|15.11.2016, 16:50||◄ last page|
NEWS REPORT: There are two places up for grabs for the Women’s EHF Champions League Main Round, but the likes of CSM, Vardar, Larvik and Midtjylland are still hunting important points in the last round of the group matches
10 qualified teams, but everything to play for
The unpredictable, head-scratching, high-paced Women’s EHF Champions League Group Matches is coming to a close this week, with ten teams already through to the Main Round.
With one round still to go, the motivation is as high as ever for all teams, with two places still up for grabs in the next stage, while the already qualified sides are fighting to bring as many points with them as possible.
Two teams already out
Powerhouses such as Györ, Vardar, Buducnost all gained safe passage after the fourth round, while reigning champions CSM Bucuresti earned their berth after the emphatic comeback against Rostov-Don last Friday.
However, there have been plenty of unexpected results, with the collapse of Rostov being the biggest surprise as Jan Leslie’s side was seen as a big candidate to bring the Women’s EHF Champions League title back to Russia after a nine-year hiatus.
Only one other team has been already eliminated, after Glassverket have yet to put points on the board in their maiden season at Europe’s top table.
After Györ lost in the previous round against Midtjylland, there are no teams with a 100% record in the competition; therefore no team will start with eight points in the main round.
Everything to play for in Group D
While Buducnost, Metz and Thüringer HC are certain to progress from Group A, the so-called “Group of Death” will send Györ, FC Midtjylland and CSM Bucuresti into the Main Round.
The Romanian side have a mountain to climb if they are to fight for top of the group, as their wins against already eliminated Rostov will not count in the next phase and they remain on zero points, pending the outcome of their game against Midtjylland on Sunday.
Groups C and D will provide the teams for Group 2 of the main round, which Györ will start as big favourites, their six-point tally being the top, while Midtjylland’s win against the Hungarian team brought the Danish runners-up two points.
On the other hand, everything is on the table in Group D. Larvik and Krim have already progressed to the next round and will face off in Norway, but are still waiting for the outcome of the Team Esbjerg vs Sävehof game, which the Swedish side must win to progress.
Larvik would surely enjoy a Danish win, which corroborated with a win against Krim in the last round would propel the Norwegian side to six points, rather than the four if Sävehof were to proceed.
Krim currently sit on four points, with home wins against all teams, while Esbjerg would have two points if they were to progress.
Buducnost and Vardar top the group
The math in Group 1, which will feature the six qualified teams from Groups A and B, is simpler.
Buducnost had the chance to top the group with eight points, but will throw-off their first game with six in their account after the unexpected defeat against Metz.
This weekend’s fixture between Thüringer and Metz will be a dogfight with two key points that will be taken in the next round by the winning team. The German side are currently facing a zero-point start in the next phase, while Metz have already won four points.
The only unbeaten team in the competition, HC Vardar, will enjoy a top position in the next round with seven points if they can overcome against Leipzig, but the German team is fighting for survival and have to better Astrahanochka’s result against FTC-Rail Cargo Hungaria if they are to claim a main round berth.
The Hungarian side won the first meeting between the sides and their three point tally in the next phase could be boosted with a repeat in Russia.
TEXT: Adrian Costeiu / cor