Kudlacz-Gloc make Leipzig jump for joy
For the first time ever in 24 years of the Women’s EHF Champions League, record winners Hypo Niederösterreich are not part of the group matches.
The Austrian side gave a clear lead from their hands in the final of the qualification tournament in San Sebastian against HC Leipzig.
HC Leipzig will proceed to Group B facing Vardar, Astrakhanochka and FTC Rail Cargo Hungaria in the group matches, Hypo will continue in the third qualification round of the EHF Cup like third ranked tournament hosts Bera Bera. Fourth ranked side Gomel will enter the EHF Cup one round earlier.
Gorica Acimovic again was Hypo’s top scorer. After eight goals in the semi-final against Bera Bera on Friday, she netted in 14 (!) goals against Leipzig.
On the other side, Karolina Kudlacz-Gloc added nine goals to her tally after seven on Friday.
Leipzig are part of the group matches for the ninth time. The German league thus is represented by two teams including champions Thüringer HC.
After 23 constant participations in the group matches, Hypo miss this stage for the first time since the implementation of the Champions league in 1993.
Top scorers of the placement match were Iryna Dronova (Gomel/5 goals) and Marta Lopez Herrero (Bera Bera/8)
HC Leipzig (GER) vs Hypo Niederösterreich (AUT) 32:30 (15:16)
They were dancing on court and jumping for joy like two years ago: After beating FTC after extra-time and penalty shoot-out in 2014 in the final of the qualification tournament, this time the German cup winners turned an intermediate five goals deficit against Hypo to clinched their ninth berth ever for the group matches.
Catching up already at the end of the first half
After an equal start, Leipzig missed the precision in attack and the cleverness in defence. Like in their semi-final against Bera Bera, Hypo played full of confidence and again backed by the goals of Gorica Acimovic. Within eight minutes in the middle of the first half, Hypo forged ahead from 5:3 to 10:5, while Leipzig lacked all means in attack. Until the score of 15:10 the five goal margin remained the same, before Leipzig managed to find their pace and rhythm again, scoring a 5:1 series to be back at the 15:16 at the break.
Acimovic is on fire
With the first attack of the second half, Karolina Kudlacz-Gloc, who had a weak performance in the first 30 minutes, even levelled the result, but instead of turning the match around at that point already, Leipzig caused two mistakes, punished by Acimovic again, who was on eight goals already after only 34 minutes. Besides, French new arrival Audrey Bruneau took the responsibility by scoring important goals.
The captain steers the HCL ship
After being down by four goals again at 19:23, the German record champions tried everything, and was backed by their captain Kudlacz-Gloc, who rose like Phoenix compared to the first half. Exactly at the middle of the second half Leipzig had equalized for the first time after the 2:2 in minute four.
Private shooting duel
After strong HCL right back Anne Hubinger (seven goals in total) netted in for the sixth time for the 25:25, Hypo coach Matuschowitz took his time-out. On the other hand, HCL coach Rentsch did the same after Acimovic netted in for her 12th time for the 28:27 in a match, which had become a private shooting duel of the two backs Acímovic and Kudlacz-Gloc.
And who else then the Pole could have scored for Leipzig’s first lead at 29:28 and the 31:30, when the dying minute had started. And when Hypo’s Patricia Kovacz missed her shot 30 seconds before the end, the deal was sealed.
Third place match:
HC Gomel (BLR) vs Super Amara Bera Bera (ESP) 20:28 (12:14)
Spanish champions Super Amara Bera Bera ended their short participation in the Women’s EHF Champions league - the first after a two-year break - on a winning note.
But the final third position is hardly what the team of coach Montserrat Puche had hoped for.
The hosts of qualification tournament 2 were constantly in lead after 21st minute against a team from Gomel, which for 40 minutes had clearly improved compared to their lopsided 18:29 semi-final defeat against Leipzig the day before.
Gomel’s last lead in minute 21
Bera Bera had the better started, but conceded four straight goals after their 5:2 lead to be below for the first time at 5:6. But the last advance of the Belarusian champions dates from minute 21 and the 9:8.
Boosted by the goals of Marta Lopez Herrero, the hosts took control and their first ever four goal advance at 14:10.
One Belorussian goal in 13 minutes
As Champions League debutants Gomel fought hard, they managed not to get overran until minute 37, when the score was only 17:15 in favour of the hosts.
Then, Gomel only scored once in the upcoming 13 minutes, missing an overall of 13 shots in this period, thus Bera Bera forged ahead easily to their first double figured advance at 26:16 with 13 minutes left and even added another strike on their tally to score a decisive 10:1 series.
Next opponent from Luxemburg or Romania
The number of technical mistakes on both sides was equal at the end by ten - but Bera Bera had the clearly better efficiency in attack.
In their second round qualification match in the EHF Cup in October Gomel will face the winner of the Round 1 match between Luxembourg's Dudelange and Romania's Dunarea Braila, which will be confirmed next weekend.