Barça beat Montpellier in the 2006/07 edition of the Champions League / PHTO: ARXIU FCB

Barça Intersport was paired up with Nikola Karabatic’s Montpellier in the Champions League knock-out round draw this morning in Horsholm, Denmark.

French League leaders

The team led by Karavatic is a fearsome side that currently sits atop the French League. Barça was matched up against Montpellier in the same round of the competition in the 2006/07 season. On that occasion, the Azulgranas were able to overturn an unfavourable result from the first leg in at the Palau Blaugrana.

Masip, wary of the French team

Enric Masip, secretary general of FC Barcelona Intersport, knows what the French is capable of saying, “Montpellier is a Final Four contender ... They are the team that no one wanted [to play against], [out of all the contenders] they are the worst we could have drawn. They are contenders for the Final Four.”

The secretary said that the French team’s group stage run is a bit deceiving: “even though they qualified 4th, [we have to remember that] they had a very complicated group. They weren’t consistent in the first phase of the tournament, but they are a fearsome rival.”

“We would have preferred a different rival, I’m sure we’ll have two fantastic games on our hands. We have the return leg at home, but the most important thing is to have a great first leg. I think the chances of going through for Barça are at 55% to Montpellier’s 45%. There aren’t a lot of differences between the two sides. It will be a very even tie,” said Masip.

On the form of some of Montpellier’s players, Masip said, “Karabatic, Accambray and Kavticnik, in a two to three weeks, will be on form after the European Championships. They are a very dangerous rival.”

14 successful ties

Barça Intersport have played in 27 European knock-out ties and they’ve won 23. Focusing solely on the Champions League, the Catalans have played 17 ties and won 14.

FC Barcelona was represented in this morning’s draw by Eduard Coll, Barça’s handball director and Xavi O’Callaghan, general team manager.

The draw

Kadetten - Atlético Madrid
Montpeller - Barça Intersport
Füchse Berlín - HSV Hamburg
Wisla Plock - THW Kiel
Reale Ademar Lleó - Veszprém
Targi Kielce - Cimos Koper
Metalurg Skopje - Zagreb
IK Savehöf - AG Copenhaguen