Eight teams are left in this season's Champions Hockey League. While no-one can qualify this week, some teams could give themselves solid leads or mountains to climb. Here are three things alongside the games that you should look out for:
1. Last countrymen starting
Red Bull Munich and Mountfield HK have the respective hopes of Germany the Czech Republic resting firmly on their shoulders. The two teams are the only sides from their leagues left in the 2019/20 Champions Hockey League, and aside from their own ambitions to go further they are also playing for points in the League Ranking as well.
The Czech Extraliga, realistically, needs Mountfield HK to go almost all the way if they’re to avoid dropping down to three places next season. Germany look set to benefit from that and every point that Munich pick up along the way will only help this cause.
2. Battle for ‘Best new act’
EHC Biel-Bienne and Lausanne HC are not only trying to reach the Semi-Finals in their first CHL seasons, but they’re also competing to see who can have the most memorable debut in the competition. Both teams have made quite an impression already, and are looking to become the first team (or teams) to make the Semi-Finals in their debut season since another Swiss team did it in 2015/16 – HC Davos.
3. Sweden set to dominate again, or Switzerland taking over?
With Djurgården, Frölunda and Luleå all still alive in this season’s CHL, Sweden still has three of it’s five teams alive with only eight remaining. Switzerland does as well, but the SHL has an enviable record of having at least one team in every CHL Final over the past five seasons, and they could be well-placed to do that again.
Two of the four matchups in this round are Sweden vs. Switzerland affairs – we may well see thereafter who the dominant force this season is.