Krim beat Esbjerg for the best opening in ten years
All three winning sides on Sunday extended their winning streak in the EHF Champions League Women. Krim Mercator had a convincing performance and managed to win against Team Esbjerg for the second time ever. SG BBM Bietigheim resisted CSM Bucuresti's hunt due to jaw-dropping Gabriela Goncalves' saves, while Ikast Handbold's fast-paced play beat Metz.
- Krim Mercator extended their positive streak by claiming their second-ever win against Team Esbjerg which marked their first back-to-back win after the first two rounds in the EHF Champions League since the 2013/14 season
- Slovenian right wing Tamara Mavsar, who returned to Krim after a one-year stint in Siofok, added eight goals in a 33:27 win against the Danish powerhouse, placing her in third place on the top scorer list
- goalkeepers had a main role in the SG BBM Bietigheim and CSM Bucuresti clash - Gabriela Goncalves had an astonishing 18 saves at 43 per cent save efficiency for the German side, while Laura Glauser stopped 16 Bietigheim's attacks at 40 per cent save efficiency
- Ikast Handbold earned their 50th win in the EHF Champions League and have extended their winning streak in European Cup competitions to 13 following their EHF European League Women 2023 champion title
- Ikast's 39:36 win against Metz Handball marks the most goals scored by both teams (75) in EHF Champions League Women history
SG BBM Bietigheim (GER) vs CSM Bucuresti (ROU) 26:24 (14:12)
SG BBM Bietigheim put a stop to CSM's six-game winning streak this season in all competitions, inflicting them with a 24:26 defeat. With great Gabriela Goncalves' and Laura Glauser's performances between the posts, it was a well-balanced game for 40 minutes. When the German side's top-scorer Xenia Smits netted two straight goals, Bietigheim got their hands on a more significant lead, making CSM nervous. Even though head coach Adrian Vasile tried to shake things up with two close time-outs and Emilie Arntzen scored for 23:25 five minutes to the final whistle, it looked like the Romanian team could perform a comeback. A set of bad decisions and two important saves by Goncalves sealed the deal for Bietigheim who has a perfect record in this season's EHF Champions League-
It was a very tough match. We had to keep on fighting. We had fewer mistakes than the last games and stood well in defence, so that´s why we won this top match.
Congrats to Bietigheim. We are disappointed, we made too many mistakes. We were not aggressive in defence.
Krim Mercator Ljubljana (SLO) vs Team Esbjerg (DEN) 33:27 (15:12)
Head coach Dragan Adzic has so far turned his dreams into a reality. Krim Mercator is one of four teams that have two straight wins in Europe's top flight. A strong defensive performance allowed Krim to have an early lead. A mix of technical faults and good saves by Amalie Milling and Anna Opstrup Kristensen slowed Krim down during the first 45 minutes. Esbjerg came close on a few occasions but lacked their recognizable fast and precise attack. Not having last season's top scorer Henny Reistad and Kathrine Heindahl in the squad certainly played their part.
Above all, I hope that we will continue to play like this. This is just the beginning. But it was important that we stopped the fast counter-attacks of our rivals. We can also attribute the win to that. We were focused on ourselves and played the way we had to play from the first minute to the last.
It's always a challenge to prepare for a team that has only one game under its belt this season. In the first round of the EHF Champions League, they played against Lubin. It was a good game, but I am sure that we will be better prepared for our second game in Esbjerg.
Metz Handball (FRA) vs Ikast Håndbold (DEN) 35:39 (17:20)
EHF Finals Women 2023 MVP Emma Friis was unstoppable in France, leading Ikast to the win against Metz with nine goals out of nine attempts. Despite strong offensive outings on both sides, fast-paced handball with effective transitions was in favour of the Danish side. Hatadou Sako was trying her best with 16 saves, and Metz came close in the last 15 minutes with Alina Grijseels netting two times with steals. However, Irma Schjött responded with saves in the exciting finish and kept the gap until the final buzzer when Ikast's celebration started.
I'm also happy and proud of my team. I'm proud of the way we played and of being part of it. Congrats to the young players and the players who had never played in the Champions League before and who have adapted well.
First of all, congratulations to Ikast. We didn't deserve to win tonight, sometimes we came close, but we made too many mistakes. They were mentally and physically stronger than us.