Two of the eight places remain openArticle
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Vâlcea and Itxako have made it to the Main Round – Hypo, Leipzig, Viborg and Volgograd all fight to qualify in direct duels next week.

Two of the eight places remain open

Six of the eight Main Round participants in the Women’s Champions League are known after Round 5: After Larvik, Podgorica, Ljubljana and Győr, on Sunday Itxako (winner in Leipzig) and Oltchim Vâlcea (victory against Randers) also made the step to the last eight teams. Like Larvik, Podgorica secured their fifth straight victory.

Viborg and Volgograd will fight for the last free place in Group A next weekend, as will Leipzig and Hypo in Group B. Viborg need a small miracle, whereas Leipzig only needs one point to go on.

Group A:

Dinamo Volgograd – Budućnost Podgorica 27:32 (14:15)

The Budućnost Express is still unstoppable – with their fifth straight victory the team from Montenegro kept the tension high in Group A.

Again Katarina Bulatović was the match winner for the guest with nine goals, Olga Levina scored eight times for Volgograd.

The Russian champion missed the chance to qualify for the Main Round (as a draw would have been enough), but still have their fate in their own hands.

If Dinamo loses by an eight-goal difference in the last round in Viborg, they are still through to the next stage, as they have a better goal difference in the group.

Bulatović, Bojana Popović with seven goals and goalkeeper Barjaktarović decided the game for the guest.

Viborg HK – Sävehof IF 37:33 (23:16)

Viborg kept its hopes for the Main Round alive, but now has to win by nine goals against Volgograd in the last round.

The Danes had been dominant before the break and led with a seven-goal difference. Then their concentration lapsed – maybe the players were already thinking about the Volgograd game. This enabled Sävehof to reduce the gap, although not to endanger Viborg, despite ten goals from Isabelle Gulldén.

Mouna Chebbah was VHK's top scorer with eight goals, but the top player of the match in both attack and defence was Marit Malm Frafjord with six goals.

Group B:

HC Leipzig – SD Itxako Reyno de Navarra 27:31 (16:20)

Itxako not only took revenge for the surprising home defeat against Leipzig, but they also qualified for the Main Round after their fourth consecutive victory.

HC Leipzig now needs at least a draw in the last group match against Hypo to go on. If the Germans lose in Austria, Hypo will qualify.

More than 3000 spectators saw a brave and spirited fight from their team, but the Spanish champion was too strong thanks to their individual class.

Leipzig had to replace some injured key players, and Itxako was highly focused to overturn the result of Round 1.

Until the score of 7:8 the match was equal, but then the Spaniards – thanks to great saves of goalkeeper Silvia Navarro - extended the lead goal-by-goal.

The Germans made many errors after the break, which enabled Itxako to increase their advantage to 27:20. Even though the host reduced the gap, Itxako's victory was well deserved. Leipzig's Karolina Kudlacz was the top scorer of the match with nine goals.

Group C:

Oltchim Vâlcea – Randers HK 28:22 (12:9)

After two CL defeats in Randers and Larvik, and discussions about the future of coach Péter Kovács, the Romanian champion has found its way to the Main Round.

Thanks to the revenge gained against the Danish runners-up, Oltchim Vâlcea has qualified for the next stage with six points. But even if Oltchim wins the final duel (between last season’s semi-finalists) against Larvik next weekend they cannot become number one in this group ahead of the still unbeaten Norwegians.

The Randers defence stood strong at the beginning of the match and the Romanians had problems in finding their rhythm.

After 15 minutes Vâlcea improved, but the difference at the break was only three goals. This changed completely afterwards, as, especially, Ionela Stanca (top scorer with eight goals), Ramona Farcau (7) and Cristina Neagu all played a suberb second-half and decided the game early.

As Oltchim Vâlcea has qualified for the Main Round, Randers and Toulon (equal with two points) will fight for the third rank and the qualification for the Cup Winners` Cup next weekend. The French champion, host of the match, only needs a draw to go through, whereas Randers needs to win.

TEXT: Björn Pazen