Zvezda vs Hypo: clash of handball culturesArticle
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Analysis of the two teams playing for the CL trophy by Björn Pazen.

Zvezda vs Hypo: clash of handball cultures

Two different team structures and two different ways to the top: Zvezda Zvenigorod and Hypo Niederösterreich don’t have much in common, apart from the fact that they both reached the CL final.

Korean, Hungarian, Brazilian - a good mixture in HypoTeam structure:

Hypo Niederösterreich is a melting pot of six nations: Austrian, German, Korean, Hungarian, Brazilian and Angolan. This characteristic influences the tactics and handball culture as different philosophies are “mould” together.

A strong influence comes from the Hungarian coach, András Németh, and his three Hungarian players. They try to play fast and put the emphasis on strong defence. The Korean style (small and fast players) is coordinated by a great playmaker Oh. The Brazil part of this mixture is also technically skilful, giving good wing players. The European discipline and powerful defence comes from Austria.

Zvezda is based on Russian national playersIn contrast to this, Zvezda have almost only Russian players, only two Ukrainians. And all of them come from the “old Russian school”. This is based on power, strong defending, powerful shooting, tall line players and backcourt players.

However, coach Trefilov found new tactics “by “installing” fast wingers who carry out “lethal” counter attacks. Accordingly, the Russian team – led by playmaker Irina Poltoiratskaya - have more options and quality than before.

Top scorers:

Hypo: Timea Tóth (117 goals), Gorica Acimovic (79), Alexandra Priscila do nascimento (57).
Zvezda: Elena Polenova (99), Irina Poltoratskaya (61), Ekaterina Andryushina (60).

Road to the final:

Hypo targeted winning the trophy this season. They are eager to win their ninth European title. Hypo started well in the CL. In the first group phase they reached six victories from six matches – including two successes against last season’s finalist Lada Togliatti and former CL winner Skopje.

Hypo have beaten Zvezda twice this seasonAlso in the Main Round Hypo remained unbeaten with six victories from six matches. Hypo eliminated the two Danish top teams, Slagelse and Viborg, who won the CL titles from 2004 to 2007.

Not even Zvezda had a chance against the Austrian record holders and they were beaten twice (32:26 and 33:29).

At the 13th CL match of the season, Hypo lost for the fist time the semi-final against Lada Togliatti (31:28), but winning the second leg by 36:29 was enough. Hypo now have the chance to get the coveted title.

Zvezda were beaten more often this season: after an easy first round with four victories and a draw (against Nürnberg), the Russian champions lost the last and unimportant match against Krim Ljubljana.

In the Main Round Zvezda have beaten Slagelse twice, lost against Hypo twice – so the decisive games were against Viborg. After losing in Denmark by 29:31, they won at home by 37:32 and went on with better direct results.

Zvezda lost the first semi-final at home against Győr but won in Hungary.

TEXT: Björn Pazen