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Date: 3/14/2019
 

Following 18 rounds of competition, the SEHA – Gazprom League regular season has come to a close and four teams are now looking ahead to the semi-finals. Record champions HC Vardar lead the table at the end of the round-robin portion of the season, ahead of HC PPD Zagreb, RK Nexe and Meshkov Brest. The four sides will now contest the eighth SEHA – Gazprom League Final 4 in Brest, Belarus on April 3 and 4.

 

It was a close race to the semi-finals. While Vardar’s 14 victories took them to 42 points at the top of the table, Zagreb, Nexe and Meshkov Brest all recorded 13 wins and finished level on 39 points. The top four were closely followed by Tatran Presov, who took 12 victories in the regular season and finished with 36 points – just one win away from the same record as three of the semi-finalists.

 

For four-time SEHA League winners Vardar and 2013 victors Zagreb, it is the eighth consecutive Final 4 event. Belarusian team Meshkov qualified for their first SEHA Final 4 in the 2012/13 season and have qualified for the semi-finals every year since.

 

Croatian side RK Nexe, who have been the runners-up in their domestic league behind perennial title holders Zagreb for the last 10 seasons, have made it to the SEHA League Final 4 for the first time. The result comes during what is a strong season for Nexe, who are also impressing in their international competition, the Men’s EHF Cup, where they lead their preliminary group and appear in a good position to reach the knock-out stage.

 

The final ranking of the rest of the regular season clubs sees Slovakian team Presov sitting fifth above Serbian side Vojvodina (seven wins and 22 points), Romanian debutants Steaua Bucuresti (six wins and 18 points), another Serbian team Zeleznicar (five wins and one draw for 16 points), Macedonian squad Metalurg (four wins and one draw with 13 points) and finally Bosnian team Izvidac (one win and one draw for four points).

 

The top scorer at the end of the regular season is Vojvodina’s Milos Grozdanic, with 102 goals. Grozdanic appears set to take the crown despite missing the Final 4, as the nearest player from a semi-finalist team is Zagreb captain Zlatko Horvat, who is currently fifth with 75 goals. Horvat will likely climb to a higher position but would have to score 27 goals in two games to take first place.

 

The most effective goalkeeper is Nexe’s Moreno Car, with an average save rate of 34%. Zagreb’s Urh Kastelic is second with 33% ahead of three keepers – Meshkov’s Ivan Matskevich, Vojvodina’s Svetislav Verkic and Vardar’s Dejan Milosavljev – on 32%. Car, Kastelic and Milosavljev are all only 23 years old, but are making a big impression with their performances.

 

More information on the SEHA – Gazprom League can be found on the official website.

 

Photo: SEHA – Gazprom League

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