Rapid seal dramatic point; Esbjerg write history against Vipers
Big games require big performances in the EHF Champions League Women and that is exactly what Team Esbjerg produced on Saturday evening, clinching a huge win for their season, 38:37, against Vipers Kristiansand.
In the Match of the Week, FTC led by as many as six goals, but only mustered a draw against Rapid, 24:24, after an exciting comeback from the Romanian side.
- Andrea Lekic was named the Player of the Match of the Week, after she scored six goals against Rapid, but could not prevent a comeback from the Romanian side, which sealed a crucial point in the group
- Vipers’ defence was totally outplayed, as the Norwegian powerhouse tied their record for the most goals conceded in an EHF Champions League match, 38, set against Metz, in October 2019
- for the first time in their history in the EHF Champions League Women, German champions SG BBM Bietigheim have started a season with four wins in a row, after their 34:30 win against Brest Bretagne Handball
- in their 42:26 win against Zaglebie Lubin, Metz Handball tied their best-ever attacking performance in the European premium competition, set against Vardar in March 2017, when they also scored 42 goals
- the 14-goal performance from Bietigheim’s Karolina Kudlacz-Gloc propelled the Polish back to the top of the goal scorer standings with 31 goals, four more than Metz’s Chloe Valentini, who is second, while Vipers’ right back Anna Vyakhireva is third, with 26 goals
A 6:1 run between the 43rd and the 51st minutes was instrumental for SG BBM Bietigheim to clinch their fourth win in a row. Thanks to their 34:30 victory against Brest Bretagne Handball, the German champions have their best-ever start in the EHF Champions League Women. 38-year-old back, Karolina Kudlacz-Gloc had her best-ever outing in her career in the European premium competition, scoring 14 goals from 15 shots, to bring her overall tally this season to 31 goals. An outstanding performance for a player who is now playing in her 15th season in the competition.
It was a very intense game. After the timeout in the second half, we came back into the game and continued to fight. For me this was the toughest game in the Champions League so far. Our team achieved the sensation with a lot of passion and a will to win.
When Odense started the match with a 6:0 lead, it looked like it was game over for DVSC Schaeffler, but the Hungarian side bounced back in style and managed to close the gap to three goals at the break. With Maren Aardahl and Elma Halilcevic combining for 13 goals, Odense kept the pressure up and eventually sealed a 33:30 win. The victory added two more points to their tally, as they have bounced back from their first round loss against CSM Bucuresti, to extend their winning streak to three matches.
It was really fun to be pusheded in a different way. I think we fought very hard and gave everything out on the pitch, so I am happy for the victory and the way we responded.
With 19 minutes left in the match, FTC-Rail Cargo Hungaria led by six goals, 20:14, and looked ready to cruise to their first win of the season. However, in those remaining 19 minutes the Hungarian side scored only four times, as their attack totally collapsed, with Rapid punching on to try and mount an exciting comeback. Three times they failed in crunch time, when they were poised to take the lead, as goalkeeper Kinga Janurik worked wonders in one-on-one situations, helping her side to seal a point eventually, 24:24. For FTC, which were already under big pressure, it was their first point, but they are still two points behind Rapid, who are slowly emerging after a weak start of the season
The first half of the game didn’t go as it should have but luckily we were able to come back in the second half. This draw definitely feels like a win for us, as it is always hard to play away games. Our souls and the team spirit needed this one point to get our confidence back.
Former Vipers players, Nora Mørk and Henny Reistad returned to the Aquarama Kristiansand as opponents this time and produced a huge game, as they combined for 17 goals between them, to add more intrigue to this very balanced group. After Esbjerg’s 38:37 win, reigning champions Vipers, who have won the last three titles, have now conceded as many losses after four rounds as they did in the entire group phase last season. This is despite, right back Anna Vyakhireva delivering an outstanding performance, with a 16-goal outing on Saturday evening.
We did a much better job in defence in the second half, but Team Esbjerg did great in the first half. I think we have to build on this, though. We were five-six goals down and managed to claw our way back. We were there at the end of the match, and that shows the mentality of our players.
Previously, Metz had never scored 22 goals in the first half of a match in the EHF Champions League Women, but against Zaglebie Lubin, they were virtually flawless on both sides of the ball. In attack, they had a 78% shooting efficiency, while on defence, goalkeeper Camille Depuiset had seven saves, for a 41% saving efficiency. The gap grew even bigger in the second half, as Metz scored 42 goals, tying the best attacking performance in history for the French side, while Zaglebie conceded their fourth loss in a row.