SUMMARY: Metz win MOTW; title holders clinch first points
Saturday saw a big day of action as round 2 of the DELO EHF Champions League got underway with six games, including the Match of the Week where Metz recorded an impressive win. The round concluded on Sunday with two games.
- on Saturday in group A: Rostov defeat CSM 30:27, FTC take 33:27 victory vs Podravka and Brest beat Esbjerg 26:23
- in group B on Saturday: Metz beat Odense 27:21 in MOTW, Györ defeat Krim 31:26, and defending title holders Vipers Kristiansand overthrow IK Sävehof 34:25
- on Sunday: CSKA defeat Kastamonu 34:27; Dortmund win over Budućnost 34:29
Round 2 of the DELO EHF Champions League has come to an end. As we usually do, here's a gallery of today's best photos. Enjoy the rest of your weekend and come back Saturday for more action!
The coaches of Budućnost and Dortmund on their teams' performances today:
I am not satisfied with the performance in defense, we received a large number of easy goals again. Borussia is running great, we knew that even after the games from last season, because we conceded 18 easy goals in the Bemax Arena. We tried to make changes in the defense: We played 6-0 and 5-1, we tried to be more aggressive and make the opponent make a mistake, but we did not succeed, because Borussia easily got a chance. We scored 29 goals and that is a good segment of our game. We could have scored more than 30 if it weren't for some missed goals, but that's not the point.
I am very happy, we did not expect three points after two games. We knew that the game would be difficult for both teams, because Buducnost BEMAX and we have young players. We found a lot of solutions in both defense and attack, we deserved this victory.
Here's the review of Borussia Dortmund's victory over Budućnost.
The final horn has sounded. Borussia Dortmund get a nice away win over Budućnost. Alina Grijseels was the star of the game, scoring almost a third of her team's total with 11 goals from 12 attempts. Dortmund jump to third place in group A, while Budućnost continue to languish in last place.
Alina Grijseels has been on fire today, scoring nine goals from ten shots. Her team Borussia currently have a four-goal lead with roughly eleven minutes to play. Will they hold on for their first CL win of the season?
While we wait for the second half to begin here's a fantastic save from Budućnost goalie Anastasija Babovic.
HALF-TIME: BUDUCNOST BEMAX VS BV BORUSSIA 09 DORTMUND 15:18
Borussia Dortmund were able to get a little distance midway in the half, but Budućnost remain in the match. Here are journalist Sergei Nikolaev's views on the game so far:
It has been a tight game in Podgorica, but Dortmund had the upper hand in the first half. Dana Bleckmann had an early impact, and then Alina Grijseels came to the fore, scoring both from open play and the seven-metre line. The game is still very open, but Budućnost should play more disciplined, as their two-minute suspensions have already resulted in several conceded goals.
Borussia Dortmund have a grown a bit of a lead in the match, and Dana Bleckmann has played her part with three goals in the first five minutes.
Some words of reflection from CSKA player Karina Sabirova:
Thanks, Kastamonu, for the game. It was important to start with the victory. In general, we coped with the task. But we had problems in defense. During the break we talked to the girls, and then showed our real game. I’m grateful to the girls and to the team for their support. I’m not in my best shape and I have a lot of work to do.
Now a look into our final match of the round, Budućnost BEMAX vs BV Borussia 09 Dortmund. Both teams are looking for their first win in the campaign. Dortmund had a last-second save to secure a draw against FTC Rail-Cargo Hungaria, while Budućnost lost 22:29 to Podravka Vegeta. Dortmund’s run of form includes three victories in the start of their domestic league, the latest a 34:26 victory over Zwickau. Budućnost are seeking their 150th win in the Champions League, second only to Györ's 177.
Kastamonu gave a good fight, but in the end CSKA were too much to handle and cruised to a comfortable seven-goal victory. Ana Gros scored ten goals in the match, a testament to what she can do at such a high level of play.
CSKA now have their first win with just one match under their belt compared to the rest of the group who have played two games; Kastamonu are still on the search for their first point in Champions League play.
The second half is a prime example of a see-saw battle. CSKA came out with a vengeance and increased the lead to four goals. However, three sloppy possessions in a row allow Kastamonu to cut the deficit back to one, forcing CSKA coach Florentin Pera to call a timeout. It seems to have worked, as CSKA have now restored their four-goal lead.
And of course, Ana Gros had something to do with it as well.
