SEMI-FINAL PREVIEW: Following clear victories in their first legs, SG BBM Bietigheim and Rostov-Don are likely to become the Women's EHF Cup finalists
Bietigheim and Rostov expected to secure final berths
Both first legs of the Women's EHF Cup Semi-finals were one-sided, as Rostov beat Metzingen 29:18, while Bietigheim thrashed NFH 38:27.
It seems that only a miracle can help the losing sides to overcome the 11-goal deficits, therefore the leaders of Russian and German leagues are expected to seal their final spots this weekend.
SEMI-FINAL, SECOND LEG
Rostov-Don (RUS) vs TuS Metzingen (GER)
The Russian side have had a turbulent season, with a disappointing performance in the EHF Champions League and a change of the head coach.
But now, under the guidance of Frederic Bougeant, Rostov seem to be on the right track. They currently boast a 100% record in the domestic league, and as repeatedly declared by Bougeant and his players, they also aim to win the EHF Cup.
With the 29:18 away victory against Metzingen, Rostov already have one foot in final. Indeed, it is hard to think of a team in the world that would win by 11 or more goals in Rostov. However, their head coach has warned his team against complacency.
Metzingen's chance to turn things around and qualify for their second straight EHF Cup final is small, and they realize this prior to their voyage to Russia.
At home, the German team fought hard for most of the first half, however, Rostov left their opponents no chances after the break.
"After a good first half, we played much worse and made a number of mistakes in the second half," said Metzingen's goalkeeper Jasmina Jankovic.
NFH-Nykobing Falster Handboldklub (DEN) vs SG BBM Bietigheim (GER)
Throughout their EHF Cup season NFH were prolific in attack, and their player Nathalie Hagman is still the tournament's top-scorer with 62 goals.
Nevertheless, NFH’s attack did not seem help the Danish side in the semi-final first leg against Bietigheim. Nykobing had many problems in defense and ultimately suffered a heavy defeat, 38:27.
Following the unfortunate result, they have no illusions left regarding their future in the tournament this season.
"To be honest, we are out of the EHF Cup. Bietigheim were better than us in virtually every aspect of the game," admitted NFH's head coach Niels Agesen.
While Hagman scored five goals in the first leg, Bietigheim's top scorer Susann Müller netted twice as many goals and led her team to a comfortable 38:27 victory. Now she is just one goal shy of Hagman in the competition's scoring list - and has every chance to pass her rival if the German team make it to the final.
Bietigheim, who still unstoppable in the German Bundesliga with 20 wins in as many matches, have laid a very solid foundation at home for an overall victory in the EHF Cup semi-final. They are expected to finish the job in Denmark.
TEXT: Sergey Nikolaev/kc
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