Both debutants of the European top flight face a stern test after the draw at the EHF Office in Vienna has determined the three qualification groups.
Michael Wiederer, EHF Secretary General carried out the draw, which also determined the right to organise the tournaments on 6-7 September.
While the Dutch champions Targos Bevo HC will head for Belarus to face the hosts of Brest Meshkov in the Group 1 semi-final, the other newcomer Junior Fasano in the Group 2 semi-final will meet HC Motor Zaporozhye, who reached the Last 16 in the previous season and were eliminated but eventual runners-up from Kiel.
The second semi-final pairing in Meshkov consists of the host club Vojvodina and Slovakian champions Tatran Presov. In Group 2, which is to be played in Hard Austria, the home side Alpla meet FC Porto, who showed an impressive performance in their EHF Champions League premiere last season.
The Turkish champions Besiktas Istanbul have earned the right to host the Group 3 tournament. In the semi-final they will face Norwegian title holders Haslum HK, who they eliminated two years ago on the way to the EHF Cup Group Phase after coming back from 11-goal deficit. In he other semi-final the last season’s EHF Cup Finals participants HCM Constanta from Romania will play against the Belgian team Hubo Initia Hasselt, who returned to the EHF Champions League after 14 seasons.
Only the winners of each group will make their way to the next phase. The group phase draw will take place on Friday, 27 June from 18:00 hrs at the Gartenhotel Altmannsdorf in Vienna.
Semi-final pairings of the VELUX EHF Champions League Qualification groups:
Brest Meshkov (BLR)
HC Vojvodina Novi Sad (SRB)
Tatran Presov (SVK)
Targos Bevo HC (NED)
HC Motor Zaporozhye (UKR)
FC Porto (POR)
Alpla HC Hard (AUT)
Junior Fasano (ITA)
HCM Constanta (ROU)
Haslum HK (NOR)
Besiktas JK (TUR)
Hubo Initia Hasselt (BEL)
Order of the right to host tournaments: Row 3*, Row 1, Row 4, Row 2
* as Presov hosted the qualification group last year, their right passed automatically to Row 1 (Brest Meshkov)