Paris Saint-Germain Handball now know who awaits them in the Velux EHF Champions League group stage. Here is the final instalment in our series of portraits of Paris Saint-Germain Handball's Group B opponents: Szeged!
Szeged in a few words
Without a doubt, Szeged are a club who continue to grow and improve. Velux EHF Champions League regulars, they often progress from the group stage despite generally being in the higher groups. Over the last three seasons, they have reached the round of 16 once and the quarters twice. In domestic duties in Hungary, they have also been on fire, putting an end to Veszprém's 11-year league domination in a epic double-header in May.
Champions! pic.twitter.com/0DxYQBfddH— Pick Szeged Handball (@pickhandball) May 20, 2018
Last season, the road to qualification looked very difficult for the Hungarians, who were pitted against the likes of Barcelona, Vardar and Nantes in Group A. However, with six wins (including one against Barcelona 31-28), they punched their ticket for the round of 16 by finishing fifth. It was at this stage of the competition, against THW Kiel, that their adventure finally came to an end (50-56 on aggregate).
Despite already having a stacked squad, Szeged pulled of a couple of excellent transfer deals in the summer transfer window. While former Parisian José Manuel Sierra left for Chartres, Veszprém 'keeper Mirko Alilovic is in line to take his place. Also arriving were 2017 European Champions Joan Canellas and Jorge Maqueda, both from Vardar, and Dean Bombac, who returns home after a spell with Kielce. Add them to the players already there - like Zsolt Balogh (57 goals last season) - you have an impressive squad!
In 2016-2017, Szeged and Paris crossed paths in the quarters, with a ticket to the Final4 up for grabs. After a spectacular match in Hungary (27-30), the Rouge et Bleu finished the job at Coubertin. Despite being shut down for long stretches, our team made up for it thanks to six goals from Mikkel Hansen and Luka Karabatic (30-30).
Szeged – Paris: Round 5
Paris – Szeged: Round 10