ROUND PREVIEW: Holstebro and Dunaujvaros who won the Cup Winners' Cup and the Women's EHF Cup last season both enter the new Women's EHF Cup this weekend.
Two reigning champions enter Women's EHF Cup
Before the Women´s EHF Cup and the Cup Winners' Cup merged into the new Women's EHF Cup this season, Hungarian Dunaujvaros Kezilabda Akademia DKK won the last edition of the old EHF Cup, while Danish TTH Holstebro won the final edition of the Cup Winners' Cup.
When the third and last qualification round for the group phase of the new tournament launches with the first leg this weekend, both teams enter the tournament.
Dunaujvaros are involved in a Hungarian derby against Érd HC who play at home in the first leg Saturday afternoon.
The Holstebro women are involved in a great handball Sunday in their hometown, as they are playing their home match against German VfL Oldenburg right after the match in the VELUX EHF Champions League between the club's men's team and Beziktas Mogaz HT.
Still, Olga Sanko, captain of Hypo Niederösterreich belives in the chance to reach the main round.
“Of course, Kuban have a very strong team and an extremely good coach.
“However, if we stand together, we can defeat them, at least at home, but we will need the support of our home crowd,” Olga Sanko told her club´s website before the two teams meet in the first leg in Vienna Saturday evening.
Their last hurdle before the group phase will be no other than HC Podravka Vegeta who are in the EHF Cup after failing to qualify for the Champions League group matches.
“I see our chances to proceed as 50-50.
“After all, Podravka have won the Champions League in the past. They still have a top class team, and we will have to be at our best to win there, but we also have a great team, and we believe in ourselves,” says Bietigheim coach Martin Albertsen ahead of the first leg in Koprivnica Sunday evening.
“I noticed that Conversano defeated Lublin in the Champions League qualifiers, and as Lublin sent Randers out of the Cup Winners' Cup two years ago, I do not expect a walk-over.
“Still, I think we should have sufficient quality to reach the group phase,” says Nykøbing coach Niels Agesen before he and his team travel to Italy for the first leg Saturday evening.
Viborg HK who won the Women's Champions League in 2006, 2009 and 2010 had no problems against DBC Slavia Praha in the previous round, while Handball Club Lada, who won the EHF Cup in 2012 and 2014 and the Cup Winners' Cup back in 2002, only qualified through away goals against Viper Kristiansand.
Now, the two traditional clubs meet to decide a place in the EHF Cup group phase between them.
TEXT: Peter Bruun / br
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