The Champions League journey starts today, when the Norwegian top team Kolstad travels to Bitola (the second largest city) in Macedonia. Eurofarm Pelister is the biggest club with Vardar in Macedonia handball. After 19 years, they will play in the Champions League group stage as the champion of Macedonia. They have been preparing for a longer period and played a lot of friendly matches. In the last one against Vardar, they were defeated by 30-26, which was a shocking result, because Vardar this season is completely rejuvenated. The team is mainly composed by players from Ex-Yugoslavia, with some foreigners like Danish winger Andreas Nielsen and Algerian goalkeeper Kalifa Ghedbane. They will have the best audience in the group stage because their fans „Ckembari“ are creating a phenomenal atmosphere and the hall is sold out with 3,500 seats.
Kolstad launched an investment plan in the autumn of 2021, which generated great attention from Trondheim and far beyond Norway’s borders. The squad is composed by has extra quality players, with six Norwegian and one Icelandic representative in its ranks where the main star is Sander Sagosen. They already played three matches winning against Bergen 25-32, Rapp 16-42 and took a 33-33 draw against Arendal, but in these matches Sagosen was out due to a rib injury.
The group is very tough, so tough that two or three of the teams – PSG, Kiel, Aalborg – could end up in Cologne, in the Final 4. Eurofarm Pelister will probably have to settle for fighting against Zagreb to avoid last place in the group, and despite the full hall, I think that will not have any chance against a strong Norwegian side.
Extra bet: -3.5 handicap Kolstad @ 1.90