CUP WINNERS' CUP FINAL PREVIEW: After dominating great parts of the first leg, Handball Club Lada still see themselves being four goals down ahead of the return match in Togliatti.
The crowd to help Lada catching up
After a peculiar first leg, in which Team Tvis Holstebro changed a six goal deficit into at four goal win (31:27), Lada will need to rely on their home crowd in order to win the Cup Winners' Cup.
Handball Club Lada (RUS) vs Team Tvis Holstebro (DEN)
Seldom has a European Cup final taken such a peculiar course as the first leg between Lada and Holstebro.
Lada seemed to have the match and the tie in their hands, as they were leading 16:10 at half time in the Gråkjær Arena of Holstebro. Still, the home team managed to perform a magnificent comeback and win the match by four goals.
In the week ahead, Lada have been involved in no less than three semi-finals in Russian championship, ending with an over-all defeat against Astrakhanochka.
The physical and mental aftermaths of this tough week witth a negative outcome may have played a part in the deciding phase of the match in Denmark. Now the bottom line is that four goals in Danish favour are separating the former EHF Cup winners from each other.
While Holstebro won the EHF Cup in 2013 and 2015, Lada won the tournament in 2012 and 2014. Now, the two successful teams are deciding the last Cup Winners' Cup title in history between them.
Considering Lada's usually enthusiastic home crowd, it is no surprise that playmaker Daria Dmitrieva appeals to the spectators ahead of the second leg in the Sportkomplex USK "Olimp" on Saturday afternoon.
"Home support is a very important factor, especially in such tough games. I hope our fans will create a fantastic atmosphere which will help us," said Dmitrieva.
Quite understandably, Holstebro were happy about turning a six goal deficit into a four goal win, but still, left back Jette Hansen remained cautious:
"We are prepared to get under heavy pressure in Russia, but Team Tvis Holstebro have won in Lada before, so why not this time?" commented Jette Hansen.
No matter what, Holstebro's coach Peter Krautmeyer is looking forward to visiting Togliatti again, as his team has done so many times in the past. "I am not sure if you could say that it is my second home, but I have definitely got some friend over there," he says.
TEXT: Peter Bruun / es
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