Even before the semi-finals of the EHF EURO 2014 will be played on Friday, it is already known that two clubs will win the full set of medals in Herning – as they are represented in all four semi-finalists.
These two clubs are VELUX EHF Champions League winners, HSV Hamburg, and French champions PSG Paris Handball.
Paris have nine players from those four teams in action in the semi-finals.
Hamburg have one Croat, one Spaniard, one French and one Dane playing for them. Just behind PSG, EHF Champions League record winners FC Barcelona have the second biggest number of players involved in the final weekend (eight), followed by Vive Targi Kielce with six players.
For Spanish goalkeeper Jose Manuel Sierra, who plays for PSG, facing French teammates is an interesting feeling, but not a very special one.
"My strongest feeling about the match is that it's a EURO semi-final, not the fact that I'm playing against my teammates.
"Of course, we are in contact with each other, sending us messages, wishing luck to each other. But we are at the semi-finals and this is what counts."
His Spanish teammate Joan Canellas, who plays for HSV Hamburg, is proud to have teammates like Hans Lindberg (DEN), Kentin Mahe (FRA)* and Domagoj Duvnjak (CRO).
"Being represented in all four semi-finals proves that our team in Hamburg cannot be that bad.
"It is a great fact, the club can be proud of. I am looking forward to the duel with Kentin."
Teammates of those four clubs that face in the semi-finals Croatia vs. Denmark and France vs. Spain on Friday:
Paris St. Germain:
Mikkel Hansen (DEN) vs. Marko Kopljar, Igor Vori, Jakov Gojun (all CRO)
Antonio Garcia, Jose Manuel Sierra (both ESP) vs. Daniel Narcisse, Samuel Honrubia, Luc Abalo (all FRA)
Hans Lindberg (DEN) vs. Domagoj Duvnjak (CRO)
Kentin Mahe (FRA) vs. Joan Canellas (ESP)
Eduardo Gurbindo, Victor Tomas, Raul Entrerrios, Daniel Sarmiento, Viran Morros (all Spain) vs. Nikola Karabatic, Cedric Sorhaindo (both FRA)
Gonzalo Perez de Vargas (ESP) vs. Jerome Fernandez (FRA)
By looking on the players and their domestic leagues, French clubs are in the lead with 23 players, ahead of the German Bundesliga (13), the Danish league (9), the Spanish Asobal Liga (8) and the Polish league (6).
Clubs with players from all four semi-finalists:
Paris St. Germain (France – 9 players/4 countries): Mikkel Hansen (DEN), Antonio Garcia, Jose Manuel Sierra (both ESP), Marko Kopljar, Igor Vori, Jakov Gojun (all CRO), Daniel Narcisse, Samuel Honrubia, Luc Abalo (all FRA)
HSV Hamburg (Germany – 4/4): Hans Lindberg (DEN), Joan Canellas (ESP), Domagoj Duvnjak (CRO), Kentin Mahe (FRA)
Clubs with players of three semi-finalists:
FC Barcelona (Spain – 8/3): Jesper Noddesbo (DEN), Eduardo Gurbindo, Victor Tomas, Raul Entrerrios, Daniel Sarmiento, Viran Morros (all Spain), Nikola Karabatic, Cedric Sorhaindo (both FRA)
Clubs with players of two semi-finalists:
Vive Targi Kielce (Poland – 6/2): Julen Aguinagalde (ESP), Venio Losert, Denis Buntic, Manuel Strlek, Zeljko Musa, Ivan Cupic (all CRO)
MKB Veszprem (Hungary – 3/2): Cristian Ugalde, Carlos Ruesga (both ESP), Mirko Alilovic (CRO)
Chambery Savoie (France - 3/2): Damir Bicanic (CRO), Cyril Dumoulin, Alix Nyokas (both FRA)
Rhein Neckar Löwen (Germany – 2/2): Niklas Landin (DEN), Gedeon Guardiola (ESP)
KIF Kolding-Kobenhavn (Denmark 2/2): Bo Spellerberg (DEN), Albert Rocas (ESP)
Fenix Toulouse (France 2/2): Gonzalo Perez de Vargas (ESP), Jerome Fernandez (FRA)
Clubs with players from one semi-finalist:
Montpellier MAHB (France – 4/1): Thierry Omeyer, Matthieu Grebille, William Accambray, Michael Guigou (all FRA)
SG Flensburg-Handewitt (Germany – 4/1): Anders Eggert, Thomas Mogensen, Michael Knudsen, Lasse Svan Hansen (all DEN)
Bjerringbro Silkeborg (Denmark – 3/1): Mads Christansen, Casper U Mortensen, Jannick Green (all DEN)
RK CO Zagreb (Croatia – 3/1): Zlatko Horvat, Josip Valcic, Stipe Mandalinic (all CRO)
HBC Nantes (France – 2/1): Jorge Maqueda, Valero Rivera (both ESP)
Skjern Handbold (Denmark - 2/1): Henril Möllgaard, Kasper Söndergaard (both DEN)
Team Tvis Holstebro (Denmark – 1/1): Klaus Thomsen (DEN),
Aalborg Handbold (Denmark – 1/1): Mads Mensah Larsen (DEN),
THW Kiel (Germany – 1/1): Rene Toft Hansen (DEN)
TSV Hannover-Burgdorf (Germany – 1/1): Juan Andreu (ESP)
Dinamo Minsk (Belarus – 1/1): Ivan Nincevic (CRO)
N-Lübbecke (Germany - 1/1): Drago Vukovic (CRO)
Cesson Rennes (France – 1/1): Igor Anic (FRA)
Dunkerque Grand Litoral (France – 1/1): Guillaume Joli (FRA)
Pays d’Aix Universite Club (France 1/1): Luka Karabatic (FRA)
*Clarification [23/01/2014, 19:41 hrs]: Kentin Mahe is, as of 23 January, not part of the official French 16-player squad. However, he is with the team in Denmark being one of the two French reserve players. The second player was Valentin Porte who already replaced Vincent Gerard.
More info on the 18 players nominated by head coach Claude Onesta for the EHF EURO here (information in French)