20220925 CSM Bucuresti SG BMM Bietigheim 11
EHF Champions League

Hot streaks put to test as powerhouses clash

Danijela Vekić & Adrian Costeiu

In round 4 of the EHF Champions League Women 2022/23 group phase, the Match of the Week features Odense Håndbold hosting CSM Bucuresti. The game could really make or break the season for Odense, who have lost two of their first three games and are already three points behind second place, after CSM and SG BBM Bietigheim started the season undefeated.

Elsewhere, Vipers Kristiansand, the only side to boast three wins after the first three matches, travel to Germany to face Bietigheim, who have not lost a match for 19 months, while FTC-Rail Cargo Hungaria will aim to bounce back from two consecutive losses when they meet Krim Mercator Ljubljana.

In group B, the focus is on the match between CS Rapid Bucuresti and Team Esbjerg, as the Romanian champions will have their mettle tested against a team that participated at the EHF FINAL4 2022.

GROUP A

MOTW: Odense Håndbold (DEN) vs CSM Bucuresti (ROU)
Sunday 9 October, 16:00 CEST, live on EHFTV

  • CSM are one of the five teams still unbeaten in the competition, boasting two wins and a draw in their first three matches of the season, as they hold a three-point advantage over Odense
  • if they do not lose on Sunday, CSM will record their best start in eight seasons in the EHF Champions League Women – going four matches unbeaten
  • after only 114 games, the Romanian side need only 24 goals to become the 11th team in history to hit the 3,000-goal milestone, having scored an average of 26.33 goals per game
  • the Danish side have never started Europe's top competition with three losses, and their game against CSM becomes vital for their future in the Champions League
  • Odense head coach Ulrik Kirkely: "We have been in shortage of stability in our matches so far, but we are on our way and we continue to develop our play. The physique will be very important in the match on Sunday. We believe that we have the key to solve the challenge and the key to meet the qualities that CSM Bucuresti will bring to the match"
  • Odense's goalkeepers, Martina Thörn and Althea Reinhardt, have the largest number of saves – 47 – and the best saving efficiency in the competition so far, 37 per cent
  • the Romanian side have never met Odense and have had mixed results against Danish sides in away games, winning five games, drawing one and losing three

Krim Mercator Ljubljana (SLO) vs FTC-Rail Cargo Hungaria (HUN)
Sunday 9 October, 14:00 CEST, live on EHFTV

  • FTC have lost the past two games against Bietigheim and Brest and travel to Ljubljana trying to steer clear of their worst losing run in the competition, four games in a row, which has happened five times
  • only HC Lokomotiva Zagreb, with 64 goals, have a worse attacking performance this season than FTC-Rail Cargo Hungaria, who have scored 67 goals, 24 fewer than Krim
  • Krim right wing Jovanka Radicevic needs only four goals to become the second player in the competition’s history after Anita Görbicz to hit the 1,000-goal milestone
  • Krim head coach Dragan Adzic: "We know the recipe for winning, and I believe that if we will respect it and stick to it, we will win with a good game"
  • the Slovenian champions can secure their first two-game winning streak in the EHF Champions League Women since October 2017
  • the Hungarian side have never started a season with three losses, and they need a strong result against Krim to bounce back

SG BBM Bietigheim (GER) vs Vipers Kristiansand (NOR)
Sunday 9 October, 16:00 CEST, live on EHFTV

  • Vipers are currently enjoying their best-ever start in the competition and are the only side to have taken three wins in their first three matches
  • the reigning champions have won their last nine matches in a row – their longest winning streak in the Champions League
  • provided they stay unbeaten in this match, Bietigheim will set their longest unbeaten run in Europe's top competition – four matches in a row
  • Bietigheim have the best attack in the competition, with 114 goals scored, and the best defence, with 71 goals conceded, one fewer than Vipers, as the top two defences clash in this match
  • the German side are still eyeing their 10th win in the competition, after starting the season with only seven wins in 40 games, but are still on a 59-game unbeaten run in all competitions, dating back to March 2021

Brest Bretagne Handball (FRA) vs DHK Banik Most (CZE)
Sunday 9 October, 16:00 CEST, live on EHFTV

  • having conceded 129 goals in their first three games of the season, Most have posted the worst defensive performance in the history of the EHF Champions League Women at this stage
  • Most's only win in nine matches in the EHF Champions League Women came against Krim (31:29) in the 2019/20 group phase
  • Most team captain Lucia Mikulčík: "Even if we have lost all our three matches, I can see progress in our performance. Champions League is for our very young team like a high school of handball, and from every match we are learning a lot"
  • the Czech side are experiencing their worst streak in the history of the competition after six consecutive losses
  • Brest need only 38 goals to become only the 19th team in the competition to score 2,000 goals
  • the French side have lost only two of their last 25 home matches, with one of the losses coming this season, against CSM Bucuresti
20221006 CLW Preview Rd 4

