Exciting last round matchesArticle
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Győr, Krim, Larvik and Metz progress to the Main Round of the EHF Women´s Champions League.

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Exciting last round matches

Thrilling matches and exciting moments in the last round games of the group phase. Everything is clear now: eight teams will continue in the Main Round, four will try their luck in the Cup Winners´ Cup, whilst four bid farewell to this year´s European Cup season.

Despite a Krim home defeat, the Slovenians celebrate big-time in Ljubljana, as Viborg lost its match narrowly in Croatia.

With Győr´s well-fought and hard victory over Hypo, the Hungarians take the French champion Metz with them to the top 8.

Group A

Thüringer HC (GER) vs. Byåsen (NOR) 28:28 (12:15)

The German champions have gained and lost one point on the final day of the group phase of the EHF Women´s Champions League. Nora Reiche scored just after the final whistle, so the clash against Byåsen finished as draw.

Without four important players, Thüringer HC had the better start, with Herbert Müller´s team having a two-goal lead after nine minutes.

Then their opponent found the pace of the game and fought back bravely to take a 10:7 lead. The Norwegians retained their 3-goal gap until half-time.

After the break, a determined THC returned from the dressing rooms, and with great efforts, Kerstin Wohlbold leveled the match at 16:16. The two teams were very evenly matched and a tough fight ensued to decide the winner.

Byåsen showed themselves to be the stronger unit, taking the lead by a four-goal margin, but with one of their trademark comebacks, THC clawed their way back into the match to make it 28:26 two minutes before the final whistle.

The Norwegians, however, scored two straight goals to make it a draw.

With fourth place in the group, Thüringer HC have finished their European Cup season after the group phase of the EHF Women´s Champions League.

FC Midtjylland and Budućnost have qualified for the Main Round, whilst Byåsen will continue in the Cup Winners´ Cup.

Group B

RK Krim Mercator (SLO) vs. Larvik (NOR) 19:22 (11:11)

Despite a home defeat, Krim celebrate a happy ending, as the Slovenians also continue to the Main Round, thanks to Podravka´s victory over Viborg.

A record number of spectators in Arena Stožice witnessed an all or nothing game for both sides, as it was clear that the winner would advance to the top 8.

Therefore Krim were very determined from the start, and with a fighting spirit and a 6-0 defence, the hosts caused massive problems for Larvik.

However, the home side had huge problems in exploiting its chances in attack. Their efficiency was below-average and the list of technical errors long. Despite this, Krim were the leading force in the first half and Larvik the team for the catch-up.

20 minutes before the end, the title defender established a two-goal lead thanks to the marvelous saves of Cecilia Leganger, and then the Amanda Kurtović show started. So, after 47 minutes, Larvik led by 3.

Krim´s defence still stood rock solid, but their attacking wasn’t working well, which made coach Tone Tiselj very nervous in the dying minutes.

Larvik were able to maintain their lead to the final whistle, causing the Slovenians to remain silent and subdued for several minutes. The atmosphere changed dramatically when news filtered through that their neighbours´ match in Koprivnica had ended with a home victory, meaning that Krim had, unexpectedly, secured a top 8 place.

HC Podravka Vegeta (CRO) vs. Viborg HK (DEN) 28:27 (13:14)

Podravka have said a nice farewell with a victory over multiple EHF CL winner Viborg for their first home win in the season.

Despite an early home lead of 4:0, the game was on eye level for a long time. With excellent defence and again a strong Christina Pedersen in goal, the Danes relatively quickly equalized and then moved ahead towards the break, when they led by one goal.

The beginning of the second half was also quite reasonable for the away side, as Rikke Skov continued to score as often as she could, meaning a two-goal lead for her side.

20 minutes before the final whistle things started to go wrong for the Danes, as error followed error in the attacking game, and the defence didn’t stand as strongly as in the first 30 minutes.

The hosts, thanks to the goals of Sanja Damnjanović (with 10 goals, the top scorer) and Maja Kožnjak, first leveled, and then turned the match. This meant that 10 minutes before the final whistle the hosts had a comfortable three-goal lead.

