20210926 Odense Housheer
EHF Champions League

Russian-Danish clashes headline fiery weekend

Adrian Costeiu / Sergey Nikolaev

The first half of the group phase of this season’s DELO EHF Champions League is almost done — and the room for error is therefore smaller and smaller.

In group A, in-form sides Team Esbjerg and Rostov-Don will clash for the pole position, while CSM Bucuresti hope to extend their winning streak against Brest Bretagne Handball.

CSKA and Odense Håndbold are level on six points and sit in third and fourth positions in group B, so the Match of the Week in Moscow promises some high-quality and entertaining handball on Sunday.

Also in group B, Györi Audi ETO KC will try to maintain their perfect record when they host IK Sävehof, and Krim Mercator Ljubljana will play their first game under new head coach Nataliya Derepasko.

CSM Bucuresti (ROU) vs Brest Bretagne Handball (FRA)
Saturday 30 October, 16:00 CEST, live on EHFTV

  • a win would bring CSM closer to tying their all-time best winning streak of five games in a row, as they have now won three on the trot
  • after a slow start, scoring two goals in the games against Esbjerg and Rostov, Cristina Neagu has steadily been CSM’s top scorer, boasting an average of 8.66 goals per game against Podravka, Buducnost and Dortmund
  • CSM and Brest have the two most effective attacks in the group, scoring 139 goals each — one more than Esbjerg and Dortmund
  • CSM coach Adrian Vasile: "Brest have a strong physical team that put pressure on the opponents the whole game. We need be on our best level."
  • Brest’s away form has been hit and miss, with the French side winning only two of their last seven games across all competitions and conceding three losses this Champions League season
  • the two sides, who will meet for the first time in European competitions, won their midweek domestic league games: CSM against SCM Craiova, 33:24; Brest 33:23 away win at Plan de Cuques

Buducnost BEMAX (MNE) vs FTC-Rail Cargo Hungaria (HUN)
Saturday 30 October, 18:00 CEST, live on EHFTV

  • Buducnost will tie their worst-ever start in the DELO EHF Champions League if they lose against FTC. In the 2005/06 season, they conceded six losses in the group phase; now, they have recorded five
  • the Montenegrin side are in the middle of their longest losing streak in history in the premium European competition — eight games in a row, dating to last season
  • Buducnost eliminated FTC with a 50:48 aggregate score in last season’s play-offs, but FTC hold the head-to-head record, with seven wins in 13 games
  • a win would be FTC’s 100th in the competition, only five teams — Györ, Buducnost, RK Krim Mercator, Hypo and Larvik — have managed this feat in history
  • Hungarian powerhouses Györ and FTC are the only unbeaten sides in the competition after five rounds, with Györ boasting the best record, with 10 points, while FTC are on eight

BV Borussia 09 Dortmund (GER) vs HC Podravka Vegeta (CRO)
Sunday 31 October, 14:00 CET, live on EHFTV

  • following a strong start to the season, Dortmund were relegated to fifth place in the group after conceding two losses in a row, against CSM and Rostov-Don
  • Podravka’s 153 goals conceded so far in the season mark the third highest record in the competition
  • this will be the first game in 2021/22 for Podravka’s returning coach, Goran Mrdjen, who replaced Neven Hrupec. Mrdjen will be in charge at the Croatian champions for the third time
  • Podravka lost their last 13 away games in the DELO EHF Champions League, with their most recent win on an away court coming against another German opponent, Thüringer HC, in October 2018
  • both Podravka and Dortmund won their games in their domestic leagues midweek, as Dortmund took a 30:24 victory against Leverkusen, while Podravka enjoyed a 46:17 win against Trogir

Team Esbjerg (DEN) vs Rostov-Don (RUS)
Sunday 31 October, 14:00 CET, live on EHFTV

  • this could be a pivotal game for the group standings, with Rostov back in first place, with eight points, and Esbjerg one point behind in third
  • Rostov boast the most effective defence in the competition, having conceded only 23.4 goals per game — 1.4 goals per game less than Esbjerg, who are second in the statistical defensive ranking
  • Esbjerg coach Jesper Jensen: "One of those matches you are really looking forward to. They are a consistent top team in Europe, and they get players from the top shelf each year. We have had close and dramatic matches against them previously so we are excited to meet them, because they are one of the favourites to win this competition"
  • hit by an injury crisis, Esbjerg will welcome the returns of backs Mette Tranborg and Henny Reistad — their two top scorers this season in the DELO EHF Champions League — and right wing Marit Rosberg Jacobsen
  • the Russian side have dominated the mutual encounters between the sides, having won five out of six, with Esbjerg taking their only win on their home court in the group phase of the 2019/20 season
  • provided they beat Esbjerg, Rostov-Don would hit the 60-win mark in the competition and would become only the 10th team to reach that milestone

