20220809 EHF CL Preview R1 Gyori Audi ETO KC Stine Oftedal
EHF Champions League

EHF Champions League Women is back with a bang

EHF Logo 100 European Handball Federation

With the EHF Champions League Women 2022/23 season upon us, a full eight-game schedule in round 1 of the group phase will throw-off the new competition this weekend.

On Saturday, the Match of the Week will feature reigning champions Vipers Kristiansand hosting Brest Bretagne Handball in a rematch of the final from the 2020/21 season.

Romanian champions CS Rapid Bucuresti and Norwegian side Storhamar Handball Elite will make their debuts, while Györi Audi ETO KC start their campaign against Team Esbjerg in the only game featuring two sides that played at the EHF FINAL4 2022.

GROUP A

FTC-Rail Cargo Hungaria (HUN) vs Odense Handbold (DEN)

Saturday 10 September, 16:00 CEST, live on EHFTV

  • FTC are eyeing an EHF FINAL4 spot once again, having never made the trip to the event which has taken place in Budapest since the 2013/14 season
  • with eight wins and three draws, the Hungarian side are on an 11-game unbeaten streak at home in Europe's premier competition
  • Odense will miss left wing Freja Cohrt and backs Lois Abbingh and Larissa Nusser, but Hungarian left back Nóemi Háfra will make her debut for the Danish side
  • after a 36:25 loss in the Danish Super Cup against Esbjerg, Odense have won four games in the domestic league and the Danish Cup by an average of 13 goals
  • this is FTC's eighth consecutive season in Europe's top competition, while Odense will play in the EHF Champions League Women for the third time in a row and the fourth overall
  • FTC center back Zita Szucsánszki said: "I am expecting an exciting match against Odense, they have amazing players, but I hope we will be celebrating after the final whistle."

MOTW: Vipers Kristiansand (NOR) vs Brest Bretagne Handball (FRA)

Saturday 10 September, 18:00 CEST, live on EHFTV

  • the reigning champions will host Brest Bretagne Handball in a rematch of the 2021 final, when Vipers secured their first-ever title in the EHF Champions League Women with a 34:28 win
  • right back Anna Vyakhireva, one of the high-profile transfers before the new season, will make her debut for the Norwegian side
  • this season, Vipers can become only the second team to win the EHF Champions League Women title three times in a row, after Györi Audi ETO KC
  • the French side had their woes in away games in the previous season, losing six games, drawing one and only winning two in Europe's top competition
  • if Vipers win, they will become only the 18th team to reach the milestone of 40 wins in the EHF Champions League Women

DHK Banik Most (CZE) vs SG BBM Bietigheim (GER)

Sunday 11 September, 14:00 CEST, live on EHFTV

  • Bietigheim won all of their games in all competitions in the previous season, including in the EHF European League Women, where they claimed their first piece of European silverware
  • the fifth goal scored by Bietigheim in this match will be their 1000th in the competition – after 41 games played
  • Most make their comeback to Europe's top competition after three seasons away. When they last played in the group phase, most only won one game from six played and did not qualify for the next phase
  • the German champions started the season with two wins in their first two games: 38:26 against Oldenburg in the German Super Cup and 36:15 against Zwickau in the Bundesliga
  • Bietigheim won only seven of their 40 games played in the EHF Champions League Women. Their winning percentage of 17.5 per cent is the lowest of any team that has reached this number of games

CSM Bucuresti (ROU) vs Krim Mercator Ljubljana (SLO)

