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07.02.2017, 10:35◄ last page     

TALKING POINTS: The second Women’s EHF Champions League Main Round matches saw individual masterclasses as the table standings were shaken up. Here are five things we are still talking about today.

5 things we learned from the second round

After the latest Women’s EHF Champions League Main Round matches unsettled the standings, the teams prepare for a tough fight to the end of the phase with even title-holders CSM Bucuresti facing an all-or-nothing situation.

The second round also saw some scintillating performances from unexpected places, adding to the element of surprise and increasing the suspense as the competition progresses.

The might of Görbicz is back

It had been 1,204 days since Anita Görbicz last scored 11 goals in a Women’s EHF Champions League match. That day – 20 October 2013 when she scored 11 against Thüringer – was also the last time Görbicz’s tally reached double digits; until Sunday’s away rout versus Esbjerg.

The Danish champions faced the full might of Görbicz, and were reminded the Hungarian legend still has a lethal touch at 33 years old. ‘Görbe’ is officially back; and considering how well Györ are performing, her form is only another strength to factor in on their path to Budapest.

Near-perfect Vardar cruising under Davis

Since David Davis took over, Vardar have established themselves as arguably most the convincing side in the competition. As a fusion of the most significant elements of the Spanish school, Davis’ approach has motivated and improved the team impact of a squad already full of world-class players.

Furthermore, their most recent matches – a 31:28 away win against old nemesis Buducnost, and 23:21 versus Metz – have taught us that as the season progresses, it will get harder for any side to stop their winning streak, which currently stands at seven.

Title defenders seek redemption to board the last train

It has been a rocky way to title defence for CSM so far. But with three points from the opening two matches in Group 2, the Romanian powerhouse have boosted their quarter-final chances, which were hanging by a thread just a fortnight ago.

This is what the Women’s EHF Champions League is made of. Last season no one could have predicted CSM’s rise to the top, and now, sitting just one place from the bottom, only a couple of wins can see the Romanian side escape their unfavourable position – just two points away from the group runners-up Larvik.

FTC have a gem of a keeper (not only Melinda Szikora)

Last term, it was Melinda Szikora who inspired the Budapest-based club. This season, FTC’s goalkeeping surprise is 22-year old Blanka Biro, who frustrated the German side Thüringer.

Biro earned the player of the match award by saving at 44 per cent in FTC’s eight-goal win, much to the frustration of the German side, who were put on the back foot by the Hungarian keeper early in the first half.

Larvik do not miss Mork too much

Amanda Kurtovic’s masterclass against Midtjylland (24:22) was the decisive factor of their hard-fought win. Nine-goal hero Kurtovic proved she is a world-class player with an ability to play consistently and responsibly in difficult situations – a virtue not many possess.

Furthermore, blooming Kurtovic’s heroics showed she is more than capable of filling the vacancy left by her compatriot Nora Mork at right back, and proved all doubters wrong.

TEXT: Nemanja Savic / cg

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