 defeat against Germany, cannot book their ticket to the Olympic Qualification Tournaments anymore, so they can play without pressure.

The match includes some great duels on the personal level, in particular the one between father and son Dujshebaev.

Alex, who plays for Spain, faces his father and Hungary coach Talant Dujshebaev.

In the VELUX EHF Champions League Talant's Polish club Kielce has beaten Vardar Skopje, the team Alex plays for, three times already in this constellation, while losing only once.

When Spain faced Hungary in a test match in January, the Spanish side prevailed.

Furthermore, Hungary’s top star Laszlo Nagy will play against some well-known faces as he played for more than a decade for FC Barcelona, and it was only in 2012 that he returned to Hungary where he now plays for Veszprem.

And Spain's player of the match against Denmark, goalkeeper Arpad Sterbik, has played for several years for Veszprem and still holds an Hungarian passport, as he was born in Serbia as part of the Hungarian minority living there.

The head-to-head statistics between the two teams are almost equal: Spain won nine of 19 matches, Hungary eight and twice games ended in a draw.

The last time both sides faced at an EHF EURO was two years ago when Spain beat Hungary 34:27 in the preliminary round in Denmark.

Group 2: Sweden vs Denmark, Tuesday 26 January, 20:30 hrs local time:

Can Denmark continue their unbeaten run or can Sweden get closer to the Olympic Qualification Tournaments?

This is the question to be answered prior to the Scandinavian duel in Wroclaw on Tuesday. Denmark are currently the only team at the EHF EURO who have won all their matches and they top Group 2 with six points.

But they can only qualify for the semi-final on Tuesday, if Spain do not win against Hungary.

On the other end, Sweden have the chance to get up to three points and close the gap to Russia after the game between the two ended in a 28:28 draw on Friday.

The decision about one of the two tickets to the Olympic Qualification Tournaments will be made between those two teams. From Group I Norway already took their spot for one of the three tournaments.

"We are in a perfect position, but nothing is decided yet," says Danish line Henrik Toft Hansen, one of in total overall eight players of German club SG Flensburg-Handewitt who are on court on Tuesday: Lasse Svan, Anders Eggert, Toft Hansen, Rasmus Lauge and Kevin Moller, who all play for Denmark, and Mattias Andersson, Tobias Karlsson and Johan Jakobsson who all play for Sweden.

Never before in the long history of duels between the two teams, a competitive match ended in a draw, with Sweden winning 13 times and Denmark eight times.

The last time both sides faced, the match ended in a major surprise when Sweden eliminated Denmark in the quarter-final of the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

written by Björn Pazen / ts