Women’s EHF Cup begins in Romania
In 2016/17, the newly merged Women’s EHF Cup proved an exciting competition. This year the competition will follow the same format, starting this weekend with qualification Round 1.
Three qualification rounds to be played this autumn will determine the 16 teams to contest the group phase in early 2018, followed by play-off games starting with quarter-finals.
The qualification tournament launches on Saturday with the first leg of a number of Round 1 clashes, as well as several double headers.
Byasen hope to reach group phase again
Of the 16 teams that participated in last season’s group phase, only Byasen Handball Elite start so early in the competition.
Their best scorer, Ida Alstad, went on maternity leave and Norwegian international Emilie Hegh Arntzen left for domestic rivals Vipers Kristiansand. But the Trondheim-based side have attracted several new players and their ambition is to reach at least the group phase again.
This weekend, Byasen are hosting a double header against Kram Start Elblag, who reached the quarter-final of the Women’s Challenge Cup 2016/17.
The first leg is to be played in Trondheim Spektrum on Saturday, and the return match will take place in the same venue the next day.
Germany’s HSG Blomberg-Lippe make their comeback to the European stage after a two-year break, for what is their first ever season in the EHF Cup. Having received a wild card for the competition, the team coached by Andre Fuhr drew Belgian opponents, HB Sint-Truiden. This game will be streamed live on ehfTV.com
The first match will be played in Blomberg on Saturday. The winner of the pair will face TuS Metzingen in qualification Round 2, which means a German derby is possible if Blomberg overcome the Belgian hurdle.
Two Swiss clubs also start their European campaign this weekend, with both scheduled to play double headers away from home. LC Brühl Handball will face KHF Prishtina in Kosovo on Saturday and Sunday, while LK Zug Handball travel to Poland to play Metraco Zaglebie Lubin.
Derby in Spain
The first game of the Women’s EHF Cup 2017/18 takes place as early as Friday – and, exactly as it was a year ago, will be played in Romania.
At 17:00 local time, C.S.M. Roman are taking on Bosnian HZRK Grude for the first leg of a double header in Sala Sporturilor Roman, where the second match is scheduled to take place on Saturday evening.
Last year, the opening match also featured Bosnian visitors from Grude, but they faced ASC Corona 2010 Brasov and lost both legs decisively (43:16, 40:17).
Qualification Round 1 also features a derby where Spanish runners-up Super Amara Bera Bera will host Portuguese champions Colegio de Gaia in the first leg on Saturday in San Sebastian.
Hungary’s Vaci NKSE will welcome Holon Handball Club from Israel on Saturday, with the second leg to be played the following afternoon.
The Ukrainian champions Galytchanka will start their European season on Sunday at home against Morrenhof Jansen Dalfsen from the Netherlands.
TEXT: Sergey Nikolaev / cg