With one month to go to the EHL Men KO16, host club Real Club de Polo de Barcelona received a big boost with the return to play of club legend Xavi Lleonart.
It comes as the build up to the Euro Hockey League begins to gather pace with clubs getting their plans in place for the event which runs from October 6 to 8.
Lleonart lined out for the club in the Catalonian Championship on Tuesday night in a 5-0 win over Junior FC. It was his first outing since sustaining a long-term injury in September 2022 requiring a long-term rehabilitation.
The victory added to an earlier 6-2 group stage win over FC Barcelona and those results have qualified them for the semi-final of the competition which will take place on Thursday night.
And Polo will hope to keep building on this upbeat start to the new era under the coaching once again of Carlos Garcia Cuenca.
Marc Recasens has already been among the goals since his move from Club Egara with two against Junior while they have also assimilated German player Niclas Schippan. He moved from Harvestehuder THC this summer having played in the EHL KO16 last October in Hamburg.
This term, Polo carry their home hopes when they meet CAM 92 – the new name for French club CA Montrouge – on their home turf on October 6, capping the first night of a star-studded weekend in Barcelona.
The Spanish clubs are among the earliest to return to competitive action along with the Swiss competition where EHL-bound Rotweiss Wettingen started their season in August with a 4-1 win in their first national league game.
In the Czech Republic, EHL-newcomers TJ Plzeń Litice also got off to a winning start with a 4-2 victory over HC President with a hat trick from Jakub Korytak.
The German and Austrian Bundesligas both return on the weekend along with the Belgian Honor Division.
In a great opener to the season in Germany, EHL Men’s teams Harvestehuder THC and Mannheimer HC meet on Saturday afternoon to showcase their credentials.
Mannheim have EuroHockey Championship player of the tournament Teo Hinrichs in their ranks along with Gonzalo Peillat and Justus Weigand. Their opening EHL KO16 fixture against Old Georgians on October 6 is a definite highlight with the likes of Sam Ward and James Albery in opposition.
For HTHC, their EHL target is Belgian side Royal Léopold whose league comes back to action on Sunday.
England, Ireland, Scotland and France start a week later and the Dutch Hoofdklasse has a September 23rd tip-off.