SUMMARY: MOTW win for Metz; victories for Györ, Vipers and Esbjerg
The race for the EHF Champions League Women Final 4 tickets has reached its final stage! The weekend is reserved for the first leg clashes of the EHF CLW Quarter-finals.
- in the first match of the day on Saturday, Metz Handball secured a comfortable 26:32 road win against FTC-Rail Cargo Hungaria in what was our MOTW
- Tamara Horacek took the MOTW MVP title scoring eight goals
- later on Györi Audi ETO KC took a 27:29 road win against Odense Handbold after trailing throughout the bigger part of the match
- on Sunday, Vipers reached a 25:31 road win in Bucharest against Rapid
- later on, Esbjerg took the first leg against CSM Bucuresti celebrating a 32:28 win at home
- all matches live on EHF TV (geo-restrictions may apply)
SUNDAY, 30 APRIL2023
And with that, we're slowly bringing our live blog coverage for the day to an end. See you again next weekend for the second-leg encounters, and until then keep track of our previews, and specials that'll get you all set for the action that lies ahead. Have a great rest of the day, and see you soon!
In the first-leg encounters we've seen three road wins with Metz defeating FTC in our MOTW, Györ securing a comeback win over Odense, and Vipers defeating Rapid in Bucharest. The only team to use the home-court advantage was Esbjerg against CSM. Second legs will be played next weekend which means we are only a week away from finding out which four teams will meet in this season's EHF CLW Final4 tournament!
With both of today's games behind us, feel free to have a look at our reviews where you'll find everything you need to know about what we've seen today - facts and figures included.
With the last EHF CLW QFs game of the day now behind us, you already know it - it's time to have a quick look at the photo gallery!
After the game, Nora Mork was both happy, but also aware that the difference could have been even bigger in the end: ''Of course we're satisfied with the win in the end. I feel like we've complicated the things a bit for ourselves in those last few minutes allowing them to cut the gap a bit. In the end a four-goal win which is good, but not a lot. Now we have a week to analyze the video materials, and prepare for what's waiting for us in Romania. I'm sure we'll prioritize working on our defense as that's an aspect of the game that was not functioning properly today'', concluded Mork.
''Going into this match we were aware of how good Esbjerg is, and I feel like we've today struggled way too much defensively allowing them too many goals in the end. It is obviously disappointing, but we must keep our heads high, and prepare in the best possible way for the second leg that will be played in Bucharest. We have to find a way to improve defensively, I feel like they were finding the gaps way too easily, especially through the middle of our defense with assists to their line players'', added CSM Bucuresti' Emilie Arntzen.
An incredible performance from Nora Mork who finished the game with eight goals and seven assists helped Esbjerg secure a four-goal win in the first leg against CSM. Vilde Ingstad added six goals, Henny Reistad five. When it comes to CSM, a solid offensive display from Emilie Arntzen who finished the game with 10 goals, while Cristina Neagu added seven.
17:27 FULL TIME
With only five minutes left on the clock, the guests have managed to cut the gap to four (30:26). Their defense is however still dealing with a lot of problems trying to slow down Esbjerg.
The description says it all.
Half-way through the second, it's a four-goal Esbjerg lead. Nora Mork is once again playing an outstanding game with seven goals, and multiple assists so far. Henny Reistad, and Vilde Ingstad have five each. Cristina Neagu and Emilie Arntzen have combined for 15 from 28 shots.
Just over five minutes into the second, Esbjerg has managed to extend the lead to six goals - 20:14. The guests are going to have to find a way to elevate their defensive performance if they want to get back into this one.
Teamwork makes the dream work, and CSM will surely be looking for more of the same in the second half!
16:35 HALF TIME
With under two minutes left to go, Esbjerg is leading 17:13 as Vilde Ingstad paves the way with four goals from just as much attempts. CSM is dealing with efficiency problems in the first half with Cristina Neagu and Emilie Arntzen combining for eight goals from 18 attempts.
With ten minutes left to go in the first, Esbjerg leads 11:10. Three goals for Henny Reistad and Vilde Ingstad, four for Emilie Arntzen.
A beautiful way to open up an aggressive, deep defense.
