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EHF Champions League

Nordic MOTW clash to feature 13 fresh EURO winners

Adrian Costeiu / Sergey Nikolaev

In the DELO EHF Champions League, group A is back with the Match of the Week featuring two Nordic sides with different fortunes: Unbeaten Vipers Kristiansand will face a plucky Team Esbjerg, who are currently on a seven-game winless streak.

Elsewhere, CSM Bucuresti are looking to get back on the winning track at FTC’s expense, while Rostov-Don’s unbeaten streak will be threatened by Metz, who have been flawless on the home court since 2017.

Group B features another French-Russian duel, as Brest will try to extend their four-game winning run and take revenge on CSKA in Moscow, while Györ are hoping to consolidate their leading position in the match against the last-placed Valcea.

MOTW: Vipers Kristiansand (NOR) vs Team Esbjerg (DEN)
Saturday 9 January, 18:00 CET, live on EHFTV.com

  • 13 EHF EURO 2020 champions will be on the court in the Match of the Week, as Vipers feature eight Norwegian gold medalists, while Esbjerg have five in their roster
  • this will be Vipers’ first game in the DELO EHF Champions League since 18 October, when they drew 27:27 against Esbjerg
  • Esbjerg are on a record seven-game winless streak, as their last victory came in round 1 – 33:26 against Bietigheim
  • Esbjerg will still be without back Estavana Polman, who suffered a knee injury in September
  • Vipers have never won against Esbjerg, drawing once and losing two games in 2020 against their Danish counterparts

FTC-Rail Cargo Hungaria (HUN) vs CSM Bucuresti (ROU)
Saturday 9 January, 16:00 CET, live on EHFTV.com

  • CSM were winless in their last two games – a draw against Krim, 22:22, and a loss against Rostov-Don, 27:22, both on the home court
  • FTC won three of the last four games in the DELO EHF Champions League, climbing to fourth place in the group
  • the Romanian side will miss backs Alexandrina Cabral-Barbosa and Bianca Bazaliu as well as line player Dragana Cvijic due to injury
  • conceding an average of only 24.75 goals per game, CSM have the most effective defence in the group, and also the sixth-best attack, scoring 26.5 goals on average
  • CSM have won six of the mutual seven meetings between the two sides, with FTC’s only victory coming at home in January 2020, 33:23

SG BBM Bietigheim (GER) vs RK Krim Mercator (SLO)
Sunday 10 January, 14:00 CET, live on EHFTV.com

  • with one win and two draws, Krim are in sixth place in the standings, with four points – two more than the last-placed Bietigheim, as the two sides meet for a pivotal game
  • Krim’s one win this season came in the reverse fixture between the two sides, 28:26 – the only time the Slovenian champions and Bietigheim have met in European competitions
  • statistically, the two teams have the least efficient defence in the group, as Krim have conceded an average 27.5 goals per game, while Bietigheim leaked an average of 30.75
  • Bietigheim will once again rely on their right back Julia Maidhof, who has scored 42 goals in eight games in the DELO EHF Champions League, placing her joint-fourth in the top scorer standings

Metz Handball (FRA) vs Rostov-Don (RUS)
Sunday 10 January, 16:00 CET, live on EHFTV.com

  • Rostov, one of the three undefeated teams in the competition, lead the group standings, with six wins and one draw in seven games
  • Metz are unbeaten in their last 22 home games, winning 20 and drawing two. Their last loss on their court came in February 2017
  • French playmaker Grace Zaadi will make her comeback in Metz Arena, after leaving the French side for Rostov following 10 seasons
  • provided that Team Esbjerg and Bietigheim lose this round, Rostov-Don will progress to the next phase of the competition with a win
  • the Russian side are on a five-game winning streak – only four games shy of their best-ever run in the DELO EHF Champions League, set between October 2015 and February 2016
  • Metz won seven of 10 previous games between the two teams, including all five played on their home court

CSKA (RUS) vs Brest Bretagne Handball (FRA)
Saturday 9 January, 16:00 CET, live on EHFTV.com

  • CSKA are third-placed with 11 points after seven games, while Brest occupy second position with 14 points after nine matches
  • in the reverse fixture in Brest, the Russian side snatched a two-goal victory, 30:28. It was the French team’s only defeat in the current competition and was followed by an ongoing four-match winning run
  • CSKA also lost only once, 26:25 at Odense
  • Brest have scored the most goals in the current competition (272) and Ana Gros leads the individual scoring chart with 67 goals
  • five Brest players won the silver medal with the France team at the EHF EURO 2020
  • on Wednesday, CSKA lost against Astrakhanochka 24:22 in the Russian Cup quarter-final, while Brest claimed an impressive victory against fellow Metz Handball in the French league, 30:19

Odense Håndbold (DEN) vs HC Podravka Vegeta (CRO)
Saturday 9 January, 16:00 CET, live on EHFTV.com

  • Odense, who have lost three of their last four matches in the competition this season, are fourth-placed in the group with 10 points after nine games
  • seventh-placed Podravka have just two points and are on a five-game losing run
  • right back Dejana Milosavljevic was the only Podravka player in the Croatia squad that sensationally won bronze at the EHF EURO 2020
  • in late December, Odense signed Denmark’s top scorer at the EHF EURO, Mia Rej, who joined from Kobenhavn Håndbold with immediate effect and is expected to replace the injured Helena Elver
  • it was Elver who was Odense’s top scorer in the reverse fixture at Podravka, as her five goals helped the Danish side to claim an emphatic 33:17 victory

Buducnost (MNE) vs BV Borussia 09 Dortmund (GER)
Saturday 9 January, 18:00 CET, live on EHFTV.com

  • in the reverse fixture in October, Buducnost claimed a 28:26 win at Dortmund; it was the Montenegrin team’s first victory in the current competition
  • with five points after seven matches, Buducnost are fifth-placed in the table
  • Dortmund, who are on a four-match losing run and have only two points, are ranked seventh in the group
  • the German side’s only victory was claimed away from home – 26:25 at Podravka
  • in their previous match against Györ, Buducnost became the first team to score 7,000 goals in the DELO EHF Champions League. They now count 7,023 goals overall

SCM Ramnicu Valcea (ROU) vs Györi Audi ETO KC (HUN)
Sunday 10 January, 16:00 CET, live on EHFTV.com

  • Györ are the only unbeaten team in group B, while Valcea are the only side in the whole competition with zero points
  • the Hungarian side boast a 45-game unbeaten run in the competition
  • in the reverse fixture, Estelle Nze Minko’s 10 goals helped the Hungarian side to a 38:31 victory
  • Nze Minko is the joint second top scorer of the current competition, with 43 goals; her teammate Stine Oftedal is ninth in the scorers’ list, with 40
  • eight Györ players won medals at the EHF EURO 2020: Silje Solberg, Stine Oftedal, Veronica Kristiansen and Kari Brattset earned gold with Norway, while Amandine Leynaud, Laura Glauser, Estelle Nze Minko and Beatrice Edwige took silver with France

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