Decisive phase continuesArticle
«Go back

Who will go to the Main Round and Cup Winners´ Cup after the matches this weekend?

»EHF CL Channel »2011-12 Women's News

Decisive phase continues

Four rounds have been played in the EHF Champions League, and only one club, Budućnost, has qualified for the Main Round, so far.

The other teams will continue to battle for a place in the top 8 this weekend, with every match having great significance for the outcome of the final standings.

We must also consider the lower halves of the group tables, as the third-placed teams will continue in the Cup Winners´ Cup. has live coverage of Budućnost vs. Thüringer HC, Larvik vs. Viborg HK, Grupo Asfi Itxako Navarra vs. Dinamo Volgograd and C.S. Oltchim Rm. Vâlcea vs. Buxtehuder SV, but regional restrictions apply. Click HERE for listings.
For regional TV listings of all the EHF Women's Champions League matches click HERE.


FC Midtjylland (DEN) vs. Byåsen (NOR)
Saturday 5 November, 13:00 hrs (local time)

With one point at home, FCM can reach the top 8, whilst for the Norwegians, only a victory will count in the race for a Main Round spot.

The Danes impressed greatly last weekend against Thüringer HC, allowing only slight fluctuations in their game plan. FCM used their fast attacks, and their speedy wingers to score, and with Lærke Møller returning, they have their important playmaker back in the team. As a warm-up, coach Ryan Zinglersen´s side defeated Aalborg in the Danish league by 26:24, with Dutch international Nycke Groot as the top scorer with seven goals.

Byåsen, on the other hand, were without a chance in Montenegro and remain with only two points in position three in the group. Tonje Nøstvold and her team-mates need to win twice to have a lucky end and reach the Main Round. During the week, the main focus was on a league game against Levanger, where coach Valery Putans´ girls performed well to win by 10 goals. Nøstvold was the top scorer with 8 goals, and Camilla Herrem and Raja Toumi followed her, with 7 goals apiece.

Budućnost (MNE) vs. Thüringer HC (GER)
Sunday 6 November, 19:30 hrs (local time)

Live on (regional restrictions apply)

On paper, the clearest match of the round, with top team Budućnost hosting THC, the German champions, who are without points.

The hosts are already qualified for the Main Round after four rounds, and with four straight victories, they´re the only undefeated team in the EHF Champions League. Therefore, Dragan Adžić´s team is marching as strongly in the tournament as last season.

Their Sunday opponent Thüringer HC had massive problems last weekend, when the Germans struggled in attack and missed five 7 m penalties. Coach Müller wasn´t at all pleased with the shot efficiency of his back-court.


RK Krim Mercator (SLO) vs. HC Podravka Vegeta (CRO)
Saturday 5 November, 17:30 hrs (local time)

With a victory over their neighbour Podravka, Krim can repeat last year´s success of qualifying for the Main Round. The Croats will play only for pride, as with only one point from four games, they stand last in the group.

The Slovenians had a horrid start against Viborg, but made an amazing catch-up phase to draw at the end. This gained point might be decisive for the final result. Coach Tone Tiselj said that "the two teams know each other very well. Podravka´s team has been together longer and their point at Viborg shows real quality and character." Former Podravka player Kristina Franić hopes for two points: "So far we have not achieved anything. We need two points to reach our first goal."

Podravka need a miracle to qualify for the Main Round and despite a strong presentation against Larvik, the Croats suffered their second home defeat: "The whole game was encouraging, and we played good defence. We provided great resistance against the title defender, but we lost everything and therefore we are very sad," commented team captain Miranda Tatari.

Admission to the game in Arena Stožice is free.

Larvik (NOR) vs. Viborg HK (DEN)
Saturday 5 November, 14:45 hrs (local time)

Live on (regional restrictions apply)

Larvik are back on track again and the Norwegians want to iron-out the first round loss, when they were massacred by Viborg. The Danes drew twice in the last rounds and those lost points could be decisive when it comes down to which team qualifies for the top 8.

Line player Anja Althaus won´t play due to injury, but despite the small odds for a Main Round spot, Viborg´s captain Henriette Mikkelsen believes in a miracle: "We have to take one match at a time. It is not impossible to win in Larvik, we have done it before. If we celebrate victory, everyone will be ready to beat the Croats as well."

