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12.10.2010, 09:00
Round 2 starts in Germany
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ehfCL.com brings you a complete round-up of all the matches from the second round of the EHF Women's Champions League.
 

Round 2 starts in Germany

Round 2 of the EHF Women's Champions League begins tonight (Wednesday) as German side, HC Leipzig entertains DVSC-Korvex from Hungary. Here is the complete preview of all of this week's matches:

Group A

Dinamo Volgograd - IK Sävehof

Both teams lost their first round game, so they’ll fight hard in Volgograd for their first points in this year’s CL campaign.

Dinamo, being very weak in away games, didn’t have a chance in the opening round against the team from Podgorica, so now they’ll hope for an improved performance at home, where they were very stable last season. For a good result, their right-back Anna Kochetova will need to give a better performance, as she has only scored one goal so far, whereas she finished on 84 goals last season.

IK Sävehof was not the favourite against reigning champion Viborg HK, so defeat had been predicted, and was well accepted on the Swedish side. As stated previously, in this hard group every game will be a new learning experience for the Swedes. They’ll try everything to steal points from the Russians, but it won’t be easy, as Dinamo plays very well on their home court.

Viborg HK - Buducnost Podgorica

Title holder Viborg HK will meet Buducnost of Montenegro on Sunday, complete with their new player, Bojana Popović, who joined them from Viborg.

The world class Popović, a recent top scorer of the EHF CL, has been waiting since the draw for her return to Denmark. The quality left-back is well aware of the strengths and weaknesses of her ex-team, so it’ll be a very interesting clash between her former club and her current club.

Both teams won easily in round one and whilst Buducnost’s success was based more on their quality defence, centred around Ana Đokić, Viborg HK triumphed against Sävehof due to their attack, with both Grit Jurack and Rikke Skov scoring 6 times.

Group B

HC Leipzig – DVSC-Korvex

The two winners of Match Day 1 will face each other in the opening game of the second round in the EHF Champions League.

Newcomers Debrecen (along with Randers HK) secured two important points in the first round. This proves the great strength of the debutants in this year’s CL campaign. Coach Vilmos Köstner was pleased with the final score, but he felt that his team tired greatly in the second half against Hypo-NÖ. Therefore, regeneration will be as important as an effective game plan for the Debrecen team.

HC Leipzig surprised many observers with a great performance in Spain as the team brought home the two points from Estella. Now they’re ready for their first game and victory on home soil. Leipzig at home will mean thousands of loud spectators in the Leipzig Arena and the team of coach Heine Jensen will count again on Polish international Karolina Kudlacz, who scored a fantastic 10 times in round one of the CL.

The game will be broadcasted live on our free of charge web stream on ehfTV.com on Wednesday at 7.30 pm.

Hypo Niederösterreich - Itxako Reyno De Navarra

The record winner of the CL will meet dark horse Itxako from Spain, with both teams aiming for their first points in the current CL campaign.

After a nervous first half, the Austrians performed well in the second 30 minutes against Debrecen, and were unlucky in the last phase of the game to travel home pointless. In front of their home crowd they want to show their strength and will give an all-out effort to secure their first points. Coach Matuschkowitz was pleased with his team’s performance in the second half in Debrecen, and in his opinion, his players need to build upon that for future games. Their nervousness has gone and they now only need to focus on their opponent who has set big goals for this 2010/2011 season.

The Spanish team wants to advance to the Main Round and another loss would make this aim difficult to attain. Despite strong summer reinforcements, some of their key players (Macarena Aguilar, Carmen Martín, Raphaëlle Tervel) are still out with injuries, and the new ones (the Russians Emiliya Turey and Natalia Kurbanova) haven’t adapted that well so far. So, an improved performance will be needed to take the points from the Austrian champion.

Group C

C.S. "Oltchim" Rm. Valcea - Toulon Saint Cyr Var Handball

An interesting duel is coming up in Râmnicu Vâlcea, as two teams without points will have their first ever meeting in the Champions League on Sunday.

Romanian Vâlcea is under pressure as they surprisingly lost their debut game in Denmark and an improved performance is demanded if they are to beat their French opponent. The biggest problem against Randers HK was Oltchim’s attacking game, as, apart from Roxana Han’s goals, not much else was successful. The team played like a shadow of its former self, and this was certainly not what its fans had expected after last season’s great performance. An improved attacking plan and a much better performance from Yeliz Özel and Cristina Neagu will be needed if the success-hungry Oltchim fans and Vâlcea management are not to be disappointed again.

Toulon, on the other hand, debuted nicely in the EHF Champions League. Despite a three-goal loss against title favourite Larvik, the young team presented itself very well and didn’t fear its stronger opponent. Toulon’s athletic players produced a dynamic game plan and with another similar performance they’ll surely have some chances against their Romanian counterpart.

Larvik HK - Randers HK

A Scandinavian duel with high-class handball is coming up at the weekend, when debutant Randers HK, having beaten Oltchim Vâlcea, will try to upset the favourites of Larvik HK, too.

After struggling a little in the early phase of the game, Larvik HK brought home two points from France and now they’re hoping to collect two more in their first home game. In France, right-winger Nora Mørk provided the turning point in the match, as she took responsibility, scored 7 times, gave some nice assists and also scored from 7 meters.

In the broadcast ehfTV.com game of the week Randers HK provided the biggest surprise on Match Day 1, as they beat the fancied Oltchim, finalist of last year’s CL competition. Armed with self-confidence, the team will travel to meet the strong Norwegians. In their first game, the team of Jan Leslie often succeeded from the back through Camilla Dalby, so it’ll be an interesting experience to watch the clash of two great back courts in Saturday’s game in the EHF Champions League.

Group D

Győri AUDI ETO KC - HC Podravka Vegeta

Two other losing teams will duel on Match Day 2 in the EHF Champions League, where, despite the loss in Russia, last year’s semi-finalist, Győr, remains the clear favourite.

Podravka Vegeta lost its first game on home soil and it seems that they are weaker compared to last season. Their top scorer Andrea Penezić left for Ljubljana and the young reinforcements were not strong enough to perform well against a top team like Krim. They seem to have a ‘shorter’ bench this season, and that could become the decisive factor in the game on Sunday.

However, AUDI ETO didn’t show their best performance against Zvezda either. The team of coach Csaba Konkoly struggled in Russia without defensive specialist Simona Spiridon, and had massive problems against strong shooters Sen and Postnova. Győr was also unable to stop the fast breaks by Polina Kuznetsova, who scored 8 times against the top goalkeeping duo of Pálinger / Lunde, who were not on top form last weekend.

RK Krim - Zvezda Zvenigorod

For many experts it’ll be the biggest clash of the upcoming weekend, the match-up of the Slovenian champion and the runner-up in Russia.

Evgeny Trefilov’s homework paid off in the game against Győr as his game plan worked well. His players overran the Hungarians and were very strong from the back court as well. Two question marks remain: how they’ll manage the long-distance travel and time zone difference, and whether they can sustain their quality performances from round to round.

Krim plays its handball with the same fast pace as the Russians, so for the spectators it’ll be an explosive game. The Slovenians shone in their first match last weekend, with super star Andrea Lekić performing well, and both of their strong pivots, Dragana Cvijič and Liudmila Bodnieva were hard to stop. Besides quick counter attacks, the defence will be the key element for a victory in this second round match of Group D.


TEXT: Márk Hegedüs
 
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