Five minutes in, CSM is leading 2:3 in Denmark. Two goals for Christina Neagu, and three saves for Evelina Eriksson to start the day.
BUILD UP: Starting 16.00 CET ⏰, top scorers Henny Reistad and Cristina Neagu will fight to keep @TeamEsbjerg and @csm_bucharest’s EHF FINAL4 dreams alive 🌟— EHF Champions League (@ehfcl) April 30, 2023
Which team will celebrate at the end of the day? 🎊
💻 Live on https://t.co/IXYHSdERe0. pic.twitter.com/o1gSTtchrR
One final look at the photo gallery from Bucharest, and we're turning to the final game of the day - the duel between Esbjerg and CSB Bucuresti. Last year, the two teams collided in the EHF CLW QFs with Esbjerg taking a 53:52 aggregate win, which guarantees us an exciting game to finish the day, at least when it comes to the EHF Champions League Women.
And here is what Kim Rasmussen, Rapid's head coach, had to say after his team's first home defeat of the season: ''It was a pleasure to play in this atmosphere, but of course we're not happy with this outcome in the end. It's really hard to play a team that's full of confidence, a team that basically has not lost a single handball match in a few years. There are a lot of aspects of the game that we have to find a way to improve in, and then look for our chance in Norway.''
After the match, both Ole Gustav Gjekstad and Marketa Jerabkova were impressed with the atmosphere in Bucharest, and happy about the win.
''I'm really impressed with what I've seen in the stands today, and the only thing I can add is that I hope the atmosphere will be the same in Norway in a week'', concluded Gjekstad.
In this game, Marketa Jerabkova broke the 100-goal milestone in this season's EHF CLW: ''Of course it feels great, honestly I didn't even know that, but after all team success is what matters the most. We were aware of where we're coming, and we prepared really well for this game. Atmosphere was really incredible, but I'd like to highlight that this is only the first half of this matchup, and that we have to stay with both of our feet on the ground'', added Jerabkova.
15:27 FULL TIME
A comfortable six-goal win for Vipers Kristiansand in the first leg of their matchup against Rapid Bucuresti. Anna Vyakhireva led Vipers with seven goals, Marketa Jerabkova added six. Sorina Maria Grozav netted five for Rapid, while Diana Ciuca and Denisa Stefania Sandru combined for 16 saves.
With only a few minutes to go, it is a 25:29 lead for the guests in Bucharest, Romania. Despite not managing to completely close the gap in the second, Rapid did not allow them widen it additionally which is certainly good ahead of the second leg.
Entering the final ten minutes of the game, it is a 20:26 Vipers lead. Six goals for Jerabkova on one side, five for Grozav on the other. In the battle of the goalies we have Katrine Lunde with eight saves, and Diana Ciuca & Denisa Stefania Sandru with 13 combined.
Anna Vyakhireva leading Vipers in Bucharest. It looks so easy when she's doing it.
Nine minutes into the second, Vipers are still six goals ahead (14:20). Hosts have managed to find a way to slow down their offense, however Rapid scored only two goals so far in the second half which makes it really hard for them to start narrowing the gap.
The second half is under way in Bucharest, and Eliza Iulia Buceschi opens the scoring!
Against Vipers, even in clear goal-scoring opportunities, you have to be creative in order to get past Katrine Lunde.
14:35 HALF TIME
Big six-goal lead for Vipers after the first half in Bucharest. Marketa Jerabkova is leading their offense with five goals, Jana Knedlikova has six. Lorena Gabriela Ostase and Sorina Maria Grozav have netted three each for Rapid taht is having a really hard time slowing Vipers down. We haven't seen the Norwegian team in action ever since the first part of February, but it seems like they are in top form, once again aiming for the Final 4 tournament.
Entering the final two minutes of the first, Vipers leads 12:15. Five first-half goals for Marketa Jerabkova so far.
Sunniva Amalie Naes Andersen arrived in Bucharest ready to play!
Midway through the first, Vipers are 8:11 in front. Naes Andersen and Jerabkova are leading them with three each, while Katrine Lunde has four saves already.
It's a 3:5 Vipers lead seven minutes into the game. Marketa Jerabkova is leading them with three, while Sunniva Amalie Naes Andersen added two. Marta Lopez Herrero scored two for Rapid.
