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18.11.2016, 13:00
Astrakhanochka close to the main round
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GROUP B PREVIEW: Astrakhanochka are close to advancing to the main round, with HC Leipzig trying to use their last chance to grab the third place
 

Astrakhanochka close to the main round

Round 6 promises to offer plenty of action with Leipzig having an almost impossible take; Astrakhanochka could even lose and still make it to the main round.

• Vardar top the group with nine points and are certain to finish in the first place; FTC have seven points and have secured the second position
• Vardar are the only unbeaten team in the Champions League, and they scored by far the most goals in the competition (175)
• Astrakhanochka and HC Leipzig have two points each, yet if they stay equal after the Round 6, the Russian team will be ranked higher


GROUP B

HC Leipzig (GER) vs Vardar (MKD)
Saturday, 19 November, 15:00 hrs local time, live on ehfTV.com

The feelings were really mixed at HC Leipzig following their game with Astrakhanochka last Sunday.

On the one hand, the German side finally earned their first win in the continental top flight this season. But on the other hand, the victory was not big enough (30:27), and since Leipzig had earlier lost in Astrakhan 27:24, the away goal rule in head-to-head encounters gives Russian champions the advantage in case the two teams are equal in points.

The team coached by Norman Rentsch still have a chance to advance to the main round. But to do it, they need to take points from the group leaders  Vardar which looks like a very difficult task.

"If we look at things realistically, it is hard to get something in the game with Vardar," the team leader Anne Hubinger told the club's official website.

But in case Leipzig finish bottom in the Group B, they will continue the season in the EHF Cup, and Norman Rentsch tries to find positives.

"It would be a new competition for us, and we could use it as a chance," the coach said.

Vardar seem to be in great shape. Four wins in a row, including the emphatic triumph against FTC in Budapest last Sunday, secured the Macedonian champions the first place in Group B.

Vardar have something else to boast. They remain the only team in the entire EHF Championa League that have not suffered any defeats.

Moreover, their attack is by far the most prolific in the entire competition. The Skopje outfit have scored 175 goals in five games, which makes precisely 35 goals per game on average.

Astrakhanochka (RUS) vs FTC-Rail Cargo Hungaria (HUN)
Sunday, 20 November, 16:00 hrs local time, live on ehfTV.com

While Rostov-Don did not manage to survive in the challenging Group C, another Russian team has a good chance to go through to the main round.

Astrakhanochka 's players danced with joy after the game in Leipzig - and although they lost, they had a reason to be happy.

Even if they lose at home against FTC in their last group game and stay with two points, they will advance to the next round unless Leipzig take some points from Vardar, which does not look likely.

FTC are certain to finish second in the group, yet they have something to fight for - in case Astrakhanochka makes it to the main round, the points obtained against the Russian champions will be carried over to the next stage.

Last weekend, the Hungarian side had no chance at home against Vardar (37:24), yet they raised their spirits a few days later by beating Ipress-Center VAC in the domestic league 30:20.


TEXT: Sergey Nikolaev / bc
 
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