Györi Audi ETO KC (HUN) vs IK Sävehof (SWE)
Saturday 30 October, 16:00 CEST, live on EHFTV

  • after defeating Metz in round 4 (33:29), Györ remain the only team with a perfect record in the competition, boasting five straight wins
  • the Hungarian heavyweights also have the most efficient attack in the tournament, as they hit the 30-goal mark in each of their encounters and scored 162 goals in total (32.4 on average)
  • Györ need 19 more goals to become the third club after Krim and Buducnost to score 7,000 goals in the DELO EHF Champions League
  • Györ coach Ambros Martin: "Sävehof are a dangerous team, no big names, but their playing style - fast, aggressive and direct - make them so so dangerous"
  • Sävehof climbed to sixth position in group B after making an impressive comeback against Kastamonu, where the Swedish team trailed by six goals at half-time but ultimately won 28:26
  • Sävehof coach Rasmus Overby: "This is the toughest away game that we will be playing. They are the best handball team in Europe with incredible players in all positions; it will be a lot to deal with for us"
  • Jamina Roberts, who netted four times in that game, increased her tally to 37 goals and is one goal behind Dortmund's Alina Grijseels, who tops the competition’s scoring chart

Krim Mercator Ljubljana (SVK) vs Vipers Kristiansand (NOR)
Saturday 30 October, 18:00 CEST, live on EHFTV

  • with four points from five matches, title holder Vipers are fifth ranked in group B — and they have lost both away encounters so far
  • in turn, Krim are yet to earn their first points at home this season, after they dropped to seventh position with just two points
  • after the defeat at Odense in round 5, Krim’s head coach Uros Bregar stepped down and was replaced by his former assistant Nataliya Derepasko
  • Derepasko: "All we need to build on is to play more confidently in attack and try to collaborate in defence. Vipers were last year's winners; they are strong in all playing positions"
  • Vipers’ leader Nora Mørk, who scored nine goals against CSKA, climbed to third position in the tournament’s scoring list with now 36 goals total
  • the Norwegian team won five of six previous encounters with Krim, including both games in last season’s group stage (27:26; 37:30). Krim’s only win dates to February 2016 —30:20 in the Cup Winners’ Cup second-leg quarter-final
20211029 Aardahl Odense Quote
Both teams are strong and have high ambitions. I think this will be a key game for both teams as far as placement in the group is concerned. This is going to be a close race to the finish, and details will decide who is going to win in the end
Maren Aardahl
Odense Håndbold line player on Sunday's MOTW against CSKA

MOTW: CSKA (RUS) vs Odense Håndbold (DEN)
Sunday 31 October, 16:00 CET, live on EHFTV

  • the sides are level on six points, with Odense occupying third place thanks to a better goal difference, and CSKA sitting in fourth
  • last season, they met in the group stage and exchanged home victories: 26:25 at Odense; 27:23 at CSKA
  • the Russian team have won both home matches in the season so far, while their Danish rivals claimed victories in both away encounters
  • Odense’s Dione Housheer is the fourth top scorer of the current competition with 33 goals; CSKA’s top scorer, Karina Sabirova, has 20 goals
  • Kathrine Heindahl, who moved from Odense to CSKA in 2020, will play against her former team
  • Heindahl: "The game against Odense will be really crucial in our group. Odense have shown a high level in both the Danish league and in the Champions League so it will be a tough game with a lot of speed. We need to continue our high level from the last two weeks to take the two points"

Kastamonu Belediyesi GSK (TUR) vs Metz Handball (FRA)
Sunday 31 October, 16:00 CET, live on EHFTV

  • Metz ended their three-match winning run last Saturday when they lost at home against Györ. The French team stay second in the group with six points and a game in hand
  • Kastamonu’s fifth straight defeat in the Champions League 2021/22 was particularly frustrating, as the Turkish side led 17:11 at the break but could not keep their advantage
  • Metz boast the most effective defence in group B, with 25 goals against on average, while Kastamonu have the least effective defence in the whole competition, as they conceded 156 goals in five encounters
  • this week, the French team maintained their perfect record in the domestic league, claiming their sixth straight win in style — 36:21 against Paris 92 on Wednesday
  • the teams have never met each other in European club competitions

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