Battle of the titansArticle
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Top class pivots Simona Spiridon and Heidi Løke, possibly about to switch clubs, will meet on Saturday.

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Battle of the titans

Line players Simona Spiridon (of Győri Audi ETO KC) and Heidi Løke (of Larvik HK) are the main pillars of their respective clubs, and have contributed greatly to the success and marvellous results of their teams in this year’s EHF Champions League campaign.

The 30-year-old central defender Spiridon is an important member of her team, not only in defence, but also in attack, where she has a great co-operation with the back players and is responsible for several goals and 7 meter penalties.

The Norwegian international Løke, who scored 15 times in the first two rounds of the current competition phase, is leading the top-scorer list of the tournament with an incredible 63 goals.

After an impressive EHF EURO 2010, where Løke was nominated to the All Star Team, it came as shocking news to the Larvik fans that she will leave the team, that she has been playing for since the season 2008/2009.

Her new club will be another top team, Hungary’s Audi ETO Győr, where she signed a 2-year contract:

"As we have great objectives for the following seasons, it’s clear that we want to recruit from the world’s best players, and Heidi is definitely one of those," said Audi ETO’s president Attila Vanyus.

The EHF EURO 2010 gold medallist explained why she chose the Hungarian champions as her next club: "Audi ETO’s goalkeeper Katrine Lunde Haraldsen confirmed to me that the Hungarian club is well-organized and with safe financial background. They have excellent training conditions, and the whole environment and mood is great. Besides this, I’m looking for new challenges, so Győr fits just perfectly."

With Løke’s signing on New Year´s Eve, fans in Győr immediately started to worry what would happen with their beloved pivot Spiridon. One month later it became clear that she would leave the Hungarians after 5 successful years and would look for new challenges.

Interestingly, she has recently been put in touch with Løke’s soon-to-be former club Larvik: "I’m indeed in negotiation with them, but also with two other clubs playing in Europe’s top tournament, the EHF CL," the Austrian international confirmed.

"With Larvik I still have to discuss several matters before I sign a contract. I consider them as a strong club, where I feel that I could quickly be integrated, and I’d be able to play with full capacity, as their game plan fits my style perfectly," commented Spiridon.

So, it seems there might be a slight possibility that the two top players might switch clubs in the summer of 2011, which would make the next EHF CL season a highly interesting one.

Before this happens, the two world class pivots will face each other on the handball court, as Larvik play host to Győr in their new arena on Saturday.

The two clubs are leading Group 2 with the maximum amount of points and they are considered main candidates for the two semi-final spots from their group. In their clash they will both go for victory and the number one position.

"It will be a very tough game that we have to win, like all remaining games," said Heidi Løke. "My dream scenario is to win the final of the EHF Champions League with Larvik against my future team Győr," continued the Norwegian player.

"Next season it has to be the opposite, as then I’ll fully dedicate myself to my new club," added Løke.

Spiridion and her team-mates will try to stop Larvik by causing a surprise and stealing the first away points from the strong Norwegians who are still unbeaten at home.

With the backing of their loyal fans – who will make the long trip to support the team in Norway – anything seems possible for Spiridon: "Our fans are very dedicated. They are the number one fans in my eyes, as they have a big heart for the team. Therefore, I wish to satisfy them with a good result in Larvik."

EHF Women’s Champions League, Main Round, Round 3
Saturday 19 February 2011, 17:45 hrs (local time)
Larvik HK (NOR) vs. Györi AUDI ETO KC (HUN)

TEXT: Márk Hegedüs, Ildikó Balogh