HALF-TIME: CSKA VS. KASTAMONU BELEDIYESI GSK 16:15
Kastamonu held the lead for a considerable amount of the first half, but CSKA managed to grab the lead and then again right before the halftime break. Here's journalist Adrian Costeiu with his thoughts on the match so far:
Renowned for his defensive acumen, coach Florentin Pera did not instill exactly the nous he wanted at CSKA. Conceding 15 goals against a rookie in the DELO EHF Champions League like Kastamonu will surely have the Romanian coach up in arms after the first half.
Yet CSKA are still leading at the break and why the Russian champions brought in right back Ana Gros is crystal clear. The reigning top goal scorer of the DELO EHF Champions League scored five times in the first half to steer her team just ahead. But the game is not done.
The transfer of Ana Gros to CSKA Moscow was one of the biggest transfers this summer, and she has just scored the first of certainly many CL goals with her new club.
We're moments away from the start of our match, so enjoy a few pictures of the teams' warm-up.
CSKA were in Kastamonu’s position last year, a team new to the challenge of the DELO EHF Champions League. Nevertheless, they were able to reach the DELO EHF Final4 in their maiden voyage. They are eager to gain their first points in the competition, especially after last week’s postponement of the match against Metz. In the meantime they won their Russian league match against Kuban 34:28.
Kastamonu are looking to reverse their fortunes after a six-goal loss to Odense, 25:31 in round 1. The team got reinforcements during the summer with four Montenegrin players, including talisman Jovanka Radičević. Duplicating CSKA’s success may be considered out of reach by some analysts, but the club are keen to make a run in their first season in the group phase.
Welcome back! Sunday’s slate of matches of round 2 in the DELO EHF Champions League has just two matches on the schedule, but that does not mean less excitement. Playing today are:
CSKA vs Kastamonu Belediyesi GSK
Buducnost BEMAX vs BV Borussia Dortmund 09
Tune into EHFTV to watch matches or follow them on our live ticker!
That brings us to the end of our first day of DELO EHF Champions League round 2 coverage. Be sure to join us tomorrow right here on the live blog and on EHFTV.com as the round continues with two exciting clashes:
- 14:00 CEST CSKA vs Kastamonu Belediyesi
- 16:00 CEST Buducnost vs BV Borussia 09 Dortmund
Time for a recap of the last three matches on this super Saturday of DELO EHF Champions League action. Read all about the wins for Vipers, Brest and Györ below!
No matter which side you're cheering for, it's great to see two world-class players in action together. Enjoy this spectacular combination from new Vipers arrival Isabelle Gullden and Nora Mørk.
As we wrap up today's matches, it's time to have your say — which team impressed you the most today? Vote in our poll below!
I think we showed a really different face today and I am glad about what we did, even though we did not win this game — but we were better. I think this is a good point — if we become better and better after each game. If you give the opportunity to punish you, they [Györ] take the chance and I think we made too many turnovers and missed important shots to come closer and take the lead. But Györ is Györ — it's a tough opponent. We are building up this team; step by step we are getting better. We really have to keep up and believe that next game will be much better. We have to keep working so that soon a victory will appear.
To finally play a Champions League game in Aquarama was amazing. Despite us only being allowed to have 50 per cent capacity the atmosphere was great and I could really feel the support from our fans.
Sävehof are a good team. In our preparations we focused on running back in defence and to always be switched on. We knew that they play with a lot of pace and pressure.
Krim can be proud of their fight but it's a disappointing defeat nonetheless, as Györ take their points tally to four with their second win in two games. For Krim it is the second defeat and the Slovenian side therefore remain on zero points.
It was a huge game from Györ's powerful back court, with Veronica Kristiansen and Eun Hee Ryu striking seven times each.
What a win for Vipers! We certainly saw elements of what took them to last season's title today, as the Norwegian side earn their first points of the season with a commanding victory. Nora Mørk was the clear star of the game, with a huge 12 goals.
The 2020/21 vice-champions get their first two points on the table as they secure a victory on the home court. Although they lost some big stars over the summer, including the top scorer of last season, Ana Gros, it's clear Brest are a force in the current season given their performance today.
We are approaching the final minutes in the last of Saturday's matches, and Brest, Vipers and Györ are still holding strong with the leads in their respective clashes.
Brest have the biggest reason for caution, with Esbjerg four goals behind, 24:20, while Vipers and Györ are cruising to the final whistle as the Hungarian side lead Krim 31:25 and the defending champions have a 33:24 advantage over Sävehof.
