Barça's title defence will start with a tough first round group / GERMÁN PARGA-FCB

The biggest target for the FC Barcelona handball section next season is to see Victor Tomàs lifting the EHF Champions League trophy on 29 May 2016 in Cologne. Today Friday, the seven clubs the team will face in the opening round of play were revealed.

Barça were one of the top two seeds, along with THW Kiel of Germany in the draw held in Vienna and featuring the presence of Barça’s own Sigurdsson. The Catalans will be up against Vive Tauron Kielce, HC Vardar Skopje, KIF Kolding, Pick Szeged, Rhein-Neckar Löwen, IFK Kristianstad and Montpellier.

New format

The 2015/16 tournament features a change to the system that was used in the last six editions to make the group stage more competitive. There will be an additional four teams to take the total up to 28, which have been divided into four groups. A and B are the main groups with eight teams each, while groups C and D have six lower category sides each.

The winners of groups A and B will go straight into the quarter finals, where they will play the second leg of their tie at home. The teams ranked 2nd to 6th in groups A and B will go into the first knockout round. The teams finishing 1st and 2nd in groups C and D will go into play-offs against each other to decide which two will join the ten from A and B in the main knockout stage.

VELUX EHF Champions League Schedule

- Groups A and B: 16-20 September 2015 / 2-6 March 2016

Groups B and C: 16-20 September 2015 / 2-6 December 2015

Second round: 16-20 March 2016 / 23-27 March 2016

Quarter final: 20-24 April 2016 / 27 April – 1 May 2016

Final Four: 28-29 May 2016

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