ROUND PREVIEW: Fighting talk from Kobenhavn and Esbjerg as they attempt to overturn large deficits and join Astrakhanochka in the EHF Cup Semi-finals
Confident Danes, cautious Hungarians
After Astrakhanochka qualified for the semi-final of the Women’s EHF Cup last weekend by eliminating German TSV Bayer 04 Leverkusen, the three remaining semi-finalists are to be found this weekend.
In spite of trailing by eight goals against Lada, København Håndbold´s head coach Martin Albertsen is still optimistic about his team’s chances ahead of the second leg at home. The same goes for Team Esbjerg coach Lars Frederiksen, whose team is chasing a six-goal deficit against another Russian team, Dinamo Volgograd.
In Hungarian side Fehérvár KC, on the other hand, head coach Pål Oldrup Jensen is still cautious despite his team’s seven- goal advantage before the home game against U Jolidon Cluj from Romania.
København Håndbold (DEN) vs Lada (RUS)
Going eight goals ahead in the first match in Togliatti has given Lada a great chance to take a further step towards repeating their achievement in the 2011/12 season when they won the EHF Cup.
This next step would be the all-Russian semi-final against Astrakhanochka. However, the new Danish team which was formed just before this season, consisting entirely of Danish players, has not given up hope for the semi-final yet.
To the contrary, head coach Martin Albertsen is relatively optimistic before the return match in Frederiksberg Hallen in Copenhagen.
“In the first match in Russia we were missing several key players due to injury and illness, including our top scorer in the tournament Mie Augustesen and our first-choice goalkeeper Søs Søby.
“Still, we managed to draw with Lada in the second half after being eight goals down at half-time. With some of our sick and injured players fit and ready for the second match, I still think we have a chance to catch up.
“If I am not mistaken, another Danish team, Tvis (Team Tvis Holstebro) lost by exactly eight goals away against Lada a couple of years ago – and won by eight at home.
“That just goes to prove that it is not impossible,” Martin Albertsen told eurohandball.com.
Team Esbjerg (DEN) vs Dinamo Volgograd (RUS)
Until the 53rd minute, the first match in Volgograd last Sunday was an even affair, the score at that point being 29:29.
After winning the remaining seven minutes by six goals, the Russian home team gave themselves a far better chance ahead of the return match in Esbjerg. Naturally, this annoyed Esbjerg coach Lars Frederiksen.
“We still have a chance, although I am obviously annoyed with the way the first match ended. We could and should have given ourselves a considerably better chance,” he told the Danish newspaper JydskeVestkysten.
“We could also take some positive things with us home from the first match, but we will have to play really well in the second match in order to send Volgograd out,” Lars Frederiksen added.
Fehérvár KC (HUN) vs U Jolidon Cluj (ROM)
A seven-goal lead after the first match in Romania last Saturday means that Fehérvár are within touching distance of the semi-finals ahead of the home match Sunday afternoon, but Fehérvár coach Pål Oldrup Jensen is still a bit cautious.
“The goal difference in the first match did probably not express the difference in strength between the two teams on the day and we are far from being in the semi-finals yet.
“However, we have a strong team who may be able to get far in the tournament,” the Norwegian coach at the Hungarian club said.
The game will be live on ehfTV.com this Sunday at 16.00 hrs local time.
TEXT: Peter Bruun / cor
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