It's looking as though Krim's dream of ending a long run of losses against Györ will not be fulfilled today, as the Slovenian side find themselves behind by three goals, 25:22, inside the last 15 minutes — but nothing is certain until the final whistle and even Györ can surely be upset late in the game.
In Norway, Nora Mørk is having a blinder with eight goals so far for reigning title holders Vipers as they hold the lead over Sävehof, 26:22.
In France, Brest have extended their advantage over Team Esbjerg, with a seven-goal distance in their favour, 21:14. The statistics tell the story, with Brest clearly out-attacking their rivals as they record a far higher shooting and attacking accuracy.
HALF-TIME: KRIM VS GYÖR 12:13
Krim keep it close right to half-time and give themselves the best possible chance for an upset of the Hungarian powerhouse. Györ coach Ambros Martin has not hesitated to use the almost full depth of his squad, with only two court players yet to take a shot after 30 minutes. Krim have profited most from two experienced stars in their ranks, with goalkeeper Barbara Arenhart taking a save rate of 43 per cent into the break and Allison Pineau having scored four goals.
Our journalist Sergey Nikolaev weighs in:
It was a one-way traffic early in the game as Györ led 6:1, yet Krim should be given a credit for fighting back into the game. The Slovenian side have lost the 14 most recent duels with the Hungarian powerhouse, but now it looks like they have a chance to end this unlucky run.
HALF-TIME: VIPERS VS SÄVEHOF 15:11
Vipers hold a comfortable cushion at the break in their regional derby against IK Sävehof. For both sides, the back courts are shining, with Nora Mørk and Ragnhild Dahl leading Vipers' attack for a combined seven goals and a great performance from new arrival Nerea Pena.
Some thoughts from journalist Sergey Nikolaev:
In the Nordic derby, defending champions Vipers Kristiansand have a good chance to claim their first win in the new season. Ragnhild Dahl leads their attack again, scoring four goals so far, and the gap between the teams could have been bigger if Sävehof's goalkeeper Wilma Kroon had not boasted a 43 per cent save rate in the first half.
HALF-TIME: BREST VS ESBJERG 13:9
After a close opening 20 minutes, Brest have started to show their superior strength against the Danish side. Can they keep it up and grab their first win of the season? Our journalist Adrian Costeiu thinks the momentum is on their side:
With plenty of firepower at their disposal, Team Esbjerg are constantly underperforming in attack this season. In the first game, they scored only 22 goals against CSM Bucuresti — enough for a narrow win. This time around, the Danish side scored nine times in the first half, for a meagre 36% attacking efficiency.
They still look a tad short of depth, with only 13 players on their team sheet. The MVP of last season’s DELO EHF FINAL4, Henny Reistad, scored four times, with five other players netting one time each. This is what is really plaguing Esbjerg, as they are now trailing Brest, who are impressively good for their third competitive game under new coach Pablo Morel in all competitions.
Krim have fought their way back against Györ and we now see a tight game in Slovenia, with the Hungarian team just holding on at 11:10 late in the first half. Allison Pineau has been a driving force for Krim, with three goals, while on Györ's side Veronica Kristiansen has notched up four goals and Eun Hee Ryu is proving she is settling in at her new club just fine with three goals.
2019 World Championship All-star Team line player and recent Olympic semi-finalists Linn Blohm has taken her first steps on the Champions League court for Györ, after missing their round 1 fixture due to injury.
As the second lot of matches on Saturday's programme get underway, it's three of last season's semi-finalists on top early on. Györ, Brest and Vipers all have the upper hand in their respective encounters, with the Hungarian side leading Krim 7:3 in the 13th minute, Vipers in front of Sävehof 8:5 and Brest with a narrow edge over Esbjerg, 7:6.
And what do these matches mean to the sides and their points? Of the three sides with the early lead, only Györ are fighting for their second win, as both Brest and Vipers were defeated in their season openers — Brest by Rostov-Don, and Vipers in the MOTW by Györ.
Krim lost their round 1 clash to IK Sävehof, which even Swedish back Jamina Roberts suggested was something of a surprise for her side. Can Sävehof turn the Scandinavian derby around and take another two points? Don't forget Vipers had a clear lead against Györ in the opening stages of the first half last weekend — will they suffer the same fate as Podravka earlier today?
Esbjerg took a win in their season opener and it was one of the most thrilling of the opening round, as they defeated CSM by one goal. Should they be able to upset the French side at home, it will prove the Danish side are one to watch out for in the 2021/22 season. Although they still miss 2019 World Championship MVP Estavana Polman, they are clearly benefitting from the arrival of DELO EHF FINAL4 2021 MVP Henny Reistad.