The match in Bucharest is under way! Marketa Jerabkova opens the scoring from the seven-meter line!
With the first whistle only minutes away, we're bringing you the warm-up pictures from Bucharest, Romania!
If they manage to get past Rapid, Kristiansand will have a shot at a 'three-peat' considering they went all the way in the last two seasons.
The reigning champions Vipers have the best attack in the competition scoring just over 32 goals per game on average. The first QF leg is however taking them to Sala Polivalenta where Rapid hasn't lost a game so far this season, and the fact that it was sold out in less than an hour suggests that the atmosphere is going to be amazing.
Judging by his pre-match quote, Kim Rasmussen is both aware of Kristiansand's quality, but also confident that his team has what it takes to come out on top, especially in Bucharest, in front of their incredible fans.
Vipers have some of the absolute best players in handball who single-handedly can win games. But we have quality, we know our quality, and if we can play up to our best level, we can beat everybody here!
To start us off for the day, let's have a quick look at some of the best photos from yesterday's second match of the day, a comeback win for Hungarian Györ in Odense.
Welcome back to our live blog coverage of the first legs of the EHF Champions League Women Quarter-finals! We've got two games coming up, with Rapid welcoming Kristiansand in Bucharest from 14.00 CET, and Esbjerg playing CSM Bucuresti at home from 16.00 CET. Another exciting day is surely ahead of us after yesterday's comfortable win for Metz, and a comeback one for Györ so sit tight, and enjoy the ride with us!
SATURDAY, 29 APRIL 2023
With that, we're bringing the live blog coverage for the day to an end. Live blog will be up and running again tomorrow from 13.00 CET when we'll start building it up for the first game of the day - Rapid Bucuresti versus Kristiansand. Have a great rest of the Saturday, and see you tomorrow!
As we are slowly bringing the night to a close, feel free to have a quick look at our reviews that are containing all the facts, figures, and everything else you need to know about the two games we've seen today.
After the game, Rikke Iversen concluded that it was a great match for the fans: ''It was a tough one, with a lot of ups and downs on both sides. Very intense, honestly just as we expected it to be. In the end they managed to come from behind and take the win, but I feel like we were both really 'on' today''.
Sandra Toft was delighted with the win in the end, after trailing by as many as six goals, and by five at the half: ''What a comeback! Two completely different halves from our side, but we've got to give Odense some credit as well, because honestly - they really surprised us in the first. In the end a two goal win for us, and of course I'm happy about it!''
We've got two more games coming up tomorrow! Starting from 14.00 CET, Rapid will welcome Kristiansand in Bucharest. Later on (16.00 CET) we'll see a duel between Esbjerg and CSM Bucuresti.
Two road victories today with Metz securing a comfortable advantage in Hungary over FTC, and Györ saving the day in the final few minutes of the game turning the result around after trailing by up to six goals. Second leg games are schedule for the next weekend - May 6 and 7.
After being in control of both the game and the result for over 55 minutes today, Odense failed to keep it up in the final few minutes of the game, allowing Györ to not only close the gap, but in the end take a two-goal win home from Odense. Ana Gros led Györ with nine goals, while Bo van Wetering and Lois Abbingh netted six each for Odense. Sandra Toft finished the game with eight saves for guests, Martina Thörn had one more for Odense.
19:30 FULL TIME
+1 Györ (26:27) heading into the final three minutes of the encounter. Nine goals for Ana Gros.
A perfect example of what we've seen multiple times today - a brilliant Martina Thörn save that turns Odense's defense into offense.
Györ closes the gap to only one goal (24:23) on the wings of a much better looking defense, with coach Ambros Martin calling a time-out during the possession that Györ will be looking to score from and level the game! Interesting final ten minutes are ahead of us.
We're almost half way through the second, and Odense's offensive transition is still a big problem for Györ. Martina Thörn has seven saves, and almost every one of them finished in the hands of Bo van Wetering, Ayaka Ikehara and others in the counter-attack.
Five minutes into the second, the hosts are leading 18:13, not allowing the Hungarians to narrow the goal gap.
Lois Abbingh is still their leading scorer in this one with four goals so far.
