Cupwinners Cup

EHF FINAL4 MEN 2021: Barca defeats Nantes and is in the final

photo: Uros Hocevar/kolektiff
EHF FINAL4 MEN 2021: Barca defeats Nantes and is in the final

Second semifinal

Before the game:

  • Barça arrive in Cologne for the EHF FINAL4 for the ninth time, while Nantes take part for the second time – after reaching the final in 2018
  • Barça have won the Champions League a record eight times, Nantes are seeking their first European trophy
  • winning all their 18 matches so far this season, Barça set a record coming into the EHF FINAL4
  • Barça finished first in group B and easily defeated Elverum and Meshkov Brest in the knockout rounds
  • Nantes ranked fifth in the same group before getting impressive wins over Kielce in the play-offs and Veszprém in the quarter-final
  • in their group phase duels, Barça triumphed twice – 35:27 in Nantes and 30:29 in at home
  • the two team’s best scorers are: Nantes’ Valero Rivera has scored 86 times, Barça’s Dika Mem 85
  • Barça have already won two titles this season: the Spanish league and cup; Nantes have finished the French league in third place
  • Nantes’ players Valero Rivera, Adria Figueras, Kiril Lazarov, David Balaguer and Eduardo Gurbindo all played earlier for Barça
  • this weekend Raul Entrerrios, Cédric Sorhaindo, Kevin Møller, and Jure Dolenec play their last game for Barça, while coach Xavi Pascual will also leave in the off-season
  • Barca will have to play without Aron Palmarsson, injured

Xavi Pascual about the Final4 and semifinal:  “We have learnt a lot over the past editions of the EHF FINAL4. We learnt from the wins; we learnt from the losses. You must never think that a game is won until the final whistle. ” (

Albert Enterrios, headcoach of Nantes: “The first time I thought that maybe there was a chance it was when we eliminated Kielce. When you qualify in Poland after losing at home, you have to think: why not? Cologne is just two games away, even if we had to face Veszprém in the quarter-finals,” explains the Spanish coach. “We thought ‘why not?’ before Kielce and before Veszprém, so of course that’s what’s in our heads right now.” (

The match:

In the first half Barca had the lead the entire time, but Nantes despite being back managed to fight and keep close to their opponent. The match between the two goalkeepers was very even, both Perez de Vargas and Nielsen had good performances in the goal, Mem, NGuessan or Cindric scored for Barca, for the French side Rivera and Pechmalbec scored and the first half ended 15-13.

The second half started with Nantes showing that they had no thoughts about giving up this chance and with good defense and goalkeeper they managed to level the game 17-17 in 38. minute of the match. After a six minutes period without goals, Barca managed to take back the lead and with a good period in every element of the game, they managed to increase the lead 26-20 when there were 8 minutes to go. Nantes have tried everything to be able to make a comeback, but it looked like Barca was too strong for them this time. Final result: 31 – 26

Lanxess Arena, Cologne

Barca – HB Nantes 31- 26 (15 – 13)

Referees: Kurtagic, Wetterwik (SWE)


Barca: Perez de Vargas, Møller (GK) – Mem 5, NGuessan 3, Cindric 1, Fabregas 3, Gomez 5, Janc 1, Dolenec 4, Sorhaindo, Petrus, Mortensen 3, Makuc 3, Frade 1, Entrerrios 2, Pascual Garcia

Nantes: Nielsen, Dumoulin (GK) – Lazarov 2, Pechmalbec 3, Rivera 6, Balaguer 4, Cavalcanti 2, Ovnicek 2, Minne 1, Monar 4, Damatrin-Bertrand 1, Briet, Augustinussen, Figueras, Feliho, Gurbindo 1

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Cupwinners Cup

Hungarian living in Norway with a great passion for handball, primarly women handball. Travels all over the world to follow handball matches and tournaments and to write good articles on this website.

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