Title contenders CSM, Györ clash in fiery MOTW
The EHF Champions League Women 2023/24 heads into round 3 this weekend, highlighted by the Match of the Week in Romania between the two 2016 finalists: CSM Bucuresti and Györi Audi ETO KC on Saturday. Apart from Györ in group A, three more teams want to add a third straight victory to their season start: SG BBM Bietigheim in group A, and Krim Mercator Ljubljana and Ikast Håndbold in group B.
MOTW: CSM Bucuresti (ROU) vs Györi Audi ETO KC (HUN)
Saturday 23 September, 16:00 CEST, live on EHFTV
- Györ are one of the four teams in the competition that started the season with two wins
- CSM’s attack have been found lacking in the first games of the season, scoring 52 goals for a 51.5 per cent efficiency
- CSM goalkeeper Laura Glauser, who played for Györ between 2020 and 2022, is the top shot stopper so far with 36 saves and a 43.3 per cent save rate
- only three teams have conceded less than 46 goals in this season, with Györ’s defence being excellent in their first two matches
- the two sides have met 10 times before: Györ won eight times
- CSM won only once at home – in a main round match in January 2018 – but their other win came in the teams’ most important encounter so far: the 2015/16 final in Budapest
It will be a high level game, and that is why I am so looking forward to play this game. We know that we need to bring all of our qualities on the court to be able to take the points with us back home. I feel the team is ready to play this kind of important match.
- Buducnost and Sävehof are two of four teams which have lost both their matches so far
- the hosts have conceded the second-largest number of goals, 66, in two matches
- Buducnost started a season with three losses in a row two times: in 2006/07 and 2021/22
- only one side, Zaglebie Lubin, has scored less goals than Buducnost’s tally of 46
- Sävehof have never won a match against Buducnost so far, losing by an average margin of 8.3 goals
We started the season badly and after two defeats, we want our first victory. I believe that we can be disciplined, that we will show the necessary energy and play as a team. IK Sävehof is a young team, but they also have several experienced players. It will be difficult, but I believe we can get two points.
We are actually satisfied with how we have performed in the first two Champions League games of the season, despite losing both. On Sunday, we hope to continue to perform on a high level with our young team. If we manage to do so, then it will be possible for us to return home to Sweden with a point or two.
- Bietigheim are one of four sides with a two-game winning streak heading into this weekend
- the German side’s 20th goal this match will see them hit the 1,500-goal mark in the CL – the 32nd team to reach that milestone
- DVSC’s only two wins in CL history came on their home court, as the Hungarian side look to bounce back after their loss against Györ last week
- Bietigheim have two players between the top 10 scorers so far in this season, with backs Karolina Kudlacz and Xenia Smits scoring 11 goals each
- both sides have delivered easy wins midweek in their domestic leagues: Bietigheim dominated Leverkusen (33:23); DVSC took a 31:19 win over Dunaujvaros
We have a lot of respect for the opponent, but we will try to achieve a great result against them at home. I think it will take a feat to be able to score a point against Bietigheim, as they have classy players in almost every position and have proven in recent weeks that they can play very effective handball.
Brest Bretagne Handball (FRA) vs Odense Håndbold (DEN)
Sunday, 24 September, 16:00 CEST, live on EHFTV
- both sides have won a game and conceded a loss so far, but Odense is the team with a higher pace of the game, scoring 15 more goals than Brest
- Brest’s home record has been patchy over the last two seasons, with the French side conceding six losses in their past nine matches on own court
- Odense right back Dione Housheer has the largest number of assists after two matches: 15, adding to her nine-goal tally
- Odense have won five of the eight matches against Brest, including the last two in the previous season, when the teams also met in the group phase
Third EHF Champions League match, the second at home. It’s always an event to be able to play matches of this level in front of our supporters. We are committed to giving our best at home. Odense is one of the favourite teams in the group. A great team, with a coach who has just won the competition three times with Vipers. A club with an ambitious project, which is already very successful. For our part, we had a week to prepare and regain energy.
