ROUND PREVIEW: Challenge Cup winners Banik Most face their toughest opponents to date in the highlight of the Women’s EHF Cup Last 16
Black Angels full of respect
The winners of the Women’s Challenge Cup last season, DHK Banik Most show a lot of respect for their Danish adversaries, Team Esbjerg, ahead of the first leg against the Danes in the Last 16 of the Women’s EHF Cup.
“Our strongest opponent in Europe so far comes from Denmark. Nordic handball has always appealed to me and I am sure that the game will be a handball feast.
“Team Esbjerg come with six internationals from four different countries,” Dusan Poloz, head coach of the Black Angels, Banik Most’s nickname, told the club’s website.
The respect is mutual, according to Esbjerg´s right back Tove Seest.
“We have seen a little video of them, and they are actually better than we expected. At first we thought ‘Yes, a Czech team’, but later we found out that they have five Czech internationals, so they will not be as easy to overcome as we first thought,” Seest told the Danish website hbold.dk
Team Esbjerg are missing Danish international Lotte Grigel who is recovering from knee surgery.
København Håndbold will also be missing a Danish international when they travel to Germany for the first leg against Frisch Auf Göppingen on Sunday afternoon.
Back court player Pernille Holst Holmsgaard is injured for the rest of the season and she was missed when the Copenhagen team had a poor dress rehearsal, losing 23:17 to Cup Winners’ Cup participants HC Odense in the Danish league on Wednesday.
“We can take our strong defence and our fighting spirit with us from that match. However, we need to improve in order to have a chance against Göppingen, København captain Marianne Bonde said.
A former Women´s EHF Champions League finalist is also among the 16 teams who are still in the race for the EHF Cup title.
In 2007, Lada were in the Champions League final, but the Russians’ latest triumph is winning the EHF Cup in the 2011/12 season.
The next hurdle on their road to emulate the achievement of two years ago will be taken on home court in Togliatti this weekend, as they take on Spanish Rocasa Ace Gran Canaria on Saturday and Sunday afternoon in one of this weekend´s doubleheaders.
The other doubleheader this weekend is also a Russian-Spanish encounter, as Astrakhanochka host the two matches against Elche C.F.-Mustang.
In the remaining matches this weekend, Cankaya Bel. Anka Spor from Turkey play at home against U Jolidon Cluj from Romania, while Fehérvár KC and Ipress Center-Vac play the first leg of their all Hungarian tie.
The ties of IUVENTA Michalovce (SVK) vs TSV Bayer Leverkusen (GER) and Dinamo Volgograd (RUS) vs Skuru IK (SWE) are being played as doubleheaders next weekend.
TEXT: Peter Bruun / cor
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