Estonia defeated Kosovo 13-7 in a EHF 2020 European Championship qualification match ©Kosovo Handball Federation

Estonia and Luxembourg both enjoyed victorious starts to the first qualification stage of the men’s European Handball Federation (EHF) 2020 European Championships.

Both teams moved a step closer to the tournament which will be co-hosted by Sweden, Norway and Austria after claiming easy first leg wins against Kosovo and Georgia respectively.

The return games are set to follow this weekend.

Even without German Bundesliga stars Dener Jaanimaa and Mait Patrail, as well as a number of other key players, Estonia had no trouble defeating Kosovo 13-7 in Group B.

Jürgen Rooba was in inspired form in front of goal for the Estonians as he scored eight times.

Kosovo’s star player Florim Hoxha failed to have an impact in the contest as the Estonian defence stood strong.

Georgia suffered defeat to Luxembourg in group C ©Georgian National Handball Federation
Georgia suffered defeat to Luxembourg in group C ©Georgian National Handball Federation

Meanwhile, in Group C, Luxembourg also started their qualification campaign with a win away from home.

Georgia cannot win the group after also losing both matches against Italy in November.

The hosts, through goals from Irakli Chikovani, who scored eight overall, turned a 6-9 deficit into a 12-10 lead.

After the break, Luxembourg improved but Georgia remained in contention until the latter stages when their opponent's quality began to show.

The Luxembourg team, coached by Romanian Adrian Stot, went on to claim a 31-24 win.

"Our defence and goalkeeping were stronger in the crucial stages," Stot said.

"The win was well deserved due to our performance after the break.

"It was the first of four steps towards the next qualification stage."

Martin Muller was the top Luxembourg scorer with seven goals while Tommy Wirtz and Max Kohl added six points each.

The return leg between Estonia and Kosovo is scheduled for Sunday (January 8) while Luxembourg and Georgia will meet again tomorrow.