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16.11.2012, 11:38
Preview of Women´s EHF Champions League Round 6
«Go back »Print Version


Three teams are involved in a last battle for two spots in Group D.
 

Preview of Women´s EHF Champions League Round 6

The final round of the Group Matches will determine which four teams will join Oltchim, Györi Audi ETO, Ferencváros and Larvik in the Main Round, after the big four guns had booked their last eight berths with two games to spare.

Randers and Hypo will battle it out between themselves in Group A, while Krim Mercator and HC Podravka Vegeta also face a head-to-head clash in Group B. Things are slightly more complicated in Group D, where holders Budućnost Podgorica, Zvezda Zvenigorod and Thüringer HC are involved in a three-way battle for two spots.

Group A:
Randers HK (DEN) vs Hypo NÖ (AUT)

Sunday, 15:00 hrs local time in Randers  

Having beaten Buxtehude last weekend to stay in the hunt for a Main Round berth, Randers now need to defeat Hypo by more than seven goals to advance from the preliminary group stage, given that the Austrian giants won the reverse fixture 32:25 on home court.

Of course, a seven-goal win in which Hypo would be reduced to scoring less than 25 would also send Randers through. A 32:25 win to Randers would still allow Hypo to squeeze through with a better goal difference.  

Given what the two teams have shown so far, the Danish team has only a slim chance of winning by such a huge margin that would allow them to knock out the winners of eight EHF Champions League titles.

Oltchim Rm. Vâlcea (ROU) vs Buxtehuder SV (GER)  
Sunday, 19:00 hrs local time in Râmnicu Vâlcea   

Oltchim are likely to do no more than just go through the motions in a match which is competitively meaningless, given that the Romanian champions have booked their Main Round ticket, while Buxtehude have made sure of an early exit from European competition.

The Romanian champions might want to rest a few key players who engineered five straight wins in the group, while Buxtehude have pride to play for after five successive defeats and a point to prove that they can do better than a 34:15 defeat when the two sides met in Germany.  

Group B
RK Krim Mercator (SLO) vs HC Podravka Vegeta (CRO)

Sunday, 20:30 local time in Ljubljana

Podravka could not clinch their Main Round spot at the first time of asking, having lost to Györ on home court last weekend when a draw would have been enough to send them through.

They now face a dogfight against old rivals Krim Mercator Ljubljana, who will be buoyed by their emphatic win at U Jolidon Cluj which presented them with a chance to leapfrog Podravka into the runners-up position.

The Croatian champions won the reverse fixture in Koprivnica 25:22, meaning that Krim need to win by four goals or more, unless they can engineer a three-goal victory and limit Podravka to scoring less than 22 goals. A replica of the result in Krim’s favour would send Podravka through as they have a superior goal difference.

Györi Audi ETO (HUN) vs U Jolidon Cluj (ROU)
Saturday, 16:00 hrs local time in Koprivnica

With their sights firmly set on the Main Round, Györi Audi ETO are looking at a light workout against the EHF Champions League newcomers who fought hard but failed to win a single point on their debut in Europe’s top flight.

The home team’s coach Ambros Martín might be tempted to rest his stalwarts and give some of his second-string players a chance to rack up a sixth successive win for the Hungarian champions.

Group C
Larvik (NOR) vs FTC Rail Cargo Hungaria (HUN)  

Saturday, 17:45 hrs local time in Larvik

Larvik have a score to settle with Ferencváros after losing the first game in Dabas 28:24, meaning that they have to overturn to that result in order to win the group and avoid at least some of the other big guns in the Main Round.

The 2011 EHF Champions League winners have fired on all cylinders since their setback in Hungary, but so have FTC throughout the Group Matches and the upcoming battle should be a fascinating one to watch.

Norwegian duo Gro Hammerseng and Linn Jørum Sulland will lock horns with FTC’s Zita Szucsánszki and Zsuzsanna Tomori, the latter two scoring a barrage of goals last weekend to move into third and fourth place respectively on the top scorers list.

Dinamo Volgograd (RUS) vs IK Sävehof (SWE)
Sunday, 16:00 hrs local time in Volgograd  

Dinamo will head into the match as strong favourites to complete the double over their Swedish rivals and finish third, which would hand them the consolation prize of carrying on in the Cup Winners´ Cup after the winter break.

The Russian side won the reverse fixture in Volgograd 34:28 but Sävehof have improved since. The team from Gothenburg gave FTC a good run for their money twice and also held their own for much of last weekend’s game against Larvik, meaning that Dinamo cannot expect an easy ride although they should be able to come out on top.

Group D
Thüringer HC (GER) vs Zvezda Zvenigorod (RUS)  

Sunday, 15:00 hrs local time in Nordhausen   

There is a plethora of scenarios in the group’s complex three-way battle for two spots in the Main Round, but Thüringer HC will in all likelihood need to beat Zvezda by an avalanche of goals in order to finish in the top two.

Assuming that reigning champions Budućnost Podgorica beat Viborg HK on home court in the group’s other fixture, Thüringer HC will need to win by nine goals to leapfrog Zvezda in a three-way head-to-head table. Such an outcome would leave all three sides on eight points, while it would send Budućnost and Thüringer through to the last eight.

A Thüringer win by eight goals would leave them and Zvezda deadlocked on a -3 goal difference in the three-way head-to-head table which includes their games against Budućnost, meaning that Zvezda would go through along with the Montenegrin title holders as it would come down to criteria of higher number of goals scored in the matches of these three teams.

In the unlikely event that Budućnost fail to beat Viborg, any Thüringer win would send both them and Zvezda into the Main Round while defeat would in any scenario confine the German champions to a third-place finish and relegation to the Cup Winners´ Cup.

Budućnost Podgorica (MNE) vs Viborg HK (DEN)
Sunday, 19:00 hrs local time in Podgorica    

A topsy-turvy Group Matches campaign has come down to the wire for Budućnost, who must avoid a slip-up in their final game in order to make sure they reach the Main Round.

The defending champions, who entered the new season devoid of last season’s entire starting line-up which either retired or moved on to other clubs, shone in three of their wins but also showed weaknesses in two defeats which left them needing to beat Viborg on home court.

A draw will be enough if Thüringer fail to beat Zvezda and even a defeat would not be costly if the Russian side won or tie in Germany, but Budućnost will want to keep their fate in their own hands rather than rely on others to do them favours.

Much will depend on the fitness of goalkeeper Clara Woltering, who missed last weekend’s 31:25 defeat at Zvezda through injury and her return between then posts would inject a much-needed dose of confidence into a youthful Budućnost team, set to be roared on by the ever so passionate home crowd in Podgorica.


TEXT: Zoran Milosavljević / br
 
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