The draw for the second Round of the Euro Hockey League - known as KO16 - has taken place today, creating some fascinating contests between the best sixteen club teams in Europe.
The draw was made by European Hockey Federation Vice-Presidents Marijke Fleuren and Jorge Alcover, and was overseen by EHF Competitions Manager Steve Catton. The Pool winners from Round 1 were drawn against the Pool runners up in what was a completely free draw, meaning that there was a possibility that teams could meet opponents from the same country or even play a club that they had already faced in Round 1.
As fate would have it, the two qualifiers from Pool A have been drawn against each other, with reigning EHL champions and Pool winners HC Bloemendaal (NED) facing tough opposition in the form of Germany’s Der Club an der Alster. Teun de Nooijer’s Bloemendaal team claimed a narrow 2-1 victory in the Pool match, ensuring that Alster will be hungry for a revenge win. The winner of that match will face either UHC Hamburg (GER) or Belgium’s Waterloo Ducks in the Quarter Finals (Round 3). UHC were champions in 2007-08 and finalists last season, suggesting that they probably have the edge over their Belgian rivals.
For the second successive season, Round 1.1 hosts and Pool E winners RC Polo de Barcelona (ESP) have been drawn against Reading HC of England. Last year it was Reading who emerged triumphant, although the much-strengthened Spaniards will fancy their chances of reaching the Quarter Finals this time around. The match winner will play either Pool D winners Rot-Weiss Köln (GER) or Pembroke Wanderers, the champions of Ireland. Rot-Weiss will be clear favourites to win this clash following their staggering achievements in Round 1 which included star striker Christopher Zeller netting ten goals in just two matches.
Pool C opponents Amsterdam H&BC (NED) and East Grinstead (ENG) meet again in Round 2, with Grinstead aiming to avenge the 2-1 defeat suffered at the hands of the Dutch club last month. If Grinstead manage to upset the odds, they could potentially face English opponents Beeston HC in the Quarter Finals. The Nottingham-based club has been drawn against KHC Leuven (BEL), a team that they swept aside 3-0 on their way to topping Pool F.
Pool G winners and tournament hosts H.C. Rotterdam will play Pol Amat’s Club Egara (ESP) in what is surely the most mouth-watering of the Round 2 matches. Rotterdam were easy winners of Pool G but face a serious challenge from a gifted and youthful Egara side that was narrowly beaten against tournament favourites Rot-Weiss Köln in Pool D. Victory for Egara could set up an all-Spanish Quarter Final against Atlétic Terrassa, should they fight their way past WKS Grunwald Poznan of Poland.
As previously announced, KO16 of the Euro Hockey League will be played at H.C. Rotterdam’s world class facility in The Netherlands. The tournament takes place over Easter between Friday 2nd and Monday 5th April 2010. The first phase of KO16 sees the 16 remaining EHL teams face each other in Round 2, to be played on Friday 2nd and Saturday 3rd April. The Round 3 matches, also known as the Quarter Finals, take place on the Sunday 4th and Monday 5th April. A match schedule has also been announced and can be found below.
The KO16 draw and match schedule in full:
HC Bloemendaal (NED) vs Der Club an der Alster (GER) – Sat 3 April 2010, 14.30
UHC Hamburg (GER) vs Waterloo Ducks (BEL) – Sat 3 April 2010, 17.00
RC Polo Barcelona (ESP) vs Reading HC (ENG) – Fri 2 April 2010, 12.00
Rot-Weiss Köln (GER) vs Pembroke Wanderers (IRL) – Fri 2 April 2010, 17.00
Amsterdam H&BC (NED) vs East Grinstead (ENG) – Fri 2 April 2010, 14.30
Beeston HC (ENG) vs KHC Leuven (BEL) – Fri 2 April 2010, 09.30
H.C. Rotterdam (NED) vs Club Egara (ESP) – Sat 3 April 2010, 12.00
Atlètic Terrassa HC (ESP) vs WKS Grunwald Poznan (POL) – Sat 3 April 2010, 09.30
All Round 2 matches are to be played 2nd / 3rd April 2010, with the Quarter Final matches taking place on 4th / 5th April 2010. Match Schedule subject to TV requirements. To see the full draw structure and to find out more about the EHL, please visit www.ehlhockey.tv, the official website of the Euro Hockey League.
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