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EHF Champions League

“Everything is possible” at DELO EHF FINAL4

EHF / Eric Willemsen

The guessing game can start right now: Who will become the DELO EHF Champions League 2020/21 champions?

The two semi-final pairings for the DELO EHF FINAL4, which takes place on 29/30 May in Budapest, are known, since the draw Tuesday determined that Györi Audi ETO KC will open the event against Brest Bretagne Handball, followed by Vipers Kristansand meeting CSKA.

Brattset Dale: "We will give everything for the title"

“Brest are a really tough team. We had two draws and it will be tough,” said Györ line player Kari Brattset Dale, referring to the duels her team had with their French opponents in the group phase earlier this season.

While Györ are riding a 55-match unbeaten streak in the competition since January 2018, they failed to beat Brest in group B. That fact will make that the defending champions are likely focused from the very first minute of their semi-final.

“We waited two years to get back to the EHF FINAL4 and we will give everything for the title,” Brattset Dale said.

Toft: "We are really proud to be at the EHF FINAL4"

The two draws also make that Brest are convinced they can topple the title holders in Budapest. Their Danish goalkeeper, Sandra Toft, is full of confidence.

“Györ are top opponents, but with two draws, everything is possible,” Toft said.

Brest are in their fourth EHF Champions League season, enjoyed some success, but have never made it all the way to the EHF FINAL4 before.

“It is the first time ever for the club to be this far, we are really proud to be at the EHF FINAL4,” Toft said. “The atmosphere at the club is fantastic.”

The goalkeeper herself, however, knows what it means to play at the season-highlight in Budapest, from an earlier visit with her former club Larvik. Thanks to a commanding win over French rivals Metz Handball in the quarter-final, Toft returns with her current club.

“We have stepped it up during the season, but we were still surprised that we beat Metz by 10 goals,” she said.

Lunde: "It will be exciting to meet them"

The other semi-final sees the comeback of Vipers, who had their debut in 2019. After losing the semi-final to Györ, they placed third with a win over Metz.

For Katrine Lunde, however, the memories give her mixed feelings, as the veteran goalkeeper suffered a severe knee injury against Györ and was out for a long time.

“I am back in shape again and I am looking forward to come back to Budapest again,” Lunde said.

Vipers will enter some unknown territory by playing CSKA, a team they have never met before.

“We will prepare good and it will be exciting to meet them,” Lunde said. “I think we are now very strong. We have many players back and are getting better and better.”

Masson: "It was a big, big dream to play this EHF FINAL4"

'Very strong' is a label you could easily stick on CSKA, as well.

The Russian side have made an impressive debut in the EHF Champions League, and while they are not the first ever team to reach Budapest in their maiden season, they certainly have accomplished something to be proud of.

CSKA were even in the running for a long time to win group B, despite the presence of teams like Györ, Brest, or Buducnost.

“It was a big, big dream to play this EHF FINAL4,” the team’s Brazilian goalkeeper, Chana Masson, said. “As a club, we have this ambition and we work very hard every day to come in this position.”

Playing the EHF FINAL4 will be a great experience for Masson, who retired from the sport a couple of years ago but is back at full strength now.

“I am a very experienced player, I don’t say that I am old, haha,” the 42-year Masson said. “The motivation for playing is still inside me.”

Both semi-finals at the DELO EHF FINAL4 2021 will be played on Saturday 29 May: Györ vs Brest at 15:15 CEST, Vipers vs CSKA at 18:00 CEST. Throw-off times on Sunday 30 May are also 15:15 CEST (3/4 placement match) and 18:00 CEST (final), respectively.

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