ROUND PREVIEW: German runners-up are involved in one out of four double-headers this weekend.
Leipzig looking forward to EHF Cup challenges
Six teams (Siófok KC, Astrakhanochka, TuS Metzingen, Dinamo Sinara, Tertnes Bergen and ASC Corona 2010 Brasov) have already booked their place in the Women's EHF Cup Last 16 and ten more sides will follow over the next weekend.
After three years in succession in the Women's EHF Champions League, HC Leipzig are in the EHF Cup this season, and last season's German runners-up are eager to have success in the new surroundings.
On Thursday and Saturday, Leipzig are meeting Slovenian RK Zagorje in a double-header, of which the first leg is taking place in Dessau, and the return match on Leipzig's usual home ground, the Arena Leipzig.
Compared to Leipzig's Champions League traditions, Zagorje's finest achievement so far has been reaching the Last 16 of the Cup Winners' Cup in the 2012/13 season.
Since Monday, the Leipzig ladies have been training with focus on the two EHF Cup matches.
“Within these six days it is about giving everything we have to in order to be as well prepared for the first match in Dessau, which will be our away game so to speak. After that, we hope to give our fans in the arena a great return match,” Leipzig coach Norman Rentsch told his club's website.
HBC Nimes, Challenge Cup winners from 2001 and 2009, should have played the first leg at home against Hubo Initia Hasselt, but the match was called off because of the attacks.
Instead, both matches are being played this weekend on the Belgian club's home ground in the Sporthal Alverberg in Hasselt.
The first match is being played Saturday night and the second leg the following afternoon.
Slovakian champions Iuventa Michalovce take a five-goal cushion to Spain following their 34:29 win last weekend, but Balonmano Bera Bera have nothing to lose in the second leg on home court. For Iuventa's goalkeeper Raquel Alvares Lafuente (pictured below) the return leg in her homeland will be certainly very inspirational.
SPONO Eagles from Switzerland had their European debut as far back as the 1993/94 season, and since then they have been in one of the European competitions almost every year.
This weekend, they are visiting Jysk Arena in Silkeborg for two matches against Silkeborg Voel KFUM Saturday and Sunday afternoon.
After taking part in the Cup Winners' Cup the previous two years, Odense are now in the EHF Cup, where they receive European debutants WHC Zamet from Croatia.
The first leg is going to be played in Otterup north of Odense Saturday afternoon, the return match is then taking place in HC Odense's usual home arena, Odense Idraetshal Sunday afternoon.
TEXT: Peter Bruun / br
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