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EHF Champions League

Powerhouses look to extend winning streaks

Adrian Costeiu / Sergey Nikolaev

We are midway through the group phase of this season’s DELO EHF Champions League and patterns have begun to emerge — and there is also no room for mistakes now.

The teams who faced off in the previous round will pick up where they left off, meeting once again in round 8.

After two consecutive defeats in the last second, CSM Bucuresti hope to inflict the first loss of the season on FTC-Rail Cargo Hungaria in group A, while Brest Bretagne Handball, Rostov-Don and Team Esbjerg look to extend their winning streaks.

In group B, Krim Mercator Ljubljana and CSKA, who split the points in a thrilling match in Moscow last round, will meet in the Match of the Week in Ljubljana, while Odense Håndbold, who boast a perfect record away from home, are looking for revenge in a Nordic derby at Vipers Kristiansand.

CSM Bucuresti (ROU) vs FTC-Rail Cargo Hungaria (HUN)
Saturday 20 November, 16:00 CET, live on EHFTV

  • when they take on the court against FTC, CSM will become only the 13th team in history to hit the 100-game milestone in the DELO EHF Champions League and the second Romanian side after SCM Ramnicu Valcea
  • the Romanian champions are in a rough patch of form, having lost three of the last four games in all competitions
  • three of CSM’s four losses in this season of the Champions League, including last week against FTC, were by a one-goal margin
  • FTC can extend their unbeaten run in the competition to nine games, a club record, provided they do not lose on Saturday
  • the Hungarian side, who are one of the two sides yet to lose a game this season, can also set their best-ever start in the competition
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Playing against FTC is always a tough battle. We are in a one week double encounter where improving details from the last game will be a major point from both teams. Looking forward for the game home, sadly with an empty hall.
Adi Vasile
CSM coach

Rostov-Don (RUS) vs HC Podravka Vegeta (CRO)
Saturday 20 November, 16:00 CET, live on EHFTV

  • the Croatian side lost by the slightest of margins one week ago on the home court, 22:23, but won only twice in the last 20 matches in the premium European competition
  • after a 37-goal outburst against Dortmund on their home court in round 5, Rostov’s attacking form has dipped, with the Russian side only mustering 41 goals in their last two games, against Esbjerg and Podravka
  • Rostov coach Per Johansson: "Podravka didn't surprise us last time, we surprised ourselves. We knew that they could be dangerous, especially at home. We were a little bit lucky that we took that two points. Now we have learned the lesson"
  • Podravka lost their last 16 away matches, with their most recent away win coming in October 2018, 28:26, against Thüringer HC
  • no other team has conceded fewer goals than Rostov in this season, who have recorded an average of 23.4 goals per game. On the other hand, Podravka scored an average of 24.4 goals per game — in a ranking of goals scored on average across the whole competition, they sit 14th out of 16 sides
  • the Croatian side won only once in five games against Rostov, but lost the two away games played against the side in Russia: 19:24 in the EHF Cup Winners’ Cup in 2014 and 24:42 in last season’s DELO EHF Champions League play-offs

Buducnost BEMAX (MNE) vs Brest Bretagne Handball (FRA)
Saturday 20 November, 18:00 CET, live on EHFTV

  • with their 25:21 win against Buducnost last week on the home court, Brest secured their first consecutive victories of the season
  • the Montenegrin side are one of the two teams that have yet to win a point midpoint in the group phase, alongside Turkish champions Kastamonu
  • Buducnost were outplayed by an average of seven goals per game this season, having the lowest attacking output of all teams in the competition, scoring at a rate of only 22.7 goals per game
  • Brest lost three of the four away games they played this season, with their only win outside France coming against CSM Bucuresti, 30:29
  • the hosts are currently on an eight-game losing streak, still waiting for the elusive 150th win, which would make them only the second team to reach that mark in the DELO EHF Champions League

Team Esbjerg (DEN) vs BV Borussia 09 Dortmund (GER)
Sunday 21 November, 16:00 CET, live on EHFTV

  • Esbjerg have been an outstanding force on home court this season, winning the three games in Denmark by a combined margin of 23 goals
  • provided they do not lose on Sunday, the Danish side will equal their best-ever unbeaten run in the DELO EHF Champions League — six games in a row
  • Dortmund’s back, Alina Grijseels, is still the top scorer of the competition, with 61 goals in the first seven games, seven more than Vipers’ right back, Nora Mørk
  • Dortmund coach André Fuhr: "Of course, we have tried to learn from the last game – but I am sure that Esbjerg have done the same. We want a good ending to the first part of our season on Sunday"
  • the German side have the second most effective attack in the competition, having scored 205 goals in seven games — an average of 29.2 goals per game
  • in two away matches played in Denmark, Dortmund lost both times, against Odense Håndbold, 27:32, in last season’s DELO EHF Champions League and against Viborg HK, 24:31, in the Women’s EHF Cup 1998/99 season
  • Esbjerg coach Jesper Jensen: "These matches where we meet an opponent twice within one week are quite fun. It is where the tactical aspect gets to flourish"
20211114 WCL CSKA Krim Gallery8

