Superb Vipers celebrate first Champions League title
Both finalists in the DELO EHF Champions League 2020/21 had the chance to take an historic first trophy in Budapest on Sunday, and it was Vipers Kristiansand who earned the coveted title as they dominated the 60 minutes against Brest Bretagne Handball. In the end, Vipers recorded a 34:28 victory in the ultimate match.
Vipers’ win represents the second in history for a Norwegian club, after Larvik clinched the title in 2010/11. Five Vipers players added to previous titles won in the Champions League with the victory: Nora Mørk, Heidi Løke, Katrine Lunde, Linn Jorum Sulland and Jana Knedlikova. For Mørk, Lunde and Løke, it is the fifth trophy with a third different club.
Brest Bretagne Handball (FRA) vs Vipers Kristiansand (NOR) 28:34 (14:18)
- Vipers were the worthy winners of the 2020/21 final after completely controlling the trophy match thanks to flawless attack and a stronger defensive game than their rivals
- the Norwegian team profited from a far stronger start, scoring three unanswered goals before Brest netted their first and racing ahead to a lead as clear as five goals, at 3:8 and 4:9, before the French side mounted a comeback
- led by their back court and some stylish positional attack, Brest fought back to draw level at 9:9 in the 15th minute, but they could only stay on equal footing for a few minutes before Vipers pulled away again
- as CSKA did in the semi-final, Brest had significant trouble controlling the speed of Vipers’ game, with many goals conceded on fast counter attacks and restarts. Brest also had problems in goal, with Cleopatre Darleux and Sandra Toft managing only two saves in the first 30 minutes and seven overall
- supported by saves from Lunde and with some posts hit by Brest, Vipers rapidly increased their lead in the second period, hitting a seven-goal advantage at 22:15 in the 35th minute. When they stayed in front 30:25 in the 57th minute, the match was clearly won
- Vipers veteran keeper Katrine Lunde became increasingly important as the game progressed, as she racked up eight saves in the first half and made some key stops in the critical final moments. Henny Reistad was top scorer with 12 goals and earned the MVP title for the DELO EHF FINAL4 2021
From fifth in the group to first on the podium
Many who had played it before knew that the magic of the DELO EHF FINAL4 is that it completely erases any history that occurred prior to it. The regular season does not matter when crunch time comes, and Vipers proved that with their performance this weekend.
In a season that saw them play only two games on their own court in Norway and record six wins, two draws and three losses in matches played, while three of their games had assessed results, Vipers made their way through a big mental challenge. Their group results saw them rank fifth in group A. In contrast, the other DELO EHF FINAL4 2021 participants placed first, second and third in group B.
But Vipers pulled out their best performances when it counted, stunning CSKA in the semi-final and keeping Brest on the back foot through almost the entire final. With that, the Norwegian side proved they are worthy recipients of the 2020/21 trophy.
It feels incredible. We have had a hell of a struggle this season with a lot of travelling but to be here with a win is fantastic
It was very hard today to win against Vipers. We gave a lot of energy yesterday to win against Györ