"Obviously, it is not the dream situation, but our whole squad believes in it and this is important. Also, Larvik are under pressure, they can still lose their Main Round place," added the wing player.

In Norway, great expectations await the clash. The demand for tickets is high and the Larvik crew is expecting the season´s highlight so far. The Norwegians had an easy warm-up match in the league, where they defeated Stabæk 34:21 with 12 goals from top scorer Linn Jørum Sulland.


Hypo Niederösterreich (AUT) vs. Metz Handball (FRA)
Saturday 5 November, 20:20 hrs (local time)

Hypo, without points in the tournament, have no chance for the Main Round, whilst Metz could still qualify for the top 8.

The Austrians had an improved game in Denmark, and yet it was not enough to earn point(s) against Randers. Coach András Németh´s team had some good phases in the match, but with more fluctuations, the experienced Danes had no problems in winning.

The French champions were overrun by Győr and clearly lost on home soil. Metz might count on back-court player Marion Limal against Hypo, but centre back Ekaterina Andryushina is questionable.

Interestingly, a victory is not a must for the away side, as, assuming favoured AUDI ETO beat Randers in Hungary, with a home victory over Randers in the last round, coach Sébastien Gardillou´s team would end as second in the group.

Nevertheless, after a league victory over Issy Paris, the Lorraine-based club looks forward to the game in Austria with maximum enthusiasm.

Győri Audi ETO (HUN) vs. Randers HK (DEN)
Saturday 5 November, 16:30 (local time)

The top Hungarian club is gelling together better and better in the EHF Champions League, and in their away duel against Metz, coach Csaba Konkoly´s team finally showed its strength. This was what fans and insiders awaited from the super-strong squad of AUDI ETO. Randers on the other hand collected two points against Hypo with a good performance, but had several fluctuations in their game plan.

The Danes had a league game on Wednesday evening, losing at home against Esbjerg, and face several problems in both, attack and defence. Except for goalkeeper Chana Masson, no one was able to maintain a quality performance throughout the 60 minutes of the match, and coach Jan Leslie´s players looked tired and lacking in enthusiasm.

Rehabilitation will be a key element if the Danes want to surprise the Hungarians, who are on a good run of improved performances. Except for Orsolya Vérten, everyone is ready to play. Csaba Konkoly will face a tough decision about which goalkeeper he´ll let start the game, as both Katrine Lunde Haraldsen and Katalin Pálinger have shown top form recently.


Grupo Asfi Itxako Navarra (ESP) vs. Dinamo Volgograd (RUS)
Saturday 5 November, 19:00 hrs (local time)

Live on (regional restrictions apply)

For Dinamo, a victory is a must to remain in the race for a top 8 place, whilst Itxako can qualify for the Main Round with a victory.

For Itxako, Dinamo´s surprise win over Oltchim shuffled the cards in the group again, as the Russians still have chances to reach the top 8. Coach Ambros Martín is aware of the need for points for his side, so he expects a fully-motivated Spanish team in this great clash.

Dinamo are back on track again, as they have celebrated two straight wins in the EHF Champions League and they also lead the Russian championship. However, Anna Kochetova and her team-mates will still need a victory in this away duel. It´ll be a tough match for the Russians, as they are not so strong in away matches, and in addition, Itxako is usually very strong at home.

C.S. Oltchim Rm. Vâlcea (ROU) vs. Buxtehuder SV (GER)
Sunday 6 November, 18:00 hrs (local time)

Live on (regional restrictions apply)

Another clear game on paper: normally, the strong Romanians should not have problems at home against the German runner-up, that is still looking for its first point in the EHF Champions League.

Nevertheless, Buxtehude made Itxako´s life hard last weekend, as the Germans fought till the dying seconds, and only lost by a single goal. In a mid-week match, coach Drik Leun´s team drew with Leverkusen. Their trainer was very pleased with their strong defence, but also emphasized their problems in executing clear-cut chances in attack.

For Oltchim, a home victory could mean qualification for the top 8 and there is no question that Radu Voina´s team seldom fails in their own arena. Their vocal fans will give maximum support to the host to help them fulfill their aim.

For regional TV listings of all the EHF Women's Champions League matches click HERE.

TEXT: Márk Hegedüs