Sunday 11 September, 16:00 CEST, live on EHFTV

  • the Romanian powerhouse club are undefeated this season, having won the Romanian Super Cup 28:26 against Romanian champions Rapid Bucuresti, while the mutual meeting in the Romanian league between the two sides finished in a stalemate, 31:31
  • CSM and Krim played two friendly matches in August, with the Romanian side taking two wins, 34:25 and 25:24, in Ljubljana
  • two of the top three all-time scorers in the EHF Champions League Women – Jovanka Radicevic (978 goals) and Cristina Neagu (910 goals) – will face off in Bucharest in the maiden game of the new season
  • CSM's new transfers – goalkeeper Laura Glauser, center back Grace Zaadi Deuna, left back Kalidiatou Niakate, right wing Marina Sudakova and line player Crina Pintea – will make their debuts against Krim Mercator Ljublana
  • CSM have won six out of their eight games against Krim in the EHF Champions League. Krim's only win came at home in 2019, while the remaining game ended in a draw last season in Bucharest
20210918 Odense Krim Mercator 24 Mia Rej Edited
We expect to meet a really good and tough opponent in a really difficult away arena. We continue to develop our game, as we are still early in the season, and it will be exciting to see where we stand in relation to such a skilled team with many international players, but we go to Hungary with good confidence and we will bring everything to give FTC a hard fight.
Mia Rej
Odense Håndbold centre back

GROUP B

Kastamonu Belediyesi GSK (TUR) vs WHC Buducnost BEMAX (MNE)

Saturday 10 September, 16:00 CEST, live on EHFTV

  • in their second EHF Champions League season, Kastamonu will try to make an improvement and seal their first Champions League victory
  • after taking over the Turkish team in the summer, Danish coach Claus Mogensen wishes to implement a Scandinavian style of handball
  • two-time EHF Champions League winners Buducnost enter their 27th Champions League season with the return of team captain Milena Raicevic
  • Buducnost ended last season early after finishing seventh in the group phase
  • the two teams have not met before in a European club competition

HC Lokomotiva Zagreb (CRO) vs CS Rapid Bucuresti (ROU)

Saturday 10 September, 18:00 CEST, live on EHFTV

  • Lokomotiva Zagreb are back in the competition after an eight-year absence and come in after a 30:18 win over Split in the first round of the Croatian championship
  • the team from Zagreb made big changes to their squad, which is the youngest in the Champions League, and they will rely mostly on young Croatian talents
  • debutants Rapid Bucuresti are the second club in the Champions League from Romania's capital city
  • Rapid Bucuresti lost to CSM Bucuresti in the Romanian Super Cup at the start of the new season, but they have two wins, a draw and a loss in the domestic championship ahead of their first Champions League match
  • this will be first encounter between the two teams
  • Nenad Sotastaric, Lokomotiva Zagreb head coach said: "We have a new and young team, and it will not be easy for us at the beginning of the Champions League. We rely on our defensive game and quick counter attacks, and we are aware that the opponents will punish every mistake."

Team Esbjerg (DEN) vs Györi Audi ETO KC (HUN)

Sunday 11 September, 16:00 CEST, live on EHFTV

  • this is rematch of the first semi-final from the EHF FINAL4 Women 2022, and the Hungarian side have taken three clear wins in three previous meetings between the two sides
  • Esbjerg wish to continue their strong form after winning 15 out of 18 Champions League matches last season
  • reinforced with Nora Mørk, Esbjerg had a shocking loss against Ajax Kobenhavn at the start of the Danish league, followed by two wins
  • traveling to Esbjerg after three clear victories in Hungarian championship, Györ look strong on paper again
  • Györ only need eight more wins to become the first team to reach the 200-win milestone in the EHF Champions League Women

Metz Handball (FRA) vs Storhamar Handball Elite (NOR)

Sunday 11 September, 16:00 CEST, live on EHFTV

  • Metz coach Emmanuel Mayonnade has a slightly changed squad after seven players left in the off season, but he has rebuilt the second-youngest team in the competition
  • Metz will host EHF Champions League debutants Storhamar, who lost to Molde in the domestic championship only four days before their first Champions League match
  • on the other side, Metz won both matches at the start of the French competition
  • Metz will not be able to count on left back Camila Micijevic, whose bad luck continues, as this summer she had her third knee surgery
  • Storhamar, the seventh Norwegian club to play in the EHF Champions League Women, are led by coach Kenneth Gabrielsen, who is starting his second season at the helm
  • the two sides have never played against each other in a European club competition

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