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21.10.2010, 11:20
Vâlcea, Győr, and Viborg under pressure
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A complete round-up of all the matches from the third round of the EHF Women's Champions League.
 

Vâlcea, Győr, and Viborg under pressure

Match Day 3 will bring you eight exciting matches, and three of last year’s semi-finalists, Vâlcea, Győr, and Viborg need greatly improved performances to secure points in their away games. Here is our complete preview of all of this weekend's matches:

Group A

Dinamo Volgograd (RUS) - Viborg HK (DEN)

Each club has two points in the bank, and in this game they both aim for a victory to be in good position for reaching the Main Round before the second stage of the Group Phase.

Reigning champion Viborg disappointed their home crowd last weekend when the team of coach Jakob Vestergaard was humiliated by 9 goals. Not much worked out for the Danish side that evening. The players had massive problems with Budućnost’s attack, and they made mistake after mistake, whilst the Montenegrins played at the highest possible level. Viborg has several injured players (Cristina Vărzaru, Anja Althaus and Mouna Chebbah) before the crucial game in Volgograd, and as Vestergaard said: "A much better game is needed if we are to remain in contention for the CL".

The home team of Dinamo is known for being a strong force in its own hall, so they await a win in a tough game against the title holder. Volgograd’s back line, with Khmyrova and Kochetova, worked very well against IK Sävehof. Those two players scored 20 goals between them and were the main pillars for Dinamo’s first points of the CL campaign. Dinamo’s game is slowly taking shape this season, and coach Victor Ryabykh hopes for even more improvement against Viborg.

The EHF Women's Champions League game of Group A, Dinamo Volgograd (RUS) vs. Viborg HK (DEN) on Sunday 24 October 2010 at 14:00 hrs (local time) will be broadcast live on our free-of-charge web stream at ehfTV.com.

IK Sävehof (SWE) - Budućnost Podgorica (MNE)

Budućnost, with the maximum of four points from their first two games, aim for a clear victory against CL debutant Sävehof in Partille, Sweden.

To remain focused for the team’s third game, Budućnost decided to stay in Scandinavia to prepare well for IK Sävehof. The easy victory against Viborg came as a surprise to most observers, but the team of Dragan Adžić played at their highest possible level and super-star Bojana Popović successfully analyzed the title holder. With her extra motivation and Budućnost’s improved game plan, the club looks for its third victory, this time in Sweden.

Despite losing by 11 goals in Russia, the Swedes scored 26 goals in the away game, and this improved performance in attack is something to build upon for the future. However, the Balkan team remains the clear favourite and it would be a big surprise if Sävehof stole even a point from the classy Montenegrins.


Group B

HC Leipzig (GER) – Hypo Niederösterreich (AUT)

The dominant Germans aim for another win to maintain their perfect record at the halfway point of the CL Group Stage, whilst Hypo NÖ need their first point(s) to remain in the competition.

The fortunes of the two teams have changed dramatically in recent seasons. Record-winner Hypo NÖ now work with a very young, reinforced team, and with those young players lacking CL routine, this means more responsibility for the experienced Ale Nascimento and co. In addition, the Austrians have been cursed with injuries, so they’ll have to use the same squad as in the first two rounds. It’ll be interesting to see how long they’ll be able to cope with the quick game of their opponent.

Leipzig is the clear favourite on home soil as they look to secure two more points by capitalising on their team unity and the fast-paced game plan that coach Heine Jensen has devised for these matches. Leipzig have worked hard to become a very close-knit team, and this team unity will probably result in three victories from three games in Group B.


DVSC-Korvex (HUN) - Itxako Reyno De Navarra (ESP)

With only two points each so far, both teams are aiming for a second victory in the next round of the CL campaign.

The home team of Debrecen will need an improved performance compared to the second round game in Leipzig, where they had no chance to upset the Germans. The weakness of DVSC is that the team has, so far, been unable to play consistently well for the whole 60 minutes. Coach Vilmos Köstner is working on this problem, and if he can inspire them, his team could surprise Spanish team Itxako. Line player and defensive specialist Rita Borbás is out with a hand injury, but the rest of squad is ready for the clash against the aggressive Spaniards. A big advantage for DVSC will be their local hall "Hódos", which is guaranteed to be well filled and loud.

On the other hand, Itxako, the strongly-fancied team with the best squad in Group B comes to Hungary with much confidence. The team of Coach Martín Ambros collected two points in Austria against Hypo NÖ in a most impressive manner. His players acted freshly, with a feeling of strength, and seemed much sharper than those of their opponent. Sunday’s game is not expected to be an easy one for the Spaniards. It’ll be a tough game with a great atmosphere, and a real handball spectacle for the visitors.


