Motherson keeps the dream alive after important win
Close duels and important points were at stake on the final day of round five.
For Neptunes de Nantes and Motherson, there is still hope of a quarter-final place, while for Podravka, Praktiker-Vác and Fana, it is impossible to advance to the next stage in this round.
Neptunes de Nantes (FRA) vs Ikast Handbold (DEN) 28:33 (15:16)
With a pair of brilliant scorers in Nantes' Lena Grandveau and Ikast's Emma Friis with eight goals from each of them, a great goal show was on point today. Despite good performances from both teams, it was the Danes who drew the longer straw in round 5 with the result 28:33. The teams played level with each other for most of the first half, and could thus be followed from 3:3 until 15:15, before Ikast scored the 16th goal shortly before the break. The second half continued in the same way, with the teams playing side by side. However, after 42 minutes of play, Ikast started to get ahead once and for all before they could finally celebrate their fifth win of the group stage. In the next round, Nantes must face off directly against Motherson for a place in the quarter-finals.
Fana (NOR) vs Motherson Mosonmagyarovari KC (HUN) 25:28 (9:14)
After a tough first half for the home team Fana, there were slightly better rhythms to trace in the second half, where the Norwegians won the second half with two goals. Overall, however, it was the Hungarians who could celebrate taking two points, and thus keep alive the dream of a quarter-final place. The last fifteen minutes of the first half were especially decisive for the game. With a leading profile in Celine Solstad from Fana with seven goals and a dangerous player in Barbora Lancz from Motherson with seven goals as well, there were great goals to watch out for in the duel. After a tough fifth round, there are guaranteed to be good, learning experiences leading up to the sixth and final round of the group stage in the EHF European League.
HC Podravka Vegeta (CRO) vs Sola HK (NOR) 23:31 (12:10)
On top of a turbulent time for Podravka, who most recently dismissed their head coach Babic, it was assistant coach Antonio Pranjic who was at the helm in the fifth round of the group stage, which took place at home. However, it was not the successful experience that the club had probably hoped for. In the first half, things looked bright as the Croatians had to try to stop the Norwegians, who were already sure to advance to the quarter-finals. At half time, the home team was in front with 12:10. After 37 minutes of play, the game turned, and the Norwegians pulled away bit by bit – thanks, among other things, to Live Rushfeldt Diva, who delivered 7 goals during the match. When the match was over after 60 minutes, Sola could celebrate an eight-goal victory in 23:31. Although the afternoon did not end successfully for Podravka, Tina Barisic was spot on with 10 goals in the match.
We are not happy about how the game started, but after the break we got to play our handball – and started to run after. I’m so proud of the girls and the team – now we have a great chance to reach the quarterfinals for the second season in a row. This group of players really shows that anything can be possible if we work hard.
Thüringer HC (GER) vs Praktiker-Vác (HUN) 31:21 (16:8)
Although the Germans and the Hungarians were on equal terms at the start and were tied at 3:3, it did not take many attack attempts before Thüringer really began to pull away and further cement their first-place spot already earned in the previous round. With an eight-goal deficit at half-time, there was a long way to go for the Hungarians, who otherwise managed to catch up with some goals at 18:13 after 44 minutes of play. Despite a difficult match for Praktiker-Vác, there were small bright spots in the heat of the match. Among other things, Fanny Helembai became Miss 100% with three scores in three attempts. For the Germans, there were three players who managed to score five goals along the way: Vilma Holmberg Matthijs, Annika Lott and Lydia Jakubisova.
I am very happy that we have clinched first place in front of our home crowd. I am excited like crazy for the quarterfinals. Of course we still want to properly contest the last match in Paris. If someone told me before the group phase that we would have nine out of ten points after five games, I would not have believed them. The team and the defence already laid the foundation for today's victory in the first half. I think we should be very happy because every player was able to get playing time.