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Can Montpellier challenge Barcelona at 2018 IHF Super Globe?

The 2018 edition of the IHF Super Globe is just around the corner, but which teams are in contention to lift the trophy at the 11th staging of the competition.

The IHF Super Globe has only increased in stature since its first staging in 1997 and we are only days away from the 11th edition of the competition being held in Doha. The capital of Qatar has provided the setting for the best clubs in each continent to congregate each year to find out which team can become known as the best in the world for the following year. Barcelona won last year's competition with a dramatic triumph over Fuchse Berlin, but the Catalan outfit required a wildcard just to be present at the event so it proves that anything is possible at this tournament.

When you start your handball betting in the coming days, we are sure that Barcelona will be in your thoughts. The Spanish outfit have started their league campaign in impressive fashion by emerging victorious in each of their five fixtures and they have already established a positive goal difference of 87. You should take into account that the teams they will be facing in Qatar will be more testing than on the domestic scene, but there is little doubting that this team is playing with confidence and will be difficult to stop. Barcelona have won the Liga ASOBAL eight times in a row, but they have also been successful in the IHF Super Globe on three occasions, which is currently an all-time record.

Montpellier handball team celebrating winning EHF Champions League in May 2018.© Reuters

Barcelona's biggest challengers could be Montpellier and the French outfit will be looking to complete a high-profile double. Back in March, the teams played out two epic contests in the last 16 of the EHF Champions League with Montpellier prevailing from the two-legged fixture by a 56-55 scoreline. Barcelona won the second leg in Spain 30-28 but that was not enough to overhaul the 28-25 advantage that Montpellier had established a week earlier. Montpellier would go on to become European champions in May with success over domestic rivals HBC Nantes and they will be desperate to take the IHF Super Globe trophy back to France for the first time in history.

Those two teams feature in the same half of the draw and could meet in the semi-finals, and German side Fuchse Berlin may be the side to beat in the opposite half. Last year's runners-up needed a wildcard to become part of this season's eight-club competition having missed out on the participating in the Champions League, but Berlin are in form having won the EHF Cup in May. They may only sit in sixth place in the Bundesliga standings, but five wins have been recorded in a row and the belief will be there that they can win this tournament for the third time in four seasons.

Their most likely opponents in the last four are Al Sadd. The home-based side have finished in fourth place at this event in the past two years and will be looking to make that extra step this time around. They will be considerable underdogs against Berlin - if they can first get past Sydney University for the second successive year - but their presence would keep the local interest in this tournament.

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Serena Guthrie of England lines up a pass during the ZEO International Netball Tri Series match between England and Jamaica at Wembley Arena on January 18, 2014
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