Big blow for Larvik in DenmarkArticle
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The title defenders lost clearly in Round 1 of the Women's EHF Champions League; victories for FCM, Metz and Itxako.

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Big blow for Larvik in Denmark

Four more games followed after the opening match on Friday in the Women´s EHF Champions League, and the title defender Larvik already lost its first round match, Danish Viborg impressively defeating the Norwegians.


Byåsen (NOR) vs. FC Midtjylland (DEN) 17:19 (8:11)

With FCM´s away victory, Denmark beat Norway 2:0 in the two games of Round 1 of the EHF Champions League. The `black` day of the Norwegians continued after Larvik´s miserable performance in Viborg, as Byåsen couldn´t save Norwegian pride either.

Ryan Zinglersen´s FCM (last year´s Danish champions) allowed the Norwegians no chance and brought home two important points in the race for a spot in the Main Round. The Danes played a much-focused match and used their game plan as effectively as possible, although shot efficiency from both sides was very low, resulting in a combined total of only 36 goals.

The audience didn´t witness any spectacular moves or tactics from Trine Troelsen and co., but well-executed FCM attacks and goals after 3-4 moves.

Three minutes before the end, line player June Andenaes leveled the game at 16:16, but the away side quickly scored three goals in a row to celebrate a well-deserved victory.

In this game Byåsen somehow lacked concentration, with players often hitting the woodwork or with FCM´s Sabine Englert saving well between the sticks.


Viborg HK (DEN) vs. Larvik (NOR) 34:28 (22:10)

The EHF Champions League winners of the last two years met in this Nordic duel, where it wasn’t obvious that Larvik were the defending champions, and Viborg, the lucky team that came to the CL through a wild card after last year´s disastrous performance in both CL and the Danish league.

The Danes showed a great signs of life again and crushed Tonje Larsen and her team mates with ease. They demonstrated powerful handball and beat their opponents with their most effective weapon, the fast break - the trademark of last year´s Larvik.

Martin Albertsen´s local team produced a massive game. His players stood like wall in defence, and used every counter-attack to score. With Isabelle Gulldén´s `golden` goals (10 in just the first half) they produced one of the biggest shocks for the Norwegian title defender in recent years. "The Viborg players were much better in every aspect of the game and that’s how you win handball matches," commented a disappointed Lene Rantala on the loss.


Metz Handball (FRA) vs. Hypo Niederösterreich (AUT) 30:21 (16:10)

The Moselle-based team overran and clearly defeated the Austrians in a one-sided game, where the French showed a physically strong performance with a good variety of shots from their back line and from the line.

Hypo, missing their team captain Ale Nascimento, started very nervously, and coach Németh´s team quickly found themselves 5-6 goals behind, as the home team used every opportunity to score and had no problems in starting several counter-attacks.

Not even a 5+1 defense could help them to disturb Metz´s attacks, so the local team had no problems in the second half to extend the lead and win this match in an impressive manner.

After this clear defeat the Austrians will face another hard task next weekend, when they meet the Danish runner-up Randers in their first home match, whilst Metz travel to Hungary to play Győri AUDI ETO.


Dinamo Volgograd (RUS) vs. Grupo Asfi Itxako Navarra (ESP) 25:27 (11:14)

It was a tight game in Russia, as expected, with Itxako showing, as last season, that they are a force to be reckoned with.

Despite missing several players, the Spaniards controlled the match from the early minutes and gave no chance to the strong home side of Dinamo.

Led by Macarena Aguilar, the runner-up of the EHF CL built a 2-3 goals advantage at the beginning and was able to maintain the gap until the final whistle. It wasn’t only Itxako´s playmaker who gave her best, but all of her team-mates also contributed well to this important success in Round 1.

Dinamo and Olga Levina played a decent game and came very close towards the end of the two halves, but finally lost in an exciting finish.

"We had a long summer break and were not ready yet physically against such strong Itxako. Nevertheless I think that we´ll go on in the group to the Main Round," told Dinamo´s Tatiana Khmyrova.

Despite the defeat, the Russians should not fear for the future, as with such powerful performance they will have good chances next weekend in Romania against Oltchim who had a mediocre performance in Germany on Friday.

TEXT: Márk Hegedüs