It is finally game day for the ABN AMRO EHL FINAL8 as the action hits the turf at the Wagener Stadium for five days of elite, knock-out club hockey.
This morning, we will look at the big match-ups in the men’s competition (click here for the women’s Head to Head previews).
Every moment will be broadcast live wherever you are; make sure to find out where you can watch the world’s best club hockey competition here: https://ehlhockey.tv/broadcast/
HC Bloemendaal v Harvestehuder THC (17.00 CET)
Opening the men’s competition, a battle between two champions of the EHL as the three in-a-row chasing Bloemendaal come up against 2014 winners Harvestehuder THC.
The Dutch side have actually won their last 12 EHL fixtures, a run dating back to 2015 and they bring a typically star-studded line-up with six of the Dutch World Cup bronze medal winning panel – Maurits Visser, Thierry Brinkman, Jorrit Croon, Teun Beins, Floris Wortleboer and Dennis Warmerdam – in the side along with Belgium’s Arthur van Doren.
They sit in second place in the Dutch Hoofdklasse while their opponents are in mid-table in the German league but did start 2023 with a 2-1 victory over Rot-Weiss Köln.
This is their first EHL season since 2016’s run to the Bronze medal in Barcelona having previously won the competition in their debut 2013/14 season. They have a number of players still in place from those successes like Austrians Michael Körper and Xaver Hasun, Englisman George Farrant, South African Nick Spooner and Kilian Pöhling.
Körper is one of the EHL’s most prolific scorers, doing so at a ferocious pace – he has 24 goals in 14 fixtures.
Pinoké v Royal Racing Club de Bruxelles (19.15 CET)
The host club are looking forward to a big crowd as they welcome Royal Racing Club de Bruxelles to the Wagener Stadium. The Amstelveen club made a super start to life as an EHL side in the KO16, defeating Slavia Prague and Old Georgians to reach this stage.
With a strong homegrown contingent, they will compete with a trio of Belgian stars in the line-up with corner-gun Alexander Hendrickx, Sebastien Dockier and new arrival this season Florent van Aubel.
Racing, meanwhile, are hoping to earn their first EHL medal having reached the FINAL4 in 2014. International trio Cédric Charlier, Victor Wegnez and Tanguy Cosyns have ability in spades while the coaching ticket is boosted this season by Xavier de Greve – he won the EHL with Waterloo Ducks in 2019.
Racing sit just outside the Belgian playoff places after a tough defeat at the hands of Dragons last weekend.
Hamburger Polo Club v Rot-Weiss Köln (09.30 CET)
A massive German showdown, Hamburger Polo Club got a psychological boost ahead of this tussle last Friday when they picked up a 3-1 win over Rot-Weiss last Friday night in the Bundesliga.
Hamburger Polo Club began their EHL story last September with exciting wins over Wimbledon and Lisnagarvey in front of a lively crowd in their home city.
Since then, they have added some extra expertise with Shane McLeod switching to the club to take up a Director of Hockey role.
World Cup winner Matthias Müller gives their defence a star turn while Niklas Bosserhoff was also in India. They are bolstered by a quintet of New Zealand internationals.
Rot-Weiss – winners in 2017 – arrive in Amstelveen in confident mood with a panel packed with World Cup gold medalists. Mats and Tom Grambusch, Moritz Trompertz, Christopher Rühr, Timur Oruz, Thies Prinz and Jean Denneberg all were on the podium in India in January.
Atlètic Terrassa v Gantoise (18.00 CET)
Atlètic Terrassa is one of the EHL’s most regular features, participating in 11 separate seasons, highlighted by FINAL4 appearances in 2016 in Barcelona and, of course, their silver medal in 2021 at the Wagener Stadium.
Key to their success is their youth academy with the vast majority of their panel coming through the ranks. The likes of Marc Vizcaino, Pau and Pepe Cunill and Jordi Bonastre are among the latest to emerge. They finished as Copa del Rey runners-up recently and are second in the Spanish league with Quim Malgosa top-scoring with 11 league goals.
They meet a Gantoise team who picked off the result of the opening round when they defeated AH&BC Amsterdam in a shoot-out thanks to Tomi Santiago’s heroics.
This term, Gantoise are third in the Belgian league with a strong range of talents; Antoine Kina is their diamond with strong experience around him from French internationals Charles Masson, Francois Goyet, Etienne Tynevez and Timothée Clément and Irish duo Sean Murray and Luke Madeley.
WHERE TO WATCH
The Euro Hockey League is delighted to confirm that wherever you are in the world, you will be able to enjoy the ABN AMRO FINAL8 from April 6-10, 2023.
Find out the best option for you to enjoy the event:
Worldwide (except in Latin America, Belgium and France) – EuroHockeyTV
Netherlands: NOS; schedule subject to Dutch teams participation
Belgium – Eleven Sports
France – SportAll
Argentina, Chile, Paraguay, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, Dominican Republic, Mexico – ESPN Latin America
Spain – all games featuring Atlètic Terrassa will be shown on TV3