SC Magdeburg emerged as the surprising winners of the Machineseeker EHF Champions League 2022/23, overcoming injury woes throughout the season to take the title by beating Barlinek Industria Kielce 30:29 after extra time.

Magdeburg had previously won the EHF Champions League just once, in 2002, and had not featured in the competition since 2005/06. They finished second in the group phase and won two breathless quarter-final encounters with Orlen Wisla Plock 52:50 on aggregate.

During the first of those matches, Icelandic left back Gisli Kristjansson was injured, but he made it back on court for the EHF FINAL4. Another injury in the semi-final against Barça, which Magdeburg won 40:39 in a shoot-out, saw Kristjansson leave the court early.

But the Icelander made it back for the final and proved talismanic for his side, scoring six goals and ending up as MVP of the tournament. SCM right back Kay Smits was also crucial – after steering Magdeburg to Cologne with an outstanding performance in the quarter-finals, the Dutchman netted 12 in the semi-final and eight in the final.

Kristjansson’s recovery was a remarkable story for a team that suffered a series of injuries across the season. Fellow Icelander Ómar Ingi Magnusson was ruled out early on, and key players including Magnus Saugstrup, Oscar Bergendahl and Philipp Weber were also injured. Amazingly, all three of the latter were named in the squad for the EHF FINAL4.

Kielce finished as runners-up for a second year running. Goalkeeper Andreas Wolff’s saves steered the Polish side to the final thanks to a 25:24 victory against Paris Saint-Germain Handball, and Wolff was also important in keeping the final fairly level until the last moments.

2022 champions Barça failed in their attempt to become three-time consecutive winners but bounced back from their loss to Magdeburg in the semi-final to take third place with a comfortable 37:31 victory over Paris. Barça’s wings made the difference in a match which allowed the coaches to rotate their squads and give all players time on court.

The placement match saw Barça’s Aleix Gómez score four goals, a tally which made him the EHF FINAL4 all-time top scorer with a total of 70 goals – two more than Kiril Lazarov and Mikkel Hansen.

GOG right back Emil Madsen was the season top scorer for the Machineseeker EHF Champions League as a whole, with 107 goals from 18 matches. PSG’s Kamil Syprzak, despite playing in the EHF FINAL4, was unable to catch Madsen – although he did net 103 times in just 16 games.

The LANXESS arena was once again sold out for the weekend, with 19,750 fans attending the games.

Spectators in the arena (sold-out)
81 m
cumulative audience
Number of broadcasters
minutes of streaming on Twitch
63 m
fans reached via respective digital channels