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20.11.2015, 15:30
Battle for main round points going down to the wire
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GROUP C PREVIEW: Györi Audi ETO KC and FC Midtjylland clash in their efforts to take as many points as they can into the main round after the winter break
 

Battle for main round points going down to the wire

The final round of matches in the Women’s EHF Champions League’s most competitive group is all about carrying points into the Main Round, which commences in January.

While Vardar will see a home clash with Hypo as a chance to flex their muscles, Midtjylland and Györ lock horns in Denmark with the outcome of their duel potentially crucial in the long term.

GROUP C

HC Vardar (MKD) vs Hypo Niederösterreich (AUT)
Saturday 21 November, 17:30 local time, live on ehfTV.com

Having spilled a four-goal advantage in last weekend’s dramatic 28:27 defeat against Györi Audi ETO KC, the Macedonian giants Vardar will look forward to an easy home game against the group’s bottom team, in which they should restore some of their dented confidence.

Competitively, neither side has anything to gain as Vardar are assured of taking four points into the Main Round, while Hypo will carry on in the Cup Winners’ Cup.

However, both teams will want to end the group stage of Europe’s premier club handball competition on a high note, which means Vardar are looking for an emphatic win while Hypo will be focused on avoiding a rout.

The home team’s coach Indira Kastratovic made it clear just how important it was for Vardar to take the match seriously.

“No Champions League game allows for a relaxed approach and things can get hairy if you start thinking that taking it easy against weaker rivals is an option,” she stated in a news conference.

“The match against Hypo will be a good chance for fringe players to spend more time on the court and prove their worth.”

French winger Siraba Dembele added: “We need a good performance and a win to generate a positive atmosphere before the season breaks up and we join our national teams.”

Hypo warmed up for the clash with a comfortable 25:14 home win over Stockerau in the Austrian league, staying second in the 12-team first division with 14 points from eight games, two behind leaders Korneuburg who have also played a game more.

FC Midtjylland (DEN) vs Györi Audi ETO KC (HUN)
Sunday 22 November, 15:10 local time, live on ehfTV.com

Midtjylland’s 26:21 win at Györ in the reverse fixture was one of the upsets of the season in all four groups of the Women’s EHF Champions League, hence, the clash in Denmark can’t come soon enough for the Hungarian giants who have a point to prove.

Apart from seeking much-needed points that either side will carry into the main round, this fixture will also show whether Midtjylland’s shock victory over Györ in October was a flash in the pan or not.

Following their impressive performance against the 2014 and 2013 Champions League winners, Midtjylland were twice blown away by HC Vardar, while Györ went back to business as usual and won their following three games.

Should they turn the tables on Midtjylland and win, Györ will carry six points into the main round and confine the Danish powerhouse to just two, with Vardar already assured of taking four points into the next stage.

A draw would mean that Györ take five points into the main round and Midtjylland three, while a Midtjylland win would leave all three teams tied on four points each in their head-to-head records.

With pride as well as points at stake, fans should expect an absolute cracker likely to keep them on the edge of their seats from start to finish.

Midtjylland geared up for the clash with a resounding 24:15 home win over Randers in the Danish league, keeping them second in the standings, level on 17 points with leaders Esbjerg who have a superior goal difference.

Györ, in turn, brushed aside Dunaujvarosi 28:20 to stay in second spot in Hungary with 20 points from 11 games, hot on the heels of leaders and traditional rivals Ferencvaros who are a point ahead.


TEXT: Zoran Milosavljevic / bc
 
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