With Louise Bager Due in the Danish goal, and with counter attack goals by fast winger Henriette Mikkelsen, Viborg reduced the gap to a single goal two minutes before the end.

The Croats however scored in their final attack, so Rikke Skov´s eight goals didn´t matter for the final result in the group.

With fourth place in the group, Podravka Vegeta have finished their European Cup season after the group phase of the EHF Women´s Champions League.

RK Krim Mercator and Larvik have qualified for the Main Round, whilst Viborg HK will continue in the Cup Winners´ Cup.


Győri Audi ETO (HUN) vs. Hypo Niederösterreich (AUT) 37:29 (17:12)

It seemed in the first half that the Hungarians had learned from their Austrian nightmare on Wednesday, when they suffered a surprise loss against Hypo, as a more determined Audi ETO controlled the match from the early minutes.

Hypo´s Bernadett Temes suffered an injury, and without her, coach András Németh´s team didn´t find the right rhythm in this match, which allowed the hosts to establish a clear lead before the break.

The same enthusiastic performance was expected in the second half by the vocal Hungarian supporters, but it was the opponents who emerged from the dressing rooms with a freshness that enabled them to quickly cut the hosts´ lead to 19:18, forcing Csaba Konkoly to take a quick time out.

Hypo continued impressively, and with a 5-1 defence, they disturbed the Hungarian back-court and leveled the match in the 39 minute.

Supported by their frenetic fans, the hosts didn´t give up. They showed their strength through their strong back-court with Andrea Lekić, and right winger Jovanka Radičević, who scored at will to become the match top scorer with 12 goals.

The home side was back in the game with a three-goal lead which was extended to eight goals in the dying minutes. So, Győri Audi ETO took revenge for the Wednesday defeat and won the group with two points ahead of Metz.

With their fourth place in the group, Hypo Niederösterreich have finished their European Cup season after the group phase of the EHF Women´s Champions League.

Győri Audi ETO and Metz Handball have qualified for the Main Round, whilst Randers HK will continue in the Cup Winners´ Cup. 

Group D

C.S. Oltchim Rm. Vâlcea (ROU) vs. Grupo Asfi Itxako Navarra (ESP) 30:22 (11:13)

Romania´s champions Oltchim have defeated last year´s finalist Itxako after two very different halves and finish as the group winner. The Spaniards end up second, but both teams qualify for the Main Round.

The pace in the first half was imposed by the away side who went into the interval with the advantage. With a tough defence, especially with speedy counter attacks, Itxako were hard to beat and seemed more ambitious.

Too many mistakes happened on the Romanian side, but Oltchim recovered explosively after about 40 minutes thanks to the saves of Talida Tolnai and the superb attacking skills of Yeliz Özel. Therefore, everything ended well for them to the applause of 3000 frenetic supporters.

The Romanian champions finished the group phase with 10 points, two points ahead of Itxako. The game had a special meaning for the hosts´ line-player Ionela Stanca, who is pregnant and has played her last game of the current season in the Oltchim jersey.

Top goalscorers were Ardean Elisei with 10 goals for the hosts, whilst Alexandrina Barbosa scored seven times for Itxako.

Dinamo Volgograd (RUS) vs. Buxtehuder SV (GER) 29:23 (13:11)

The German runner-up finished without points in the EHF Champions League, as Dirk Leun´s team lost their final game against Russian champions Dinamo Volgograd.

Nevertheless, the Germans produced a strong game with a great Jana Krause between the sticks.

The winners also had a strong goalkeeper in Anna Sedoykina, who has been marvelous in goal in recent weeks. She was also on top form today, when she regularly frustrated the German back-court players.

Top scorers were Olga Levina with 9 goals for the hosts, whilst Randy Bülau scored 5 times for Buxtehude.

With their fourth place in the group, Buxtehuder SV have finished their European Cup season after the group phase of the EHF Women´s Champions League.

C.S. Oltchim Rm. Vâlcea and Grupo Asfi Itxako Navarra have qualified for the Main Round, whilst Dinamo Volgograd will continue in the Cup Winners´ Cup.

The Main Round draw will take place on 15 November 2011 at 11 am in the EHF office in Vienna.

TEXT: Márk Hegedüs