The game against Sävehof at the Palau / PHOTO: ARXIU FCB

FC Barcelona Intersport will play the final game of the group stages of the Champions League this Sunday. Even though Barça, leaders of Group A, only need a point to ensure qualification as group leaders, Toni Rubiella said during Saturday’s press conference that the team wants to qualify with “a victory.” He added, “for Barça there is no such thing as a meaningless match.”

If Barça were to lose, the second place team, Croatia Osigurenje Zagreb, with 14 points, would have to overturn the 47 goal disadvantage that separates them from Barça. “We aren’t thinking about going through as group leaders thanks to our goal-average,” said Rubiella.

The Barça manager, before setting off to Sweden with his team sans an injured Nagy, said that his players “are eager to close out the groups stages on the right foot.” Qualifying first guarantees that Barça would play the return legs of the knock-out playoff, and in the event of a win, the quarterfinals at the Palau Blaugrana.

Sävehof, unbeaten at home

Barça’s rival, Sävehof, is currently sitting in third place with 10 points. The Swedes have won their last five Champions League matches and they are unbeaten at home this season. Rubeilla believes that the game between the two sides will be close. “Sävehof is a very solid team on their court ... they have a 6-0 aggressive defence, on offence they’re very fast,” said the Barça manager.

Sävehof will secure third spot in the group if they manage to earn a point in tomorrow’s game . If they lose, and if Kadett beats Zagreb, they’ll finish fourth. The Swedish side, also third in the Swedish league, has the player that’s scored the most goals in the Champions League this season, Fredrik Larsson, who scored 13 goals against Zagreb. Sävehof also have two players that have played in the Asobal League: Larsson, who played for Zaragoza, and Apelgren, who played for Granollers.

Barça vs Swedish sides

The FC Barcelona handball team has played against Swedish sides 10 times with a balance of 7 victories and 3 defeats. This, however, will be the first match against Sävehof. The last official match between FC Barcelona and a Swedish side was in 2006/07 against Hammarby in the group stages of the Champions League; Barça won 31-34.

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