The Knock-out Rounds of the Euro Hockey League – Europe’s elite club competition for men – gets underway in Hamburg today. The event is known as KO16, and features the remaining 16 teams left in the competition all fighting it out for a place in the semi-finals. Over four days of competition, twelve matches will be played, with eight last 16 ties and four quarter finals. With some of the world’s best players on show it promises to be a spectacular weekend of hockey.
Here is a quick look at the matches taking place today.
Match 1: Club Egara (ESP) v Club an der Alster (GER)
Date: Friday 10th April
Time: 09.30 (Central European Standard Time)
These two sides met in Round 1a, with Egara surging to a 4-0 victory. This second meeting is likely to be a much closer contest, as Alster will have learned from their errors in the 1st Round. Egara’s fearsome attacking line-up of Pol Amat, Edi Tubau and Guillermo Schickendantz is complemented by the midfield qualities of David Alegre and a very tight defence marshalled by Ramon Alegre. Amat, Tubau and the Alegre brothers are all seasoned Spanish internationals, and Schickendantz is arguably the best goal-scorer in Europe on current form. However, only a fool would rule out Alster. Defender Sebastian Biederlack is an Olympic Gold medal winner, and he will make sure his side is ready for the challenge.
Player to watch: Pol Amat. The current World Hockey Player of the Year was in awesome form during Round 1a, and many people are expecting him to recreate that form in Hamburg.
Winner plays: Düsseldorfer HC (GER) or UHC Hamburg (GER) in the Quarter Finals (Sunday 12 April)
Match 2: East Grinstead (ENG) v St Germain (FRA)
Date: Friday 10th April
Time: 12:00 (CEST)
East Grinstead come to KO16 Hamburg full of confidence following their first ever Slazenger England Hockey League title, and will be aiming to take their impressive form into this match. However, St Germain will prove to be tough opposition for the newly crowned English Champions. The Parisians may have finished second in their Round 1 Pool, but they remain unbeaten in this year’s tournament and play their hockey with commitment and flair in equal measure. They are also boosted by the return of France international Antoine Gouedard-Comte who is back in the fold after a hiatus from hockey. Former Great Britain stars Mark Pearn and Danny Hall are in arguably the best form of their lives, and could be crucial to East Grinstead’s chances of success. Germany international and star player Martin Häner was not involved in East Grinstead’s training yesterday, but is expected to be involved in today’s match.
Player to watch: Martin Häner (East Grinstead). This defender has a fearsome penalty corner flick and has been hitting the target regularly in England.
Winner plays: Either Bloemendaal (NED) or Cannock (ENG) in the Quarter Finals on Sunday at 14.30.
Match 3: HC Bloemendaal v Cannock
Date: Friday 10th April
The Round 1 meeting between these two teams resulted in a 5-2 win for HC Bloemendaal, and the Dutch side will be aiming to repeat that success against their English opponents. However, they may be without two-time World Hockey player of the Year Jamie Dwyer, who is still in the Netherlands anxiously awaiting the birth of his first child. Dwyer may be absent, but Bloemendaal can still turn to three time WorldHockey Player of the Year Teun de Nooijer and the breathtakingly skillful Ronald Brouwer for inspiration. The Cannock team is without prolific striker Gareth Andrew, who has reportedly broken his ankle, but captain Richard Lane will have no problems motivating his team for a re-match against the Dutch champions.
Player to watch: Teun de Nooijer (HC Bloemendaal). De Nooijer is keen to add a Euro Hockey League Winners medal to his vast collection, and will be in top form this weekend.
Winner plays: Either East Grinstead (ENG) or St Germain (FRA) in the Quarter Finals on Sunday 14.30.
Match 4: Düsseldorfer HC v UHC Hamburg
Date: Friday 10th April 2022
The all-German clash is likely to be the highlight of the day and potentially one of the games of the tournament. Large numbers of fans are expected to turn out to support both teams, and the atmosphere will be electric. Uhlenhorster superstar Moritz Fürste was rumoured to have an ankle injury, but has been cleared to play in the match, although fellow Olympic Gold Medalist Phillip Witte is a doubt. Düsseldorfer HC have a very good record against UHC Hamburg in the Hockey Liga, and will look to players such as legendary Germany international Christoph Eimer, top scorer Alexander Otte and Olympic Gold medallist Oliver Korn to inspire a famous European victory.
Player to watch: Moritz Fürste (UHC Hamburg). The iconic player of the 2007-08 Season is expected to shine in front of his home fans.
Winner plays: Either Club Egara (ESP) or Der Club an der Alster in the Quarter Finals (Sunday 12 April)
A full written round up of these matches will appear on the FIH site this evening. However, the Euro Hockey League will be live streaming all of the weekend’s action on its official website: www.ehlhockey.tv. The web coverage of the event will also include a live scoreboard with scorers, a photo gallery, regular news updates, as well as official match sheets and video footage from the games. Various television companies are broadcasting the matches around the world, including Sky Sports, EuroSport 2 and many others. Please visit the EHL website for a full broadcast schedule.