132 matches, 12 nations, 6 past winners, 1 trophy
With defending champions Vipers Kristiansand as the hunted team and five-time champions Györi Audi ETO KC as one of their main challengers, the DELO EHF Champions League is ready for a new season.
Before throw-off of the 2021/22 campaign this weekend, here is the traditional overview of the main facts and figures of Europe’s premium competition in women’s club handball.
0 teams have been part of all seven EHF FINAL4 events so far; record winners Györ lead the way with six appearances.
1 time, Györ missed the EHF FINAL4 (in 2015) and one time they were there but missed the final (in 2021, losing the semi-final against Brest).
1 sustainable trophy, designed in 2020 and showing the moment a ball hits the net, is the prize the 16 teams are playing for.
1 team managed to win the EHF FINAL4 in back-to-back seasons: Györ in 2017, 2018 and 2019. The latter victory marked the first time a team won the women’s edition of the EHF Champions League three times in a row.
1 more draw is needed this season: for the semi-finals. The play-offs and the quarter-finals are determined by the final standings in the group phase.
1 debutant is among the 16 group phase participants: Turkish champions Kastamonu, who previously stranded in CL qualification twice – in 2017/18 and 2019/20.
2 Norwegian clubs have won the CL trophy: Larvik in 2011 and Vipers in 2021.
2 of the most successful CL players of the past 10 years have left Györ in the off-season: Anita Görbicz retired (but remains involved as team manager) and Eduarda Amorim Taleska moved to Rostov.
2 group winners and two runners-up advance to the quarter-finals directly after the group phase.
2 teams per group, ranked seventh and eighth, will be eliminated from the competition after the group phase.
2 CL debutants made it to the EHF FINAL4 in their first CL season: Vardar (2014) and CSM Bucuresti (2016).
2 EHF FINAL4 matches did Györ lose in a penalty shoot-out: in 2016 against CSM and in 2021 against Brest. Both times Isabelle Gulldén was part of the winning team.
4 players, part of the 2021/22 competition, have each won the CL five times: Rostov player Eduarda Amorim as well as Vipers (and former Györ) players Katrine Lunde, Heidi Løke and Nora Mørk.
4 nations have two teams each in the group phase: Russia, Denmark, France and Hungary. Last season six nations were all represented twice.
4 teams of the DELO EHF FINAL4 2021 in Budapest are again part of the group phase: Vipers, Brest, Györ and CSKA.
4 times has Ambros Martin won the CL with Györ; since April he is back at the Hungarian side. Martin was coach in seven CL finals in total.
4 throw-off times will make it easy for fans to follow the CL 2021/22: on Saturday at 16:00 and 18:00 CET/CEST, on Sunday at 14:00 and 16:00 CET/CEST.
4 countries had a winning team at the EHF FINAL4 in the past: Hungary (four), Montenegro, Romania and Norway (all one).
5 (former) CL top scorers are part of the group phase: Heidi Løke (Vipers/2011: 99 goals for Larvik), Cristina Neagu (CSM Bucuresti/2015: 102 for Buducnost, 2018: 110 for CSM), Isabelle Gulldén (Vipers/2016: 108 for CSM), Linn Sulland (Vipers/2019: 89 goals for Vipers) and Ana Gros (CSKA/2021: 135 goals for Brest).
5 (former) World Players of the Year are part of the group phase: Cristina Neagu (CSM/2010, 2015, 2016, 2018), Heidi Løke (Vipers/2011), Andrea Lekic (Krim/2013), Eduarda Amorim (Rostov/2014) and Stine Oftedal (Györ/2019).
6 (former) CL winners – and all winners since 2012 – are part of the group phase: Podravka (1996), Krim (2001, 2003), Buducnost (2012, 2015), Györ (2013, 2014, 2017, 2018, 2019), CSM (2016) and Vipers (2021).
8 of the 16 group phase teams played at the EHF FINAL4 in the past: Brest, Bucuresti, Buducnost, CSKA, Györ, Metz, Rostov, Vipers.
8 matches (four home-and-away ties) will be played in the play-offs and again in the quarter-finals.
11 nations in total have been represented by the CL winners since 1993: Denmark, Hungary (six titles each), Austria (four), Montenegro, Norway, Slovenia (two each), Croatia, North Macedonia, Romania, Russia, Spain (one each).
12 nations, compared to 10 last season, are represented in the group phase: Croatia, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, Montenegro, Norway, Romania, Russia, Slovenia, Sweden and Turkey.
12 different clubs have played at the seven EHF FINAL4 events so far (since 2014): Györ (six times), Vardar (five), Buducnost (four), CSM Bucuresti (three), Rostov, Vipers (two each), Metz, Midtjylland, Volgograd, Larvik, CSKA, Brest (one each).
14 of the 16 clubs from the 2020/21 group phase are back again this season; new this time are Sävehof and Kastamonu, replacing Valcea and Bietigheim.
15 times in the last 15 seasons, Györ reached at least the quarter-finals of the CL.
16 or 18 matches will be played by each team that qualifies for the EHF FINAL4 on 4/5 June 2022 – depending on whether they skip the play-offs or not.
28 seasons (including 2021/22) Podravka from Croatia have been part of the CL; Krim from Slovenia are going into their 27th season; Buducnost from Montenegro into their 26th.
55 CL matches in a row was the length of Györ’s unbeaten streak, which ended with their semi-final defeat against Brest last season.
57 is the highest number of goals scored by a single player at EHF FINAL4 events; this record is currently shared by Nycke Groot and Anita Görbicz, who both retired after the 2020/21 season.
112 matches are scheduled in the group phase between 11 September 2021 and 20 February 2022.
132 matches, including the final in Budapest on 5 June, will be needed to find the winners of the CL 2021/22.