MOTW: Krim Mercator Ljubljana (SLO) vs CSKA (RUS)
Saturday 20 November, 16:00 CET, live on EHFTV

  • the reverse fixture of this clash in Moscow last Sunday, which ended with a score of 21:21, was the first draw in group B
  • goalkeepers Barbara Arenhart (Krim) and Polina Kaplina (CSKA) were the best players for their teams in that encounter
  • the sides have met three times in European club competitions, with each winning once and the game last week that ended in a stalemate
  • in Moscow, Krim claimed their first point after coach Nataliya Derepasko took over in October. The Slovenian team stay seventh placed with three points
  • in a rescheduled round 1 match on Wednesday, CSKA won 32:24 in Metz, with Ana Gros scoring 12 goals and Elena Mikhaylichenko adding eight. The victory lifted the Russian team to third place with nine points
20211114 Krim Arenhart
We showed some improvements. We were able to stay focused throughout all 60 minutes [against CSKA last round]. This is an important point for us. From the beginning we believed that we could beat all of our opponents and there was no match that we didn't believe in. But now we catch our rhythm and feel even more ready to prove that.
Barbara Arenhart
Krim goalkeeper

Vipers Kristiansand (NOR) vs Odense Håndbold (DEN)
Saturday 20 November, 18:00 CET, live on EHFTV

  • in their meeting last Sunday, Vipers won 32:27 in Denmark. It was the Norwegian team’s second win in three mutual encounters
  • the Scandinavian sides are now level on eight points, but reigning champions Vipers are ahead of Odense on goal difference
  • Vipers improved their position in group B after claiming two straight victories away from home, at Krim and Odense
  • Vipers coach Ole Gustav Gjekstad: "With a victory in this match we are in a good position before the World Championship break. To win we have to preform at a high level. Our squad is healthy and up for the challenge, and we hope to play in front of a full arena"
  • last week, Nora Mørk’s seven goals increased her tally in the competition to 54. The Norwegian back is ranked second in the scoring chart behind Dortmund’s Alina Grijseels
  • while Odense earned just two points in four home games, they have a perfect record in away encounters, having won all three of them this season
  • the Danish side need just three goals to reach a milestone of 1,000 scored in the DELO EHF Champions League

Kastamonu Belediyesi GSK (TUR) vs Györi Audi ETO KC (HUN)
Saturday 20 November, 18:00 CET, live on EHFTV

  • last Saturday in Hungary, the Hungarian powerhouse left their rivals no chance, handing them a 37:20 defeat
  • Györ maintain a perfect record with seven wins in as many matches and boast by far the most effective attack in the competition, with 34.3 goals on average per game
  • for Kastamonu, a 17-goal defeat in Györ was the biggest in their maiden season at this level. The Turkish team are still looking for their first points in the competition
  • Jovanka Radicevic, who scored 11 of 20 Kastamonu’s goals last Sunday, is now joint-fifth top scorer overall with a tally of 41 goals
  • Györ’s top scorer is now Stine Oftedal, who has 28 goals under her belt
Last week in the Györ match we did not play the game that we wanted. We lost the chances that we got. In the counter attack they punished us easily. For this game I expect from my team to play better about being aggressive in defence and play smarter on the attack. But If we fail, they will do what they did last week.
Costica Buceschi
Kastamonu coach

Metz Handball (FRA) vs IK Sävehof (SWE)
Sunday 21 November, 16:00 CET, live on EHFTV

  • second-placed Metz have won five of their seven matches in the tournament, including the game at Sävehof last Sunday, 31:28
  • now the French side have the upper hand in their mutual encounters in European club competitions, as they won three times, and Sävehof twice
  • on Wednesday, the French side lost against CSKA in a rescheduled round 1 match. Notably, Metz suffered both defeats of this season on the home court
  • in turn, their Swedish opponents are yet to claim their first points away from home, as they have lost all three of those matches so far
  • the Swedish team have the least effective defence in the whole competition, conceding 32.3 goals on average
  • Jamina Roberts, who has scored 53 of 188 (28 per cent) Sävehof’s goals in the tournament, is ranked third on the scoring chart
20211024 Savehof (1)
It’s going to be incredibly tough to play against them in France directly after they lost by eight goals against CSKA. As a team, we’ll try to deal with the pressure from Metz, and afterwards we want to be able to look each other in the eyes and be assured that we did everything we could.
Rasmus Overby
Sävehof coach

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