ROUND PREVIEW: Russian and Danish teams are running into each other twice in the quarter-finals of the Women's EHF Cup, while the first leg between U Jolidon Cluj and Fehérvár will be live streamed on ehfTV
Neighbours' duel goes live on ehfTV
Dinamo Volgograd will be receiving Team Esbjerg, while the 2012 winners, Lada are hosting Kobenhavn Handbold. The third Russian team in the quarter-final, Astrakhanochka will received a confident TSV Bayer 04 Leverkusen from Germany, while the last encounter is a Romanian-Hungarian clash between U Jolidon Cluj and Fehérvár KC, which will be also shown live and free of charge on www.ehfTV.com.
Having won the ground series in the Russian league, Dinamo are now ready to try and qualify for the semi-final in the EHF Cup.
After sending Skuru IK from Sweden out with 52:43 on aggregate in the Last 16, they are now facing another Scandinavian team, as Danish Team Esbjerg will be visiting Sunday.
After they qualified for the quarter-final by eliminating DHK Banik Most from the Czech Republic, Team Esbjerg have got Danish international Lotte Grigel back from injury, and there is no doubt that the return of the fast playmaker will mean a reinforcement to the Danish team.
“She will obviously add an extra dimension to our team, even though she is not in her best form yet after having been sidelined for so long,” Esbjerg coach Lars Frederiksen told eurohandball.com ahead of his team's visit to the winners of the Russian league.
“Obviously, they are a team who are not used to losing, and I see them as the strongest team in the quarter-finals, but maybe we can surprise them by coming with a way of playing they are not used to,” said Lars Frederiksen, and left winger Susanne Forslund tends to agree with her coach.
“They have a good Brazilian goalkeeper and the right wing from the French national team as well as some players who are in the squad for the Russian national team, so they definitely have a strong team, but if we can play in the style we are used to, I think we can beat them, Susanne Forslund said.
U Jolidon Cluj (ROU) vs Fehérvár KC (HUN)
Both teams actually seem quite content with going to meet each other in the quarter-final.
As Cosmin Salajan, sport director in Cluj, put it: “The most important aspect of us meeting Fehérvár KC is that we have a short trip to Hungary (for the second leg) which will help us.
“Both Hungarian and Romanian handball is at top level, and the two matches will be entertaining. I am really hopeful we can qualify for the semi-final of the Women's EHF Cup.”
And Beata Siti, assistant coach by Fehérvár is quite optimistic with regards to her team's chances too.
“All in all I am happy with meeting U Jolidon Cluj. I think we have a good chance to reach the semi-final,” she said.
“We definitely go for a win already in the first match,” she told her club's website.
Playing away against Russian teams is usual seen as a tough challenge, among teams from Western Europe in particular.
“It's Russia again, where we have been quite often in previous years. Actually, we have pretty good memories of Astrakhan, as we eliminated them two years ago in the Last 16, with a win and a draw both on their ground,” said the Leverkusen coach who does not exactly see her team as favourites, though.
“There is no favourite at all, as all teams who managed to get this far are really good and have deserved to be in the quarter-finals,” Heike Ahlgrimm said.
Having won the EHF Cup in 2012, Lada will be chasing a remake of that triumph this season, where they will be trying to take the first step when they receive Kobenhavn Handbold in the Sportkomplex USK “Olimp” in Togliatti Saturday afternoon.
The Danish visitors are well aware that they will be up against an opponent who means business.
“We are going to get under pressure in all aspects of the game, but maybe that is exactly what we need. I can assure everyone that we are going to do everything we possibly can in order to get a good result in Russia, and then we will have to see what we can do at home in Frederiksberghallen next weekend,” Kobenhavn coach Martin Albertsen said.
Find the complete schedule of the Women's EHF Cup Quarter-finals here
TEXT: EHF / br
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