ROUND PREVIEW: Extremely difficult tasks await two of the three home teams this weekend in the race to join Byasen in the Women's Cup Winners' Cup semi-finals continues
A new champion to be found
After defending Women’s Cup Winners’ Cup champions Hypo Niederösterreich were sent out by Norwegian side Byasen with 13 goals to spare on aggregate in last weekend´s doubleheader, a new winner of the tournament will have to be found.
Six teams will be in action this weekend, attempting to follow Byasen to the semi-final. In Budapest, FTC-Rail Cargo Hungaria chase an eight goal deficit, when they receive Viborg HK on Saturday afternoon.
For Buxtehuder SV, the situation is even worse, as the German team trail by 13 goals ahead of the home game against Rostov-Don, while Zvezda Zvenigorod find themselves in the best position of the home teams.
The Russians lead by four before receiving Fleury Loiret Handball from France.
Buxtehuder SV (GER) vs Rostov-Don (RUS)
The return of Swedish international Ulrik Ågren from suspension is not likely to help Buxtehuder SV much in their efforts to reach the semi-finals.
The 13 goal deficit from the first match in Russia has virtually made the return match a mission impossible for the German ladies and all coach Dirk Leun really hopes for is a better performance by his team than in the first match.
“We will have to improve, but in that case we have a chance to match the Russians in our own hall,” said Dirk Leun who admits having given up any hope of advancing in the tournament.
“However, we want to show that we can do better and I promise a different approach to a week ago,” he told Buxtehuder SV’s website.
FTC-Rail Cargo Hungaria (HUN) vs Viborg HK (DEN)
FTC-Rail Cargo ran into a storm in the second half of the first leg in Viborg Stadionhal on Monday. The deficit amounted to 10 goals several times within the last 30 minutes, before the Hungarian top team managed to reduce the gap to eight at the end.
This probably changed the task in the return match in the Fötav Arena in Budapest from virtually impossible to extremely difficult, when it comes to reaching the semi-final.
FTC's Danish adversaries did not only gain an eight-goal lead from the first match, but also a lot of self-confidence – and that self-confidence was boosted even further on Wednesday night, when Viborg managed a convincing win over EHF Cup quarter-finalists Team Esbjerg 37:23.
However, as it is usually the case when teams have a clear lead before a return game, it is not possible to force Viborg into admitting they are almost in the semi-finals.
“I remember having been seven goals up and still having lost on aggregate. That can also happen to an eight-goal lead, so there is still a lot of hard work for us to be done,” right back Louise Burgaard told Danish TV.
The game will be live on ehfTV.com on Saturday at 20.15 hrs. local time.
Zvezda Zvenigorod (RUS) vs Fleury Loiret Handball (FRA)
Thanks to Rostov-Don’s 13-goal lead ahead of their return match against Buxtehude, Russian handball seems likely to have two teams in the semi-finals.
Having won by four goals in France in the first match, Zvezda have home advantage on their side as they look to finish the job, when they receive Fleury for the second leg in the Sport hall Zvezda in Zvenigorod.
If the winners of the Women’s EHF Champions League in 2008 and of the EHF Cup the year before manage to complete their task, they can look forward to meeting Byasen, who eliminated Hypo Niederösterreich so convincingly last weekend.
TEXT: Peter Bruun / cor
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