Crunch time in Scandinavian encounters
Eight spots are still up for grabs for the Last 16 of the Cup Winners’ Cup, and at least two of those positions will be taken by Scandinavian teams, as two entirely Scandinavian ties are going to find their decision this coming weekend.
In Odense Idraetshal, HC Odense are chasing a four-goal deficit against Randers HK on Saturday afternoon. Randers, who were in the Women’s EHF Champions League Main Round in the 2012/13 season, won 30:26 at home on Sunday, but Odense’s Dutch key player Pearl van der Wissel-Nielsen still believes in her team’s chances.
“There is still one match left, and even though Randers is a strong team, their lead is not impossible to catch up with,” van der Wissel-Nielsen told her club’s website.
In Randers, they are also aware that a four goal lead is not exactly a big lead to go to an away game with. “Four goals are not enough for us to feel secure. They can disappear in a hurry, if we do not turn up with hundred per cent determination. I think we should go to Odense and play safe,” right wing Gitte Andersen told Randers HK’s website.
The other Scandinavian tie in this round is in Norway, where Tertnes Bergen have a 22:19 lead ahead of their home match against Nordstrand Handball Elite.
This obviously make the team from Norway’s second largest city favourites to proceed to the next round, when the two teams meet again in Haukelandshallen in Bergen Sunday – especially if Tertnes’ right back Stine Skogrand can reach the same level as she did in the first match, where she scored nine goals.
Last season, FC Midtjylland made it to the Women’s EHF FINAL4, but this year, the former Danish champions failed to qualify for the Champions League group matches.
This weekend, they are entering the Cup Winners’ Cup instead, as they are hosting a double header on Saturday and Sunday with Kuban from Russia as their adversaries.
This will give the spectators in the Ikast-Brande Arena in Ikast the chance to see a legend in the handball world, as former Russian national coach Yevgeni Trefilov is now in charge of Kuban.
Another double header is taking place in Spanish Pontevedra, where Mecalia Atletico Guardes are receiving Byasen Trondheim from Norway, who reached the semi-final in the Cup Winners’ Cup last season, but who have failed to qualify for the Champions League group matches the last three seasons.
Byasen will have to try for success in the Cup Winners’ Cup this season without right back Tonje Nøstvold who was confirmed pregnant earlier this week.
Find all the results of the Women's Cup Winners' Cup here
TEXT: Peter Bruun / br