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29.04.2015, 13:01
Belarus threat for injury-stricken Danes
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ROUND PREVIEW: Five EHF EURO 2016 qualifiers on Thursday with the highlight of Russia vs Hungary and a shootout between Rutenka and Hansen
 

Belarus threat for injury-stricken Danes

With nine Round 3 matches in EHF EURO 2016 Qualification taking place on Wednesday, the round will be completed with the five remaining games on Thursday, including four duels in South East and Eastern Europe. While Belarus hope to benefit from the injury situation in the Danish squad, Russian coaches Torgovanov and Voronin will have their debut against Hungary.

The EHF live ticker is available for all matches.

Group 2: Belarus vs. Denmark / Thursday 30 April, 19:00 hrs in Minsk

The situation is quite tricky for Danish coach Gudmundur Gudmundsson going into this week’s double-header.

Hans Lindberg is out after he sustained an injury in a German Bundesliga game a few weeks ago, and Anders Eggert recently asked for a break from national team handball which means that Gudmundsson misses two of his best wing players, and this potentially puts Belarus in the position to spring a surprise and go top of Group 2.

Both sides played at the World Championship, but while the Danes finished fifth Belarus failed to progress from the preliminary round and finished 18th. The duels are expected to be a shootout between two of the best players in the world: Mikkel Hansen, current top scorer of the VELUX EHF Champions League, and five-time Champions League winner Siarhei Rutenka.

The Danes have the maximum four points on their account so far, while Belarus are on three.

Group 2: Bosnia Herzegovina vs. Lithuania / Thursday 30 April, 20:15 hrs in Cazin

Two wins against Lithuania are a must for the Bosnians to remain in the race for their first EHF EURO participation. After the draw against Belarus and the defeat against Denmark, the team of Dragan Markovic need to add four points to their account.

On home court, where they had beaten Iceland in World Championship qualification last year, they are heavy favourites and hope to play that role away from home.

Group 4: Israel vs. Montenegro / Thursday 30 April, 19:45 hrs in Tel Aviv

Two years ago, it was one of the biggest sensations in the whole EHF EURO 2014 qualification, when Israel beat eventual EURO participants Montenegro 28:25. In 2015 the rejuvenated team of Montenegro is aware of the squad of Serbian-born coach Dragan Djukic.

In the double-header against Israel, Montenegro build upon their solid start after beating Iceland in the previous round. On the other hand, Djukic knows that this might be the only match his team can manage to win. Some experienced players of both squads are out, so the physical condition and height advantage for the Montenegrins could play a big role in the outcome.

Group 5: Ukraine vs. Portugal / Thursday 30 April, Thursday, 18:00 hrs in Brovary

Rumours were spread that some Ukrainian key players such as Sergey Onufriyenko have quit playing for the national team due to family reasons. The match against Portugal will unveil the truth.

Portugal contended well with Hungary and Russia, but lost both previous matches in this qualification. Ukraine lost to Hungary 20:33 at home  and a repeat performance would give Portugal a serious chance of taking their first points.

Group 5: Russia vs. Hungary / Thursday 30 April, Thursday, 19:00 hrs in Chekhov

The last medal Russia won in international men’s handball was Olympic bronze in 2004, courtesy of a victory over Hungary. New Russian coaches Dmitry Torgovanov and Lev Voronin were on court in this match, but times have changed since then, even though Hungary missed out on the World Championship in Qatar.

Hungary coach Talant Dujshebaev will definitely enter the big office in the Medvedi Arena in Chekhov, saying hello to his former coach Vladimir Maximov. Dujshebaev is a former Russia international and was coached by the legend, who has coached Chekhovskie Medvedia for the past two decades.

Thanks to their strength in depth with more internationally experienced players, Hungary in general are the favourites for this duel. Besides the confirmed absence of Sergei Gorbok, the 16 players on Russia’s team list is still a secret as Torgovanov wants to wait as long as possible before deciding.


TEXT: Björn Pazen / cor
 
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