Győr’s campaign in safe handsArticle
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Katalin Pálinger aims to repay fans by beating Larvik HK in the last Main Round match.

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Győr’s campaign in safe hands

Hungary’s Győri Audi ETO have reached the semi-final stage of the EHF Champions League for the fifth consecutive time. And with their reinforced team, the Hungarians aim high this season. They reached the final on one previous occasion, when they lost to Danish counterparts Viborg HK.

On the goalkeeper position Csaba Konkoly’s team is backed by the fantastic duo Katrine Lunde Haraldsen and Katalin Pálinger. Both keepers save with a high percentage, and so far they have conceded the smallest amount of goals in the EHF CL Main Round. talked to Hungarian National Team goalkeeper Katalin Pálinger about the differences to last season, the shared workload with Haraldsen, and the last round match against Larvik. Last weekend you were great in goal again. How do you feel after your rib injury?

Katalin Pálinger: The injury feels much better now, but the first few weeks were terribly hard, as I often wasn’t able to sleep well. I’m still visiting the doctor, but as a professional I don’t complain, and it doesn’t hurt anymore. In the EHF Champions League, Győri Audi ETO celebrated easy home victories plus fantastic away games. What’s the difference between today’s and last year’s ETO?

Katalin Pálinger: So far everything went well and despite some small mistakes in our game play we’ve been able to deliver quality performances.

The key to success lies in our team unity and hard preparation for each game. Also, our form timing is perfect, and we are in better shape physically when we face the tougher opponents. With your colleague Katrine Lunde Haraldsen you form a pair of extraordinary goalkeepers. From the outside, it appears that you harmonize very well - can you confirm that?

Katalin Pálinger: Indeed we form a good duo! We often communicate with each other and exchange ideas about handball. We discuss several handball-related topics, be it field or goalkeeping situations, or saving techniques. Motivation plays another key role. During the training sessions, was there anything you could teach Katrine, and did you learn something 'extra' from her?

Katalin Pálinger: Yes, certainly! For example, in saving techniques we can learn from each other a lot. I often show her the way I would save a shot more effectively and it works vice versa as well. You often divide a game, playing a half each. Do you prefer to start from the beginning, or to enter the court for the second half?

Katalin Pálinger: This is a topic we continuously discuss with each other and with our goalkeeper coach István Bakos. Both situations have their advantages and disadvantages.

Sometimes it’s better to be in the starting line-up and play after the warm-up from the early minutes onwards. Sometimes I prefer to start in the second half, as during the first I can observe the opponent and their shooting techniques. Last year’s finalists Viborg and Oltchim are both out, but the two other semi-finalists of last season, Győr and Larvik, are still in the competition. Are those two teams the favourites for winning the EHF Champions League?

Katalin Pálinger: They’re certainly great candidates for winning this elite tournament, but in the other group there are two superb clubs as well. Maybe the Spaniards are a bit of a surprise with their progress to the Top 4, but if a club reaches the semi-final, then it surely deserves it. There is no easy competitor among the Top 4. Do you have a preference for a semi-final opponent? Would you prefer to face Budućnost or Itxako in April?

Katalin Pálinger: As both teams are good, it’s hard to choose, and if we aim to win the EHF Champions League, we need to get past every opponent. The Montenegrins have been greatly reinforced with Bojana Popović, and they have an extraordinary back court which is hard to stop.

The Spaniards often defend in an unusually aggressive and open way, and this can be very disturbing for their opponents! Also, Itxako’s attacking game play is based on several switch movements, which is their speciality. What do you expect from the weekend game against Larvik?

Katalin Pálinger: We would like to serve our fantastic fans as best as possible by winning this last Main Round match. Then, we aim to focus exclusively and with top dedication on the semi-finals!

Can Katalin Pálinger and her team-mates from Győr beat the Norwegian champions for a second time? The top match and decisive battle for group victory in Group 2 will be broadcast as a free-of-charge live web stream on

EHF Women’s Champions League, Main Round, Round 6
Sunday 20 March 2011, 18:15 hrs (local time)
Győri Audi ETO KC (HUN) vs. Larvik HK (NOR) is the official Internet TV platform of the European Handball Federation and offers free live streaming as well as a video on demand service.

TEXT: Márk Hegedüs