20220106

Eyes in round 9 on Russian-Danish duels

EHF / Adrian Costeiu, Sergey Nikolaev

After a seven-week break for the Women’s IHF World Championship and the holiday period, the DELO EHF Champions League is back in action with five games this weekend.

The top two teams of group A collide on Saturday, as Rostov-Don host leaders Team Esbjerg in a pivotal match for the standings.

Group B also features a Danish-Russian clash as Odense Håndbold and CSKA, ranked fifth and fourth, respectively, will meet in Denmark.

Vipers Kristiansand vs Krim Mercator Ljubljana and IK Sävehof vs Györi Audi ETO KC have been postponed due to the COVID-19 cases at Krim and Györ. Also the match between Metz Handball and Kastamonu Belediyesi GSK will be postponed.

However, the EHF has exchanged the matches between the four teams in rounds 9 and 13, meaning that Sävehof and Vipers, whose encounter was originally scheduled for round 13, will meet on Sunday. The match between Györ and Krim remains postponed.

The initial Match of the Week, Brest Bretagne Handball vs CSM Bucuresti, was also postponed after Bucharest had announced several infections with COVID-19 in the squads.

GROUP A

FTC-Rail Cargo Hungaria (HUN) vs Buducnost BEMAX (MNE)
Saturday 8 January, 16:00 CET, live on EHFTV

  • the Hungarian champions will be looking to start 2022 with a positive result, after suffering their first defeat of the season in the last game of 2021, 21:27 against CSM Bucuresti
  • this is, nevertheless, FTC’s best start in their history of the competition, with five wins, two draws and one loss in their first eight matches
  • on the other side, Buducnost are eyeing to build upon their first win of the season, sealed in the last game of 2021, which ended a seven-game losing streak
  • the Montenegrin side has a mountain to climb if they are to progress to the next phase of the competition, being seventh-placed and five points behind BV Borussia 09 Dortmund
  • FTC and Buducnost have met 14 times: FTC won eight games, including three of the last four, with Buducnost settling for five wins; one match ended in a draw.

Rostov-Don (RUS) vs Team Esbjerg (DEN)
Saturday 8 January, 16:00 CET, live on EHFTV

  • the top two sides in Group A meet in the first match of 2022, as Esbjerg boast a one-point advantage over Rostov-Don, having lost only one game this season
  • the Danish side enjoy a three-game unbeaten run in away matches, drawing once, against FTC, and winning the last two games, against Podravka and Dortmund
  • the group leaders will extend their unbeaten streak to seven games if they do not lose on Saturday, which would mark largest unbeaten run in the CL
  • Rostov have conceded the lowest number of goals in the competition after eight games, 187 (average of 23.37 goals per game), while Esbjerg have the third lowest number of conceded goals, 195 (24.37)
  • Esbjerg have won twice in seven games against Rostov-Don, but have never secured a win in Russia, losing all three games, by an average margin of 4.3 goals per game

HC Podravka Vegeta (CRO) vs BV Borussia 09 Dortmund (GER)
Sunday 9 January, 14:00 CET, live on EHFTV

  • this could well represent Podravka’s last chance to fight for a play-off berth, after the losing their last seven games in a row
  • the Croatian side sit bottom of the group with two points, five behind Dortmund in sixth place, the last spot that earns a place in the the play-offs
  • only IK Sävehof and Kastamonu Belediyesi GSK, each with 261 conceded goals, have conceded more goals than Podravka (248) in the first eight matches of the group phase
  • Podravka’s ninth goal in the game will be their 4000th in the CL; only seven teams have previously passed this mark
  • Dortmund are without captain and top scorer (63 goals) Alina Grijseels, who broke her nose in a 33:22 defeat against SG BBM Bietigheim last Sunday

GROUP B

Odense Håndbold (DEN) vs CSKA (RUS)
Sunday 9 January, 16:00 CET, live on EHFTV

  • CSKA are ranked fourth in the group and have nine points, while Odense are fifth-placed with eight points
  • the Danish team lost three of their four home matches in the current competition, but they won three games away, including 28:21 at CSKA in the reverse fixture
  • Odense's centre back Mia Rej, who was top scorer of that game with eight goals, is sidelined with an injury she sustained at the World Championship
  • CSKA's Darya Dmitrieva, who took a break in her career last summer, is back with CSKA for the rest of the season
  • her teammate Dragana Cvijic, who joined CSKA in December, is not eligible to play in the group stage as she already played for Krim this season
  • on Wednesday, Odense dropped their first points in the Danish league this season, losing 31:27 to fellow Champions League club Esbjerg

IK Sävehof (SWE) vs Vipers Kristiansand (NOR)

Sunday 9 January, 16:00 CET, live on EHFTV

  • in the reverse fixture, Vipers had the upper hand and claimed a comfortable 34:25 win, as Nora Mørk scored 12 goals
  • title holders Vipers are on a three-match winning run in the competition. With 10 points, they are ranked third in the group
  • in contrast, Sävehof have lost three consecutive games and rank seventh with four points
  • both Nordic teams heavily rely on their top scorers, as Vipers' Nora Mørk is ranked second with 67 goals, Sävehof’s Jamina Roberts is third with 57 goals
  • Mørk and her teammate Katrine Lunde both won the world title with Norway
20220106 Sävehof Quote
It will be fun playing against the best team in Scandinavia. We will be playing with a lot of pride. The last time we met each other we performed well for 45 minutes. This time we are on our home court and we will try to keep up for as long as possible, as well as to make sure that we keep the energy level high for 60 minutes.
Rasmus Overby
IK Sävehof head coach

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