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10.05.2019, 15:10
Metz versus Rostov: Who will make history?
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SEMI-FINAL PREVIEW: Neither Metz Handball nor Rostov-Don have reached the final of the Women’s EHF Champions League. The French DELO WOMEN’S EHF FINAL4 debutants appear to have the upper hand
 

Metz versus Rostov: Who will make history?

Last season saw Rostov-Don play their first EHF FINAL4. This year, they take on a semi-final opponent in that position, as Metz Handball make a historic debut on behalf of French clubs.

After being eliminated in the quarter-final stage two seasons in a row, Metz finally broke through to reach the Women’s EHF Champions League Semi-finals. Despite being new to the DELO WOMEN’S EHF FINAL4, Metz are in an excellent position to reach the title match.

Metz are the first French club to play the EHF FINAL4, while Rostov arrive in Budapest for their second straight participation

  • Neither side has ever reached the final of the Women’s EHF Champions League

  • Metz won both mutual clashes against Rostov in the main round, and have never lost a match to the Russian team

  • If Metz take the title, it will be the first Champions League trophy for all 16 players and coach Mayonnade

SEMI-FINAL

Metz Handball (FRA) vs Rostov-Don (RUS)
Saturday 11 May, 18:00 CET, live on ehfTV.com

“For several years Metz have been doing a very good job and they have an excellent coach. Finally, they made it to Budapest to little surprise. They are fighters and we will have to deal with this,” Rostov goalkeeper Mayssa Pessoa’s words at the DELO WOMEN’S EHF FINAL4 draw event in mid-April accurately reflect the broader opinion of the French club, particularly through the 2018/19 season.

Metz lost just two games and impressed with the most effective defence of the season, conceding a total of 331 goals. After being eliminated in the quarter-finals in the two previous seasons, the question became whether or not the French side would stumble in the same stage again in 2018/19. But they left no doubt with two clear victories over CSM Bucuresti that clinched Metz’s first berth in Budapest.

As with all four semi-finalists, Rostov, led by current title holding coach Ambros Martin in his first season with the Russian club, also enjoyed two wins in the quarter-finals. Their only defeats in the season came against Metz.

The semi-final opponents finished the main round with exactly the same record: seven wins, one draw, two losses, 15 points. If Metz had not won the two mutual encounters so decisively – 29:25 in France and 26:18 in Russia – the sides would seem a completely equal match.

However, according to wing Manon Houette, Metz know the past results mean nothing: “They are strong and they are complete. Rostov have incredible players in each position and, although we won both games in this season, everything is different in Budapest. I don’t look back to the past. We will all focus just on this great match.”

Houette knows the individual quality of much of the Rostov squad very well, as she and seven other Metz players met eight Rostov players in the final of the Women’s EHF EURO 2018 in December. The teams have faced each other a total of six times, with five victories for Metz and one draw.

Will Metz extend their winning series or will coach Martin’s WOMEN’S EHF FINAL4 experience lead Rostov to the final?


TEXT: Courtney Gahan / ew
 
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