Zvezda and Viborg battle for the semi-finalsArticle
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The weekend may be decisive in Group 2 as Zvezda will host Viborg.

Zvezda and Viborg battle for the semi-finals

It will be almost like a quarter-final when Russian champions Zvezda Zvenrigorod and Danish Viborg HK meet in Russia on Sunday. These two teams are fighting for the semi-final place still open. Austrian champions Hypo Niederösterreich are already sure to qualify and though there are still two rounds to go, the decision is very likely to fall on the direct encounter of Zvezda and Viborg.

Popovic vs coach Trefilov: stars will be battling for the semi-finalBoth teams have 4 points from their first 4 matches. As Viborg won their first meeting in Viborg Stadionhal by 31-29, the Danes would qualify by winning the match in Russia. Zvezda would qualify by winning by more than two goals or by two-goals with Viborg scoring less than 29 goals.

Any other result would postpone the decision until the last round next weekend where Viborg will play at home against Slagelse. Zvezda will have to travel to Austria to meet the already qualified Hypo.

Terrible last test for Viborg

Viborg players should forget about a team called Horsens HK completely in Chekhov. In fact, the bottom team of the Danish championship have beaten Viborg by 31-30 in the Danish league during the week.

The result did not mean a lot for Viborg who are already sure to win the championship. Nevertheless, the result was not exactly what their confidence needed after a 27-32 home defeat against Hypo Niederösterreich last Saturday.

Viborg will have to travel to Russia without their German international Nora Reiche. As Eurohandball.com earlier reported, the right back and right winger will be out for the rest of this season – and for the first part of the next season – with a torn cruciate knee ligament.

Russians in good form

Viborg won by two goals at homeEvgeniy Trefilov is well aware of the opportunity his team have. He prepared the players well and their form is improving with the results.

Zvezda won an important away match in Slagelse and they also had successes in the domestic league. In a mid-week game of the Russian Championship, Zvezda defeated Krasnodar in an away match by 30:27 (15:11). Kareeva scored six and Andriushina 5 goals. Olga Sanko also showed great form. Her goalkeeping efficiency was 53%.

End of Danish dominance?

In the last four years, Danish clubs dominated the CL. Since 2004, the Women’s CL was only won by Danish clubs: Slagelse and Viborg. Slagelse are out of the race by now and Viborg are the only Danish club with a chance to make it to the semi-finals.

In case of a Zvezda victory over Viborg on Sunday (by more than 2 goals), no Danish teams would go on. This CL season could be the worst for the Danes in the last 6 years.

The match Zvezda Zvenigorod vs. Viborg will be played on Sunday at 14:45 hours. The referees will be Slobodan Visekruna and Zoran Stanojevic from Serbia. ehfCL.com, Eurosport 2, RTR Sport and DR 1 will broadcast the match live.

TEXT: Peter Bruun and Ivan Ambros