Super Saturday continues in 10 minutes with three clashes throwing off at 18:00 CEST:
- Krim vs Györ
- Brest vs Esbjerg
- Vipers vs Sävehof
Before we switch focus to the next three matches, read all about how the day has unfolded so far in the reviews below.
Metz had a good plan and success with it. It was hard for us to get through the defence but it is from matches like this that we learn a lot. When we are playing against some of the best teams in the world we need to be there 100 per cent but we weren’t today.
FTC celebrate their first win of the DELO EHF Champions League season and move their tally up to three points as they earn a clear result against Podravka. For the Croatian team, it is the first defeat in 2021/22 and they stay on two points on the group A table.
Rostov secure the two points but allow CSM to decrease the distance significantly after a lead as clear as nine goals with just eight minutes to the buzzer. Nevertheless, it's a second victory for the Russian side in the DELO EHF Champions League 2021/22, following their two-goal win against the 2020/21 runners-up Brest Bretagne.
For CSM it is a second straight loss, after a devastating one-goal defeat to Esbjerg in round 1. See all the group A standings here.
Metz clinch their first points of the season, after a postponement to their round 1 game, as they overthrow Odense in the Match of the Week. For Odense it is the first loss, as they enjoyed a commanding win over Kastamonu in the opening round.
While it was a top performance all round, the French side were led by some standouts in the form of Ivana Kapitanovic (10 saves), Meline Nocandy (seven goals), Bruna De Paula (six) and Astride N'gouan (five). For her key role, Nocandy earns the Player of the Match award.
Over in Erd, we are seeing that our journalist Adrian Costeiu seems to be dead on with his caution at half-time: "Bear in mind that Podravka had an outstanding first half in the first round, outscoring Buducnost 22:12 at half-time, only to put six goals past the Montenegrin side in the second part of the game."
It seems Podravka could not maintain their form after their confident opening half, as FTC are comfortably in front, 29:23, with just under 10 minutes to play. Following their disappointing draw in round 1, where FTC had the chance to take the win in the dying seconds, the Hungarian side will be thrilled to collect their first two points of the season — if they can keep their advantage to the final whistle.
In the MOTW, Metz are holding steady in front but Odense are hot on their heels. The French side have the advantage at 22:19 in the 48th minute.
Looking to the match stats, the key differences are attacking and shooting percentages — Metz are attacking at 63 per cent to Odense's 48 per cent, while the French side have shot at 71 per cent to the Danish team's 53 per cent.
The situation in Bucharest has really unravelled for the home side, with Rostov now leading CSM 23:11 with 16 minutes on the clock.
A huge contributor to that score line has been Rostov keeper Anastasiia Lagina, who holds an overall save rate of 55 per cent and has only become even more difficult for CSM to beat in the second period, with an unbelievable rate of 67 per cent since the break.
Is this match more indicative of Rostov's power this season or CSM's difficulties? CSM would need a miracle to turn this result around now, and are looking at their second straight defeat to open the season, while Rostov are set to move up to two wins from two games in 2021/22.
We're minutes from the starting whistle for the second half in Odense, Erd and Bucharest, with all three home sides looking to put on a stronger performance in the second half. While Odense and CSM are chasing their opponents Metz and Rostov, FTC are level with Podravka after trailing in the first period and will hope to continue with the momentum.
Our journalist Sergey Nikolaev shares his thoughts on the opening half of MOTW:
As expected, it has been a very tight match so far. While Odense had a slight advantage for most of the first half, Metz enjoyed better shot efficiency, and Bruna De Paula's impact helped the visitors to build up a two-goal cushion.
HALF-TIME: CSM BUCURESTI VS ROSTOV-DON 9:13
CSM have eased their task for the second half by allowing no Rostov goal in the final minutes of the period, while the Romanian side struck to close the gap to a more manageable four goals. The four-goal distance is still something of a mountain to climb for CSM, and the Russian side are surely cautiously optimistic of taking the two points home with them.
Our journalist Adrian Costeiu weighs in:
CSM’s talisman Cristina Neagu might not be enjoying her brightest patch of form. After she scored only two goals in the loss against Team Esbjerg last week, 21:22, she missed her first three shots against Rostov-Don, helping Russian goalkeeper Anastasiia Lagina to an otherworldly 66 per cent saving efficiency in the first 11 minutes. There was nothing CSM could do, as Rostov’s defence, touted to be one of the best this season, really pressured the Romanian side into making silly mistakes.
