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20.11.2015, 15:00
Unbeaten rivals clash for main round points in Budapest
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GROUP B PREVIEW: Ferencvaros welcome Fleury Loiret in a top spot decider; a draw is enough for Thüringer to clinch a Main Round berth
 

Unbeaten rivals clash for Main Round points in Budapest

It’s crunch time in the group of champions where Ferencvaros play host to the only side they could not beat so far, proving Fleury Loiret are a tough egg to crack even at home.

Podravka need a miracle in Nordhausen against Thüringer to avoid being knocked out.

GROUP B

Thüringer HC (GER) vs HC Podravka Vegeta (CRO) 

Saturday 21 November, 14:00 local time, live on ehfTV.com

The second half of the first game for the German and Croatian champions cost Podravka dearly and proved golden for Thüringer, who were trailing the Koprivnica side by two goals at the break but managed to turn the match around and win by six.

A defeat by such a massive margin might have put Podravka’s qualification hopes to an end but the Croatian team have been constantly improving in the second half of the group matches.

They made both Fleury and Ferencvaros work very hard for their points and if they continue to play the way they did in the past few weeks, Podravka could cause an upset in Nordhausen.

However, Thüringer are not only favourites to win but even a narrow defeat would seal their place in the Main Round.

The German champion will obviously play to win at home and not only to please their faithful crowd but to stay in the race for second spot in Group B.

This issue will be settled on 6 January when Thüringer travel to France for the game that was postponed due to the tragic events in Paris.

Even if Podravka lose in Germany Ivana Dezic & Co. will not step off the European stage as 4th placed teams continue in the last 16 of the Cup Winners’ Cup.

But as long as there is hope to remain in Europe’s premier competition the Croatian team will give their all.

FTC-Rail Cargo Hungaria (HUN) vs Fleury Loiret Handball (FRA) 

Sunday 22 November, 17:00 local time, live on ehfTV.com

Unbeaten Ferencvaros welcome the only contender who can push them off the throne in Group B - Fleury Loiret.

The French side will, however, have to show their best performance to beat (another draw will not help the French outfit ) FTC in Hungary.

In the wake of the tragic events in Paris, the EHF announced the cancellation of Fleury’s previous game against Thüringer but the French champions have already sealed their place in the Main Round and judging by their home game against Ferencvaros they stand a fair chance of winning the group.

The Panthers came agonisingly close to beating Ferencvaros but a buzzer-beating goal saved the visitors, who comfortably lead the group of champions.  

Ferencvaros once again move back to Budapest to host their fiercest rival and backed by the Green Army they will be extremely difficult to beat at home, especially when coach Gabor Elek has the full squad at his disposal.

However, Fleury marked their first season in Europe’s top handball competition with some remarkable performances against battle-hardened and accomplished teams.

Points for the next stage are up for grabs and the Panthers have already proved they are able to rise to the occasion even against top-drawer sides.


TEXT: Bence Martha / bc
 
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