HALF-TIME: There's no stopping Lois Abbingh today!— EHF Champions League (@ehfcl) April 29, 2023
Odense Håndbold looked determined 💥 in the first half and currently lead 17:12 against Györi Audi ETO KC.
📱 https://t.co/IXYHSdERe0 | #ehfcl pic.twitter.com/Db51Bki5Np
With Odense players sharing the ball so well in attack, it is no wonder Györ can't find a way to slow them down.
An amazing first-half display helped Odense secure a five-goal lead heading into the half-time break. Lois Abbingh is leading their attack with four goals, while Maren Nyland Aardahl, and Bo van Wetering added three each. Ana Gros scored four for Györ.
Odense's defense is looking really well, and their attacking transition has proven to be really deadly which is why Györ is going to have to find a way to take care of the ball better, and be more patient on the attacking side of the court if they want to turn things around.
18:35 HALF TIME
It's a 14:11 Odense lead heading into the final two minutes of the first. A really solid display from the hosts against favored Hungarians in the first on both sides of the court.
Györ finds the way to get back into it looking much better, and more aggressive on the defensive side of the court. It's a 12:10 Odense lead with six minutes to go in the first.
An amazing tempo that has clearly surprised Györ has helped hosts open the gap to five goals (12:7), with a bit over ten minutes to go in the first. Bo van Wetering is shining with three goals, while Aardahl, Abbingh, and Ikehara have two each.
Ana Gros takes care of offense scoring two in a row, and bringing Györ back into this one (5:3), after being down by four (5:1).
Five minutes into the game it's a 3:1 Odense lead, mainly thanks to some incredible saves from Martina Thörn to start the day.
Sydbank Arena in Odense is ready, as we are only a few minutes away from the first whistle!
And in under 15 minutes, we've got the second match of the day coming up with Odense welcoming Györ.
After getting past Storhamar in the EHF CLW Playoffs, Odense will now try to knock multiple title winners Györ out of the competition. As a reminder, Györ finished second in group B, earning a direct EHF CLW Quarter-finals ticket!
After the game, Louise Katharina Vinter Burgaard was happy about the win: ''Obviously, we had to be smart with our approach, as we know how dangerous they can be. Our goalkeeper Hatadou (Sako) did a great job today, and we were able to stay aggressive and focused on the defensive side of the court throughout the full course of the game, successfully slowing down Katrin Klujber. Great win!''
Andrea Lekic knows what it takes to win matches like this one, but also what are the thing you can't afford to do: ''I feel like even when we managed to get past their defense, we were not focused enough to put the ball behind Sako who did really great today. Obviously, it is going to be hard to make a push on the road in France, but we have to believe in ourselves. I feel like we did not play well at all today, and that there are a lot of things we can improve for the second leg''.
And here are some of the photos from Erd Arena!
A comfortable six-goal win for Metz in the first leg on the road, on the wings of the MOTW MVP Tamara Horacek and her seven goals, as well as an outstanding performance from Hatadou Sako between the posts with 19 saves! Emily Bölk, and Angela Antje Malestein scored seven each for FTC, while Biro and Janurik combined for 10 saves.
17:30 FULL TIME
With just under two minutes until the final whistle, Metz is leading 25:30, and the French team is inches away from securing the road win in the first EHF CLW Quarter-final leg.
After a few great saves from Kinga Janurik, Blanka Biro delivered a couple more in the second including this one where she showcased patience and composure.
Just over ten minutes before the full-time whistle, Metz is once again leading by five goals (20:25). Hatadou Sako is doing a marvelous job between the posts with 15 saves already, while Tamara Horacek has seven goals.
Antje Angela Malestein, and Katrin Klujber spark FTC' push to narrow the gap to 18:21 after trailing by as many as six goals. The home-team defense is also looking better in these moments.
Three in a row for Metz in the beginning of the second, as the French team widens the gap to five goals (13:18).
Sarah Bouktit starts the second half with her third goal of the game. Hatadou Sako on the other side stops FTC' counter-attack.
Valeriia Maslova opens up the defense with this amazingly precise back-court shot. Worth seeing more than once.
With 13 goals scored, FTC' biggest problem in this one appears to be the defense, as well as Hatadou Sako who is once again in great form. It will be interesting to see whether the hosts from Hungary will find a way to adapt and turn the match around in the second.
