Hypo keep on winningArticle
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With two rounds left from the Main Round, Hypo qualify for the semi-finals. The Austrians clinched an impressive 32-27 away win over Viborg.

Hypo keep on winning

With two rounds left from the Main Round, Hypo Niederösterreich qualify for the semi-finals. The Austrian champions clinched an impressive 32-27 away win over Viborg HK. Based on their performance against the Danes – also considered among the favourites before the season – Hypo seem to be one of the top favourites to win the Champions League this year.

Englert was in great form in ViborgAnyway, the win in Viborg Stadionhal was the tenth win out of ten matches in this Champions League season for the team of András Németh.

Hypo in the driver seat from start

The score was quite equal during most of the game in Viborg. However, Hypo Niederösterreich had the upper hand all the way in spite of the never ending efforts from the 2,100 fans to support their local heroines.

Hypo started by leading 2-0, and the visitors managed to keep this two goal lead for most of the first half. They even increased their three goals a couple of times before the break, where the difference was two goals again (11-13).

All the time Viborg had great difficulties with Hypo’s open and fast defence and with the guests´ constant change of pace in attack. Furthermore, the home team had great trouble getting the ball past Hypo’s goalkeeper Sabine Englert. The German national team keeper performed 22 saves in the match – considerably more than Viborg keeper Katine Lunde Haraldsen who saved 12 shots on the other end of the court.

Hypo taking a lead

At the beginning of the second half, Hypo Niederösterreich managed to keep their two goal lead, but Viborg still equalised. After 9 minutes and 10 seconds Rikke Skov gave the hosts their first lead in the match at 19-18.

This turned out to be Viborg’s only lead, however. 12 minutes and 16 seconds into the second half, Viborg lost one of their most important players in defence as well as in the attack: Rikke Skov was red carded after her third two-minute penalty.

As Kristine Lunde and Nora Reiche were injured – Reiche with an apparently serious knee injury – coach Tomas Ryde was with few options. Towards the end Hypo proved to be the far better team getting ahead by four goals for the first time at 24-28 and with five at 26-31 before winning the game by five.

Better nerves

“I think we won mainly because we could cope better with the pressure,” Hypo manager Gunnar Prokop told Eurohandball.com. “The difference was the fact that Viborg had to win, while we just wanted to win… However, I think that we are probably the physically strongest team in Europe at the moment,” Gunnar Prokop added.

“We made too many individual mistakes and missed too many scoring opportunities. In addition, it was decisive that Rikke Skov got her third penalty,” Viborg coach Tomas Ryde said.

Bojana Popovic scored 7 goals for Viborg, while Gorica Acimovic and Daniela de Oliveira Piedade both scored the same number for the winning team.

While Hypo Niederösterreich are now leading Group 2 with 8 points after 4 matches, Viborg are third with 4 points.

TEXT: Peter Bruun