GROUP B

WHC Buducnost BEMAX (MNE) vs Metz Handball (FRA)
Saturday 8 October, 16:00 CEST, live on EHFTV

  • Metz are still unbeaten in this season's group phase, with two wins and one draw, while Buducnost lost against Team Esbjerg in round 2
  • Metz are the top defensive team in group B after conceding the fewest goals (78) in the first three rounds
  • Buducnost star Milena Raicevic is currently the second top scorer of the EHF Champions League with 25 goals scored at 59.5 per cent efficiency; Bruna de Paula is Metz's top scorer with 19 goals and is among the top five for assists in the competition
  • while the first encounter between the teams two happened in 1990, since then they have met 14 times. Buducnost have celebrated victory 10 times, most recently in 2018, while Metz were victorious four times
  • the Montenegrin side have the second-largest number of wins in the competition's history (154), while their opponents are on 82 wins
  • Metz are currently top of the French domestic championship - though they have the same number of points as Brest Bretagne

Storhamar Handball Elite (NOR) vs Kastamonu Belediyesi GSK (TUR)
Saturday 8 October, 18:00 CEST, live on EHFTV

  • the two sides have never met before
  • debutants Storhamar have celebrated victory only once this season, when they overran Lokomotiva Zagreb in round 2, and they are hoping to record their second-ever win in the Champions League
  • Kastamonu have set the record for the longest losing run in the competition (17 games)
  • Storhamar right back Maja Jakobsen is the competition's fourth top scorer with 21 goals; Croatian international Katarina Jezic leads the way for Kastamonu with the same number of goals at an 80.8 per cent efficiency
  • the Turkish side have displayed problems in defence so far. Only DHK Banik Most (129) have conceded more goals than Kastamonu (117), whose goalkeepers have made the fewest saves in the competition
  • on Wednesday evening, Storhamar lost 30:35 to Vipers Kristiansand in a high-intensity match in the Norwegian league

Györi Audi ETO KC (HUN) vs HC Lokomotiva Zagreb (CRO)
Sunday 9 October, 16:00 CEST, live on EHFTV

  • Györ's perfect start to the season ended when they suffered their first home defeat in more than seven years in Europe's top competition – losing 24:28 to Metz
  • the Hungarian champions are clear favourites against Lokomotiva
  • Lokomotiva have the youngest team in the competition with an average age of 21.7 years
  • the Croatian side have only scored 64 goals in three matches, making them the least effective attack in the competition
  • this will be the third encounter between the two. It will mark Lokomotiva's 10th match in the EHF Champions League, and the Croatian side are still searching for their first win
  • Lokomotiva beat Osijek 22:18 and remain on the top of the Croatian championship; Gyor won 25:22 in a tough match in the Hungarian league against DVSC Schaeffler
20221006 CLW Preview Rd 4 Sostaric
A match in which you play against the best players in the world is a big challenge for us. You have to be aggressive against them in defence. They will pass through you if you are too soft, and if you don't go back on defence quickly, they will run past you. You must combine all the handball game segments to play well against them.
Nenad Sostaric
Coach, HC Lokomotiva Zagreb

CS Rapid Bucuresti (ROU) vs Team Esbjerg (DEN)
Sunday 9 October, 14:00 CEST, live on EHFTV

  • Rapid Bucuresti have produced convincing performances at the start of the competition, defeating Lokomotiva and Kastamonu and drawing with Metz
  • while the two sides have never met before, the match will be a clash between the third (Kastamonu) and fourth (Rapid) most efficient attacks in the EHF Champions League Women
  • if Esjberg win, it will be their third consecutive win and it will mark a better start to the season than in 2021/22 when they finished first in group A
  • Esbjerg head coach Jesper Jensen: "For us, Rapid Bucuresti are new opponents, but it is very important for us to not underestimate them. They have international players all around the squad"
  • Rapid rely mostly on domestic power. Eliza Iulia Buceschi is the team's top scorer with 20 goals – and the following three highest scorers are also Romanian
  • Norwegian stars Nora Mørk and Henny Ella Reistad lead Esbjerg with 20 goals each, although 11 of Mørk's goals have come from the seven-metre line
  • Esbjerg beat Ringkøbing Håndbold 35:16 in the Danish league on Wednesday
20220922 CLW Round 3 Preview Rapid
A difficult game awaits us with a very good team, but we are positive because we have prepared for this match and we want to play as well as possible. We are waiting for as many supporters in the stands as possible to support us and I hope that at the end we will have a lot of reasons to be happy together.
Sorina Grozav
Left back, CS Rapid Bucuresti

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