Krim Mercator Ljubljana (SLO) vs FTC-Rail Cargo Hungaria (HUN)
Saturday 23 September, 18:00 CEST, live on EHFTV
- last season’s runners-up FTC had a tough start of the season with double-digit defeats against Metz and Vipers
- Krim won twice for their best season opening in 10 years
- the Slovenian side has the second-best attack and defence of the competition, with 69 goals scored and 45 conceded
- contrary to the EHF Champions League, FTC has started the domestic season in Hungary with four straight wins, most recently 41:19 against MTK Budapest
- in her 17th EHF Champions League season, Andrea Lekic is FTC’s leading scorer with 13 goals
- Krim and FTC played each other 15 times before: FTC won nine times, Krim six
MKS Zaglebie Lubin (POL) vs Vipers Kristiansand (NOR)
Saturday 23 September, 18:00 CEST, live on EHFTV
- Zaglebie Lubin is still waiting for their first win in their maiden EHF Champions League season; in round 2 they were narrowly defeated by Rapid Bucuresti, 26:25
- titleholders Vipers lost their opener but recovered last week with a 37:26 win against FTC – their opponents in the 2023 final last June
- Vipers’ Jana Knedlikova is the current top scorer with 15 goals and a 79 per cent scoring efficiency; Katrin Lunde is the second-best goalkeeper with 30 saves (39 per cent)
- Lubin have scored the fewest goals in the competition so far (43), while conceding 64 goals
- the Polish side opened their domestic league with a clear win over Start Elblag; Vipers defeated EHF European League Women participants Sola in Norway
For the match with Vipers Kristiansand we prepare tactically the best we can. We know how good the team from Norway is, with so many titled players like Katrine Lunde or Anna Vyakhireva. On Saturday we go on the court to fight for the best result. We have to start the match well in defence and show the best skills in attack. Our participation in the EHF Champions League started very poorly with Krim. We felt very bad after this match and we want to play better and better in all the next games.
We know that Lubin are a highly motivated team. They are the Polish champions, who not only have a lot of Polish national team players, but also some good international players. Their main strengths are in the counterattack, and we also know that they have a good flow in the attack in general.
For this match we have to be 100% prepared and ready, because I think that, unless you go there with a good mindset and preparation, Lubin can cause massive problems and surprise anyone.
- after missing round 2 last week, CL 2022/23 top scorer Henny Reistad is back for Esbjerg
- both teams are coming off a defeat after winning their opening matches the week before: Esbjerg lost against Krim (33:27), Metz against kast (39:36)
- Chloé Valentini and Anne Mette Hansen shone for Metz in the first two rounds, scoring 14 and 11 goals respectively
- Metz have the most efficient attack of the competition with 73 goals; their goalkeeper Hatadou Sako is among the best shot toppers with a 37 per cent save rate
- Esbjerg remained unbeaten in the Danish league with a narrow 29:28 win against SønderjyskE; Metz did not play in France this week
It is going to be a match with a lot of intensity. We have to succeed in many aspects of the game to win. So, we have to be smart. (Metz coach Emmanuel) Mayonnade has a keen tactical mind, and he knows how to instill his ideas into the players.
- Rapid and Ikast finally meet again after more than 25 years: their only previous duels were in the City Cup 1996/97 quarter-final, with Ikast winning twice
- Rapid are heading into their second CL match under new coach David Ginesta
- Ikast have the third-best attack of the competition, netting 66 times in two matches
- the MVP of the EHF Finals 2023, Emma Friis, is current Ikast’s top scorer with 10 goals; Orlane Kanor leads the way for Rapid with 12
- Ikast head coach Kasper Christensen: "Rapid Bucuresti have an extra gear at home and that will be a factor when we have to go down and play in one of the wildest arenas in Europe. So, for us it will be important that we manage to play a stable game, even under a lot of pressure from the spectators"
- Rapid won 33:26 at home against Mioveni in the Romanian league this week; Ikast suffered their first domestic defeat of the season, against København
photos © Raluca Malnasi (CSM), Sasa Pahic Szabo / kolektiff (Krim)