Four teams vying for honours in first leg.
EHF Women's Cup Winners' Cup Semi-Final First Leg Previews
FTC-Rail Cargo Hungaria - Dinamo Volgograd
Current EHF Women's Cup Winners Cup title holders FTC-Rail Cargo Hungaria were hoping to avoid Dinamo in the semi-final draw, but fate has brought them together. Coach Gábor Elek´s team will meet the third Russian team in succession in the competition, and this time, it’s last season's Russian champions.
After firmly showing the door to Rostov Don and Zvezda Zvenigorod, the Hungarian team, built around national team players Zita Szucsánszki, Mónika Kovacsicz, Piroska Szamoránszky, Szandra Zácsik and Zsuzsanna Tomori, will face the strongest Russian club that arrived in the EHF Women's Cup Winners Cup after an early EHF Women's Champions League exit.
In the EHF Women's Champions League preliminary phase, Anna Kochetova and her team-mates finished third behind Oltchim Vâlcea and Itxako, both of whom produced a strong Main Round phase recently.
Dinamo have several national team players, and include a strong back-court with Kochetova and Olga Levina. Gifted prospect Tatiana Khmyrova is sidelined with an injury.
Thanks to the strong squads of both of these clubs, a real mouth-watering clash is expected to unfold.
HC Leipzig - Viborg HK
Former EHF Women's Champions League participant HC Leipzig qualified as the final club for the EHF Women's Cup Winners Cup semi-final after defeating Norwegian side Byåsen and will now face former EHF Women's Champions League winners Viborg, home of high-quality right-back Grit Jurack.
In the quarter-finals, playmaker Karolina Kudlacz and her colleagues sent Norwegian league runners-up Byåsen home with a clear defeat and the Norwegians, who participated in the Preliminary Phase of the EHF Women's Champions League, will be followed by another former EHF CL team, when another Scandinavian side, Viborg, visit Leipzig.
The Danes, who failed in this season´s campaign of the prestigious tournament, have continued their European Cup season in the EHF Women's Cup Winners Cup, where last year they bid an early farewell in the Last 16 after losing against FTC.
This year, Mouna Chebbah and her colleagues wish to reach the final at least, giving a nice farewell to several players in their squad (Anja Althaus, Henriette Mikkelsen, Christina Pedersen, Cristina Varzaru) who are either switching clubs or bringing their careers to a close.
The two clubs met last time in the Preliminary Phase of the EHF Women's Champions League 2009/2010, where they both marched to the Main Round. In Leipzig they tied 20:20, whilst in Viborg, the hosts celebrated a clear 33:23 victory.
TEXT: Márk Hegedüs
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