Krim is through to main roundArticle
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Nearly all teams still have chances to qualify for next stage after matchday 4. Read the summary!

Krim is through to main round

Krim Mercator from Ljubljana is surprisingly the first team to be qualified for the main round in Women’s Champions League. After winning in Aalborg the Slovenians are the only spotless team, after Larvik had lost at FCK.

All four groups are completely equal after the last matchday in this year before the WCH break, as nearly every team still has the chance to go on to the next stage. Some favourites had problems: Valcea, spotless before this matchday, lost in Zvenigorod, and the situation for Hypo is even worse: After their former coach Gunnar Prokop had been punished after his unsportsmanlike behaviour in the first match against Metz, the Austrian lost twice and only have two points on their account.

Aside, last season’s champion Viborg went off the track: After losing in Koprivnica on matchday three, the Danish and CL champion of last season lost a point in Leipzig – but VHK is still leading group A. So the last two matchdays of the group phase in 2010 will decided, what seven teams will follow Krim to the main round.

Group A:

HC Leipzig – Viborg HK 20:20 (11:9)

After the match all HCL players ran to Katja Schülke – as they knew that she had had the biggest part of this sensational point of Leipzig against Viborg. The goalkeeper of the Germans saved 19 shots, topscorers were Susann Müller with eight goals for HCL and Christina Varzaru with six goals for Viborg. 3691 spectators attended a top match with highest tension until the final whistle. Even as Viborg was ahead 20:18 two minutes before the end, HCL equalized by two consecutive goals. Mette Ommundsen had the great chance to become the matchwinner, but the Norwegian missed the Viborg goal 25 seconds before the end.Both teams still have chances for reaching the main round, Viborg with five and HCL with three points.

VHK was leading constantly in the very beginning, but thanks to Schülke’s saves Leipzig equalized and led at the break. But Viborg stood strong and went away to 19:17 and 20:18 – but in the end it wasn’t enough to win in Germany. “The draw was well deserved, even as we had the chance to win”, HCL manager Kay Sven Hähner said: “Maybe this point’s worth of gold, when we want to reach the main round.”

Byasen HE – Podravka Vegeta 34:23 (18:13)

Who laughs last, laughs best: After beating favourite Viborg on home soil, Podravka travelled to Norway with high expectations, but the Croats returned with a clear defeat. On the other hand, Byasen now is ranked second in this totally equal group with still four teams with chances for reaching the main round. Even 15 goals in total of the top duet Pasicnik (8) and Tatari (7) weren’t enough for Podravka. Topscorer for Byasen was Toumi with seven goals.

“This was our best match in this season”, Byasen coach Geir Oustorp said after the clear victory of his team that aside won the direct encounter against Koprivnica after losing 31:32 in Croatia. His team started well with a 5:0 series and controlled the match from that point on. With a strong defence and a very effective offence, the Norwegians took the points well deserved.

Group B:

Metz Handball – Hypo Niederösterreich 28:26 (16:13)

Two weeks after the „Hypo affair“ in Vienna, Metz took revenge and overtook the Austrians in the ranking with now three points. Ognjenovic and Pal scored each eight goals for the French team, the same as Nascimento for Hypo. More than 4000 spectators celebrated their team after beating the favourite – it was the first Metz victory in this CL season. Thanks to strong goalkeeper Amandine Leynaud, Metz led 6:1, before Hypo improved, reduced the gap at the break to 13:16 and equalized at the start of halftime two. As Ognjenovic was unstoppable from the seven metre line, Metz took the control of the game again and led pre decisively 26:22 in minute 50.

As Hypo didn’t give up, the final decision was done by Helen Francis, who scored the 28:26 in the very last minute. “It was a historic match for us”, Metz president Thierry Weizman said: “Now we still have the chance to go on to the main round.” On the other hand, new Hypo coach Ferenc Kovacs has a lot of work ahead of him.

Aalborg DH – Krim Mercator 32:38 (16:20)

Four matches, four victories, first team qualified for the main – everything is running perfectly for Krim Ljubljana right now in the CL. Aalborg was overrun intermediately in halftime one, as Krim was leading with seven goals, but came closer until the break to four goals. After Torstensson had received a red card in minute 41, Krim controlled the match again completely – and was in lead for the 60 minutes after the 1:0 for Aalborg. Thanks to some important saves of goalkeeper Stefanisin and the in total 17 goals of Zacsik (9) and Zrnec (8), the victory was absolutely deserved. Topscorer for the Danes was Bille-Hansen with eight goals.

Group C:

Zvezda Zvenigorod – Oltchim Valcea 27:26 (12:10)

Even as Valcea is still number one in group C, the distance of Zvezda is only one point again after defeating the Romanians for the first time in this CL season. Both goalkeepers, Suslina (Zvezda) and Ungureanu (Valcea), played well. The match was equal most of the time, and in the very end, Zvezda played with more effectivity. “We had a lot of chances to win, but the number of mistakes in our team was too high”, Valcea assistant coach Aurelian Rosko said: “Now we have to beat Itxako in the next match and then we should be through to the main round.”

Zvezda coach Jewgeny Trefilow wasn’t satisfied, even as his team won two highly important points: “Much too often we gave the ball to Valcea. Specially our start was very weak, and I can’t name one player, who did no mistakes.” Vetkova scored four goals for Zvezda, like Neagu and Lecusanu for Valcea.

SD Itxako – Györi Audi ETO 14:20 (9:10)

Hungarians back on track: Due to their second victory against the Spanish champion, Györ is currently only one point away from the second place in their group. The match in Spain was a real defence battle, as shown by the number of goals. After the 5:4, Györ took the lead and didn’t give it away until the final whistle. As the halftime score was quite equal, the Hungarians played with more intensity after the break and took the profit of three missed penalty shots of Itxako. After 50 minutes the match was decided at the score of 12:16, as Itxako’s means in offence were much to less. Toscorer of the match was Kovascics with five goals, three Itxako players scored each three times. For the Spaniards the chance of qualifying for the main round is decreasing more and more with still only one point on their account.

Group D:

Buducnost T-Mobile – Dinamo Wolgograd 24:24 (9:12)

A match like a roller coaster trip ended with a draw. But despite this constellation, both opponents still have changes to remain in the CL, only one point behind FCK.In case both have the same number of points, Dinamo has won the direct encounter after the 31:18 in the first match. And it looked like, Wolgograd could celebrate their second victory.

90 seconds before the end, the Russian were leading 24:21. But then topscorer Bulatovic (10 goals in total) and Knezevic scored three consecutive goals. 27 seconds before the end it was 24:24 – and then Buducnost even had the great chance to win, but Wolgograd goalkeeper Sedojkina saved the last shot of Mehmedovic. The host had their best phase at the start of halftime two, as they were leading 18:16, but then Wolgograd scored five goals in a row. Topscorer for the Russians was Kocetova with seven goals.

FCK Haandbold – Larvik HK 23:19 (12:7)

FCK kept the hopes alive by winning this highly important match against Larvik. The Norwegians missed the chance to qualify as second team or the main round, but still remain on top of this group with six points, two points ahead of FCK and three ahead of Dinamo and Buducnost. The start of the match was totally equal until the 7:7, before FCK scored five consecutive goals, due to their better defence. Even as Larvik improved, both FCK goalkeepers Leganger and Pedersen stood like a wall. In the middle of halftime two FCK found their offence rhythm again and took a three goal lead right until the final stage of the match. Topscorers were Milanovic (eight goals for FCK) and Löke (five goals for Larvik).

TEXT: Björn Pazen