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07.04.2017, 08:00◄ last page     


QUARTER-FINAL PREVIEW: Metz are looking to continue their run of strong home performances on Sunday, in the first leg of their quarter-final tie against Hungarian powerhouse Györ
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Metz feel no pressure before first leg against Györ

For the first time, Metz Handball have reached the quarter-final of the Women’s EHF Champions League. But they're about to face Györi Audi ETO KC, a club that won the competition in the 2013/14 and 2012/13 seasons. Györ have also made it their goal is to reach the FINAL4 this season.

  • Metz have made it to the quarter-final for the first time ever.
  • Györ have beaten Metz in each of the last five Champions League encounters between the two teams.
  • Metz played well at home this season- they have defeated likes of Vardar and Buducnost.

QUARTER-FINAL, FIRST LEG

Metz Handball (FRA) vs Györi Audi ETO KC (HUN)
Sunday 9 April, 17:00 hrs local time, live on ehfTV.com.

Given Györ’s track record, Metz wouldn’t seem to have much of a chance to make it to Budapest. However, coach Emmanuel Mayonnade feels relatively confident.

“The pressure will be on them, and they are sure have watched our large win against Vardar Skopje.

“This game gave us confidence but I think it also acted as a warning for our opponents.

“Anyone who comes to Metz will be in danger of losing” he said.

Metz strong at home

Indeed, Metz have been one of the strongest teams at home this season. Vardar were smashed to pieces in Metz 42:28. 2015 winners Buducnost had a similar fate (28:25), as did Thüringer HC (25:18). The only team who came home from Metz with a victory were FTC-Rail Cargo Hungaria (28:25). However, that was at the beginning of the season, and it seems like the Metz are now cruising at full speed, following Ana Gros' trail.

With 70 goals scored, the Slovenian right back is currently the seventh highest scorer in the competition. Interestingly, she played with Györ for two years in the past. While she thinks that the Hungarian side are favourites, she's confident Metz will cause them some trouble:

“This will be very tough, for sure, Györ is the best team in Europe in my opinion.

“But this confrontation is only two games, and the key will be to win at home.

“If we do, then anything's possible in the return leg.

“The key for us will be win by as much as possible in Metz” she said.

Györ wary of Metz

In Hungary, the mood is cautious, because they know that a FINAL4 ticket will not be given away easily by Metz- they must fight for it.

“Metz might be newcomer at this level, but they've shown this season that they were able to beat everyone at home.

“Beating Vardar and Buducnost was no accident, there's quality in every position and they have made a lot of progress lately.

“They are, in my opinion, stronger than the team we met two seasons ago” said coach Ambros Martin this week.

It remains to be seen whether Metz are strong enough to defeat Györ, a team that has lost only game since the beginning of their Champions League campaign, against FC Midtjylland. The Hungarian side has beaten CSM Bucuresti (the title holders), Rostov-Don and secured a quarter-final ticket two games before the end of the main round.

The records speak in Györ's favour, since they have beaten Metz five times in as many Champions League games since 2007. But that doesn't stop the French side thinking that there is a way to create one of the biggest surprises this season.


TEXT: Kevin Domas/kc

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