The result? Despite playing the last 10 minutes with seven players in attack, an all-in tactic by coach Adrian Vasile, CSM could not limit the damage. Rostov are cruising to the win, while the Romanian side had their worst first half in terms of goals scored since January, when they could only score nine times against future champions Vipers Kristiansand.
HALF-TIME: FTC VS PODRAVKA VEGETA 15:15
Just like CSM, FTC enjoyed a stronger end to the first half than their opponents and are rewarded with a level score line at the break. After they were the keys to Podravka's advantage, Mugoša and Milosavljevic added no further goals to their tally, while Angela Malestein contributed six for FTC in the first 30 minutes.
Journalist Adrian Costeiu shares his thoughts on the opening half:
This is still anyone’s game, but bear in mind that Podravka had an outstanding first half in the first round, outscoring Buducnost 22:12 at half-time, only to put six goals past the Montenegrin side in the second part of the game. This time around, the Croatian side’s form dipped in the last 10 minutes, after leading by as many as three goals throughout the first half.
Podravka missed plenty of shots, opening the door for FTC’s comeback. But the Hungarian champions have also been careless with the ball, yet boasting a steady hand in right wing Angela Malestein. We’re in for a tough second half in Erd.
HALF-TIME: MOTW ODENSE VS METZ 13:15
A strong end to the opening half sees Metz with a two-goal lead at the break in Denmark. A 38 per cent save rate from Metz goalkeeper Ivana Kapitanovic has played a key role for the French side, while in attack backs Bruna De Paula and Meline Nocandy have combined superbly with line player Astride N'gouan for a total of 10 goals from the trio.
Podravka Vegeta have grabbed the momentum against FTC and it's all driven by Dijana Mugoša and Dejana Milosavljevic, who have notched up four goals apiece.
Meanwhile in Bucharest, CSM are watching their opponents pull away further, as Rostov lead decisively at 13:7. It's an off day shooting wise for CSM, with the likes of Cristina Neagu and Carmen Martin having trouble converting their chances. New arrival and title winner from 2020/21 with Vipers, Emilie Arntzen, has been the sole salvation for the Romanian side, netting three times.
So far we have two very level games, with Odense vs Metz equal at 5:5 and FTC vs Podrava at 7:7 after 12 minutes, and a confident early lead for Rostov in Bucharest, 6:3.
Five-time title winner Eduarda Amorim is continuing proving she was a highly valuable transfer for Rostov as she leads the side together with Grace Zaadi, for a combined four of their six goals.
We are underway with round 2! Don't forget that alongside our live blog, you can stay right up to date with all the action on our EHF Champions League social media channels (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) — and be sure to follow the special stories on Instagram.
You can also follow the scores and statistics on the eurohandball.com ticker:
CSM and Rostov-Don are set for the opening whistle on a special match at 16:00 CEST, with Rostov coach Per Johansson facing his good friend and former colleague on the CSM bench, Adi Vasile.
"Adi Vasile is a great friend of mine. We spent plenty of time together. We enjoyed it a lot. I have even celebrated Easter with him and his family and learnt a lot about Romania. We will always be friends, but when the whistle is blown, for 60 minutes, we will only focus on the game. We will not be enemies, yet I want Rostov to win and he will want to beat me. He did not win against me, so this will be a motivation for him. But, after the end of the match, we will still be friends," Johansson told eurohandball.com this week.
Read the full feature interview below!
Metz are a team of experienced international players from the top shelf. We expect a tough fight against their great physique and fast feet in the duels.
Let's take a closer look at the upcoming Match of the Week, Odense vs Metz.
Here are some key facts, courtesy of our preview:
The teams met in the 2018/19 season, when they drew 19:19 in Denmark before Metz were clearly dominant in France, 41:26.
Odense have won all their matches in the 2021/22 season so far: their Champions League opener against Kastamonu last week and the first four matches in the Danish league. Metz will play their first match this Champions League season after their encounter with CSKA scheduled for last Sunday was postponed.
Both Odense and Metz are leading their domestic league with the maximum amount of points.
Odense sharpshooter Lois Abbingh will miss the match due to injury.
Welcome to the live blog coverage of round 2 of the DELO EHF Champions League! We start with a huge day of action, with six games coming up:
- MOTW Odense vs Metz
- FTC vs Podravka Vegeta
- CSM Bucuresti vs Rostov-Don
- Krim vs Györ
- Brest Bretagne vs Team Esbjerg
- Vipers Kristiansand vs IK Sävehof
Read all about round 2 in our preview below.