Clear victories for last year's finalistsArticle
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Larvik and Itxako victorious again, Hypo lose a thriller against Randers in Round 2 of the EHF Women's Champions League.

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Clear victories for last year's finalists

In the EHF Women´s Champions League both of last year's finalists, Itxako and Larvik celebrate clear victories, whilst Danish FCM and Randers win in tight games.

Group A

FC Midtjylland (DEN) vs. Thüringer HC (GER) 23:20 (15:10)

German champions THC gave Ryan Zinglersen's FC Midtjylland a hard fight, but the home side won this duel thanks to their first half performance and now have the maximum four points in the bank, whilst the Germans remain without points in the tournament.

The first half was a great shooting battle between the big cannons, Line Jørgensen for the Danish side, and for the German back line, Katrin Engel (top scorer with 11 goals) and Petra Popluharova. Danish right-back Jørgensen was well-supported by her team mates and with the better shot efficiency, FCM built a nice advantage of 5-6 goals.

It’s well known among insiders that THC coach and motivator Herbert Müller never gives up on a match, and he typically demanded a more aggressive defence, and much more effective attacking for the second period. His players went all out, and from minute to minute, closed the gap to FCM. After 46 minutes they had the possibility to level the match.

Nevertheless, the Danes fought back hard and used every possible counter attack to score. Jørgensen and co. scored seven times on fast breaks, and at the end, this decided the match in favour of FCM.

Group B

Larvik (NOR) - HC Podravka Vegeta (CRO)
37:25 (18:17)

Larvik ironed out the failure of last weekend to defeat the Croatian champions and are now back in the frame for a spot in the Main Round. Podravka, on the other hand, stand without points in last position in the group.

Despite the Norwegian victory, it was the Croats who were dictating the game and only after Larvik's time out and goalkeeper change (Cecilie Leganger for Lene Rantala) could the Norwegian champion turn the game to a single-goal lead after half-time.

In the second half Miranda Tatari and her team-mates kept the game open for a long time, but the better physical condition of the Scandinavians decided the game. When Larvik started to increase the gap between the two teams, Podravka gave up and the game was clearly decided.

Group C

Hypo Niederösterreich (AUT) vs. Randers HK (DEN)
28:29 (19:14)

Despite Hypo showing great fighting spirit and big heart, Randers turned the match in the dying minutes and won the game in a rather lucky way.

The Austrians presented themselves in much better shape this week, and concentrated fully against Randers. The match developed quickly, with high tension and end-to-end action as spectators witnessed a match with quality handball.

Hypo gave a high quality performance for about 50 minutes with Viktória Soós and Fernanda Franca da Silva playing their best, but then coach András Németh´s team tired, which allowed the strong-fighting Danes to level the match.

The last 10 minutes were thrilling, as both teams fought equally hard for every ball. Randers had the lucky ending, and with this victory, they lead the group.

Group D

Grupo Asfi Itxako Navarra (ESP) vs. Buxtehuder SV (GER)
32:21 (15:10)

Favourite Itxako celebrated a clear victory against newcomer Buxtehuder SV and lead the group with the maximum of four points.

Team spirit and unity is the key to success, and these qualities were the trademark of today's home victory. Coach Ambros Martín has to be pleased with his side's performance. High-class defence had been built in front of goalkeeper Silvia Navarro, and with great rotation throughout the match, 12 of the outfield players scored goals. In addition, Begoña Fernández and Nerea Peña celebrated their return from injury.

This great Spanish success is a good sign before the Navarra-based team faces heavyweight CS Oltchim Râmnicu Vâlcea next weekend.

TEXT: Márk Hegedüs