20200919 Rostov Managarova
EHF Champions League

French-Russian crunch games headline upcoming weekend

Sergey Nikolaev / Adrian Costeiu

Metz and Rostov will rekindle their fierce rivalry in an important clash in DELO EHF Champions League group A, while Cristina Neagu is set to return for round 5 after a positive Covid-19 test sidelined her for CSM’s loss last week against Vipers Kristiansand

In group B, the focus will be on the crunch game between Brest Bretagne and CSKA, as these sides are still undefeated in the current season. Brest and CSKA also boast the competition’s two leading scorers: Ana Gros and Elena Mikhaylichenko.

RK Krim Mercator (SLO) vs SG BBM Bietigheim (GER)
Saturday 17 October, 16:00 CEST, live on EHFTV.com

  • Krim have recorded their poorest start in the DELO EHF Champions League in 25 seasons, after failing to win any of the first three games
  • neither Krim nor Bietigheim have won a game in seven combined tries this season
  • Bietigheim have the worst defensive record in the premium European competition, conceding 134 goals in four games, or an average of 33.5 goals per match
  • Bietigheim’s right back, Julia Maidhof, is third in the top scorer standings so far this season, with 24 goals in four games
  • this will be the first meeting between the two sides in their history in European competitions

Rostov-Don (RUS) vs Metz Handball (FRA)
Saturday 17 October, 16:00 CEST, live on EHFTV.com

  • Rostov are unbeaten in three games this season, with two wins and a draw, while Metz are just behind them in the standings, with four points from two games
  • Rostov playmaker Grace Zaadi will face her former team for the first time since switching sides this summer. Zaadi, 27, played for Metz between 2010 and 2020
  • both sides recorded easy wins on Wednesday in their domestic leagues, as Metz powered past Fleury Loiret, 39:26, while Rostov steamrolled Adyif 37:19
  • the sides have met nine times in European competitions, with Metz taking seven wins. However, Rostov’s sole victory came when it mattered most – in the semi-final two seasons ago, 27:25

Team Esbjerg (DEN) vs Vipers Kristiansand (NOR)
Sunday 18 October, 14:00 CEST, live on EHFTV.com

  • Esbjerg lost their last two home games, against CSM and FTC, and will aim to bounce back against the group leaders
  • Vipers began the season with three wins in a row – their best start ever in the DELO EHF Champions League
  • the Danish side will level their worst ever losing streak in the competition, three games, if Vipers win on Sunday
  • in their win against CSM last week, Vipers became the 25th team to score at least 1,000 goals in the history of the competition
  • the two sides also met in the main round of the previous season, with Esbjerg winning both games, 35:31 and 35:30

CSM Bucuresti (ROU) vs FTC-Rail Cargo Hungaria (HUN)
Sunday 18 October, 16:00 CEST, live on EHFTV.com

  • CSM have won all three of their previous home games against FTC, by an average of 4.33 goals per match
  • the Romanian side will be buoyed by Cristina Neagu’s return after she had two negative Covid-19 tests following her absence during last week’s loss against Vipers
  • FTC had a depleted squad last week against Esbjerg, but they still managed to snatch a 24:21 win despite missing backs Emily Bölk, Katrin Klujber and Noemi Hafra
  • the Romanian side enjoyed a thorough win against Gloria Buzau in the first game of the domestic league on Wednesday, 32:20

Györi Audi ETO KC (HUN) vs SCM Ramnicu Valcea (ROU)
Saturday 17 October, 18:00 CEST, live on EHFTV.com

  • this will be Györ’s second straight match at home, where they have a 100 per cent record this season
  • after defeating Odense last Saturday, the Hungarian side climbed to second place in group B, with six points
  • Valcea, who have zero points after three matches, did not play the match with Podravka last weekend due to Covid-19 restrictions
  • the teams have faced each other 16 times in European club competitions, with Györ winning nine matches, Valcea six and one game ending in a draw
  • their most recent meetings took place in the main round of the DELO EHF Champions League 2019/20, where Györ won both times: 35:29 at home and 29:20 away

BV Borussia 09 Dortmund (GER) vs Buducnost (MNE)
Sunday 18 October, 14:00 CEST, live on EHFTV.com

  • the teams have never faced each other in European club competitions
  • Dortmund are yet to celebrate their maiden home win in the continental top flight. Last week they were close to it in the match against CSKA, but lost 29:28
  • Alina Grijseels scored 10 goals in that match, including seven in opening 12 minutes, and is Dortmund’s top scorer in the competition, with 22 goals
  • following three straight defeats early in the tournament, Buducnost finally claimed a point in the previous round, playing 22:22 with Brest, yet they are still looking for their first victory in the season
  • on Wednesday, Dortmund comfortably defeated Frisch Auf Göppingen in the German league, 28:17, and now have five wins in five domestic matches

HC Podravka Vegeta (CRO) vs Odense Håndbold (DEN)
Sunday 18 October, 16:00 CEST, live on EHFTV.com

  • Podravka will play their first DELO EHF Champions League match since 26 September, as their game with Valcea last week was postponed due to Covid-19 restrictions
  • meanwhile in the Croatian league, Podravka enjoyed a big win on Wednesday against RK Sesvete Agroproteinka, 37:19
  • Odense were unable to claim any points in Györ, losing 32:25 and ending their three-match winning run, which was a club record in the competition
  • on Wednesday, Mie Højlund's last-second goal handed the Danish side a narrow win against Herning-Ikast in the domestic league, 19:18
  • the sides have never met in a European club competition

Brest Bretagne Handball (FRA) vs CSKA Moscow (RUS)
Sunday 18 October, 16:00 CEST, live on EHFTV.com

  • CSKA top group B with seven points, while Brest are third with six
  • both sides are still unbeaten in the current competition, but, while CSKA are on a three-game winning run, Brest ended their two most recent outings in draws
  • last Sunday, the Russian side produced a stunning comeback at Dortmund (29:28), with Marina Sudakova scoring the winner in the last second
  • the showdown in Brest will feature a duel of the two top scorers so far in the season: Brest’s Ana Gros (28 goals) and CSKA’s Elena Mikhaylichenko (25)
  • both sides maintained their perfect records in the domestic leagues this week: CSKA had no problems against Luch Moscow (43:24), while Brest narrowly defeated Nantes, 26:25

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