Group C

Randers HK (DEN) - Toulon Saint Cyr Var Handball (FRA)

Danish Randers aim for another two points at home to remain in the race for a spot among the best 8 teams in the CL competition. Toulon, on the other hand, wishes to earn its first CL points this season.

To secure a victory in their home game, the Danes will need the performance of Match Day 1 and not Match Day 2. Against Larvik, they struggled a lot. The team had massive problems and wasn’t focused on the game plan that the coach had prepared, which resulted in a big defeat.

Newcomer Toulon is still without points in the EHF Champions League and for the team of Thierry Vincent it’ll be a tough clash in Denmark. However, the coach is not dissatisfied with the two defeats so far. In his opinion "the results of the first two rounds are realistic and experience will come from the sequence of games". For Toulon nothing remains but to collect CL experience in the next four rounds. Who knows, with a good game plan, his young team could collect one or two points.

Larvik HK (NOR) - C.S. "Oltchim" Rm. Vâlcea (ROU)

In the top game of the weekend, the Norwegian ‘national team’ is to meet the Romanian ‘national team’.

Of course this is not strictly true, but both national teams employ several players from each of these clubs, so an exciting handball event with top stars is expected in the Arena Larvik. Larvik is currently dominating the Group C table and after the high class game they produced last weekend against Randers, everything is on their side for another victory. The team of Karl-Erik Bøhn played at full capacity, and every player contributed her utmost to the game so that a well-deserved victory was celebrated on home soil.

To perform that well against their Romanian counterpart won’t be so easy, as the Vâlcea players will try to stop the Norwegians from repeating last weekend’s performance. The team of Péter Kovács is trying to prepare with discipline and intelligence for this crucial match, but the Romanian finalist of last season is under pressure. They have already lost a game on Match Day 1 and they desperately want to make amends in Norway.

The EHF Women's Champions League top game of Group C, Larvik HK (NOR) vs. C.S. Oltchim Rm. Vâlcea (ROM) on Saturday 23 October 2010 at 17:15 hrs (local time) will be broadcast live on our free-of-charge web stream on ehfTV.com.

Group D

Zvezda Zvenigorod (RUS) - HC Podravka Vegeta (CRO)

Russian Zvezda aim for their second victory on home soil, whilst Podravka hope for a repeat of their quality performance against Győr.

Despite scoring 32 goals in an away game, Zvenigorod coach Evgeny Trefilov was very disappointed with his team’s defence in Round 2 of the Champions League. The Russians conceded 37 goals and this was far too many for former defensive specialist Trefilov. In the game against the Croats he’ll again rely on 20 year old Anna Sen, the youngster who scored an incredible 14 goals in two games, and thus made a great debut in the Zvezda uniform.

Podravka on the other hand, lost in a very unlucky way against Győr. The team of Neven Hrupec produced its best performance so far in the CL campaign, but this still wasn’t enough for a point in Hungary. Now he wants a performance of similar quality from his players in Russia and the possibility of earning the first point(s) which could be vital for staying in the competition after half-time of the Group Phase.

The EHF Women's Champions League game of Group D, Zvezda Zvenigorod (RUS) vs. HC Podravka Vegeta (CRO) on Sunday 24 October 2010 at 16:00 hrs (local time) will be broadcast live on our free-of-charge web stream on ehfTV.com.


RK Krim (SLO) - Győri AUDI ETO KC (HUN)

The two favourites of Group D meet in a tough clash, with Krim wanting to retain their 100% record, and AUDI ETO feeling the pressure after beating Podravka, with some difficulty, last weekend.

The Hungarians had a hard time in Round 2 of the CL. Despite leading with a bigger margin in the second half, their Croatian opponent fought hard and the team of Csaba Konkoly struggled to win the game. For the crucial game in Ljubljana, the Brazilian international Eduarda Amorim is back, but AUDI ETO will still need a more focused defence, and a good game plan against the fast-paced handball of Krim.

With 72, the team of Marta Bon has scored the most goals in the CL campaign so far. Bon’s quick game plan paid off in the first two games and the coach hopes for a victory in the new Dvorana Stožice arena to secure the best position in the group before the two-week break. In their Round 3 match Krim will miss line player Dragana Cvijić, who tore ligaments against Zvezda and is possibly out for six months. Despite Cvija’s injury, Krim will go all-out to beat the Hungarians, who are undefeated in their last six duels.


TEXT: Márk Hegedüs
 
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