Metz is heading into the half-time break with a two-goal advantage in Hungary. Bruna de Paula, Kristina Jörgensen, and Tamara Horacek were leading their offense in the first scoring three each, while Hatadou Sako grabbed eight saves being one of the key performers for her team in the first 30. Greta Marton on the other side went 4/4 for FTC, while Emily Bölk and Antje Angela Malestein added three each. Kinga Janurik and Blanka Biro combined for five saves.
16:35 HALF TIME
With only two minutes left to play in the first, Metz is leading 12:14 in Hungary. Bruna de Paula is leading their offense with three goals, while Hatadou Sako has six saves. Greta Marton has, on the other side, netted four from just as much attempts for FTC.
Kinga Janurik is doing well early on, however Chloe Valentini has a superb solution up her sleeve.
It's 7:9 Metz leading as we're heading into the final ten minutes of the first half. Greta Marton and Emily Bölk have two each for FTC, while Sarah Bouktit and Tamara Horacek netted two each for Metz. Home-team offense seems to be able to find the gaps in French defense, however they are at the moment experiencing really hard time slowing down Bruna de Paula, Tamara Horacek, and Sarah Bouktit who is causing them a lot of problems on the line.
FTC' hopes of reaching the final tournament will surely depend a lot on the performance of their goalkeepers, and Kinga Janurik appears to be on the right level early on!
It's a 4:7 Metz lead at the moment, as Sarah Bouktit leads the way offensively for her team with two goals. Hatadou Sako has two saves. Emily Bölk is still the only one with two goals for FTC, while Kinga Janurik has three saves.
Five minutes in, it is a 3:2 lead for the guests from France! Jörgensen, Horacek and Bouktit have scored for Metz, while Bölk found the net twice for FTC.
And the match is on! The hosts will have the first possession in Erd Arena!
With the first whistle only a few moments away, the atmosphere in Hungary is pumping!
Here are some of the warm-up photos from the Erd Arena!
The attacking duel between Katrin Klujber on one, and Bruna de Paula on the other side will surely be one of the key things in this matchup. FTC' Klujber is third-best scorer of the competition so far with 100 goals, and eighth on the assists list with 50. Bruna de Paula is, on the other hand, ninth on the scorers list with 77, and closing the top 20 when it comes to assists with 41. With that, Klujber is fourth-best attacking player in the league, and de Paula is tenth.
And while Emmanuel Mayonnade surely knows what it takes to reach the final tournament, as Metz did it back in 2019, as well as 2020, FTC will be aiming for what would be their first final tournament appearance since the introduction of the Final4 back in 2014. The experience former EHF CLW winners Andrea Lekic and Dragana Cvijic are bringing to the team will surely be a big plus for FTC, especially because Metz doesn't have a single EHF CLW title-winning player in their roster.
FTC' head coach Gabor Elek says it feels great to be back in the EHF CLW Quarter-finals, and believes his team has what it takes to book a Final4 ticket. Playing on the final tournament at home in Budapest would surely be a dream come true for the Hungarians.
I am glad that after a break of a few years, we can fight for the EHF FINAL4 again; this is a big goal for me, the team and the club in general as well. I am confident that last week’s performance and the Hungarian Cup title will give us confidence for this big battle.
Our this week's MOTW is going to be a clash between two of the most experienced teams left in the competition with FTC playing their 23rd CLW season, and Metz their 24th. Hungarians had to put in some extra work to reach the Quarter-finals after finishing fourth in Group A playing against Buducnost in the Playoffs. Metz on the other side finished the group stage strong with nine victories in a row securing the top spot, which means we'll now see them out there on the court for the first time after that 24:26 road win against Storhamar in the last round of the group stage back on February 12.
Starting us off today is no less than the MOTW with FTC welcoming Metz! Before we get into that however, feel free to check on our detailed previews of all the clashes, as well as some special features to get you warmed up for the action ahead!
Welcome to the live coverage of the first leg of the EHF CLW Quarter-finals clashes! We've got four exciting games coming up this weekend - two today, and two more on Sunday, so stay with us for all the live updates, and everything else you need to know. EHF CLW Final 4 is at stake, which is why you definitely don't want to miss out on any of the action!