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27.02.2015, 11:07
Larvik and Györ fight for top spot
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GROUP 2 PREVIEW: A victory against defending champions Györi Audi ETO KC on Saturday would grant Larvik first place in Group 2 with two matches left to play

»EHF CL Channel »2014-15 Women's CL
»Main Round
»
 

Larvik and Györ fight for top spot

Norwegian champions Larvik HK on Saturday can become the first team to secure first place in the Women’s EHF Champions League Main Round; a rank which would guarantee them to meet the fourth ranked team from Group 1 in the quarter-final.

However, their opponents are defending champions Györi Audi ETO KC, who after having lost their home match against Larvik, will do everything to win this time as a victory might propel them back to the top spot in Group 2.

In Sunday’s Group 2 matches Metz Handball and Viborg HK are meeting in what looks like a direct encounter to book a ticket for the quarter-finals, while Baia Mare would send IK Sävehof almost entirely out of the race for the knockout stage should they beat the Swedish champions.

Women´s EHF Champions League Main Round Group 2

Larvik vs Györi Audi ETO KS; Saturday 28 February 18.30 local time (live on ehfTV)

If Larvik win their game against the defending champions, they will secure the first rank in Group 2 for themselves.

The Norwegian side is already two points ahead of Györ and another two would grant them with an unassailable lead with two matches left to play in the main round.

A Györ win, on the other hand, would bring both teams level again, leaving the decision who will come first and who will come second for the last two rounds.

Larvik have the psychological advantage on their side as they beat Györ 26:25 at the Audi Arena on 1 February.

“I think we have to play like we did in Györ and maybe even a little better, if we want to score another win.

“I think we should focus on our own play and rely on our usual 6-0 defence which will probably be effective against their fast back court players,” Larvik line player Marit Malm Frafjord told ehfCL.com.

Metz Handball vs Viborg HK; Sunday 1 March 16.50 local time (live on ehfTV)

With five (Viborg HK) and four points (Metz) respectively, both teams still have all chances to qualify for the quarter-finals.

However, a bit of a better cushion is vital as neither HCM Baia Mare with four points nor IK Sävehof with three points are far behind.

Metz have lost all three matches in the main round so far, including the away game (26:27) at Viborg, and another loss on Sunday would mean a severe blow to their hopes of reaching the quarter-final.

For Viborg the situation looks slightly better, as the Danish champions have one point more than their counterparts on their account.

However, Viborg are currently hit by a series of injuries to their players, and the remaining two matches in the main round, against Larvik and Baia Mare, make the goal of reaching the quarter-final far from easy.

“We have to go to Metz with optimism, and then we will have to correct several things (compared to the 30:31 home loss to Baia Mare in Round 3) - me as well as the players,” Viborg coach Christian Dalmose was quoted on the club’s website.

HCM Baia Mare vs IK Sävehof; Sunday 1 March 17.30 local time (live on ehfTV)

Under their new coach Tone Tiselj, Baia Mare seem to have found the right form just in time.

Having started the main round as the only team without a point, away wins at Viborg (31:30) and Sävehof (28:26) have suddenly made the Romanian team a hot candidate for the quarter-finals – and on Sundax  Baia Mare can take a another major step towards this stage.

For Sävehof a win against the Romanians will be the last chance to stay in the race for a quarter-final berth.

Being last in Group 2 with just three points, it will be almost impossible to reach the knockout stage should they concede another defeat.


TEXT: Peter Bruun / ts
 
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