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EHF expert Grit Jurack looks ahead upon the final of the Women’s EHF Champions League. In her eyes Győr are by four per cent closer to the title than Larvik.

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BLOG: Sometime and somehow series of Győr must come to an end

Since the start of this season, Grit Jurack is the official EHF expert for the Women’s EHF Champions League. The German right back, three times winner of the competition with Danish side Viborg HK in 2006, 2009 and 2010, exclusively gives her personal prediction for the final of Larvik HK vs. Győri Audi ETO KC – and additionally gives views behind the curtain, what a final means to a player.

Grit Jurack is the German record international and record goal scorer with the national team and quit her career in 2012. Jurack also had been among the EHF experts for the 2012 Women’s EHF EURO in Serbia.

…on the semi-final results:
It happened as I had predicted before the matches. When Krim were able to avoid the counter-attacks of Larvik they were ahead, but when they caused too many mistakes in attack like in the second leg, they were down, punished by those counter-attacks.

The matches of Győr and Vâlcea were really stunners, and finally my former Viborg team mate Katrine Lunde saved the finals for Győr. And one can see how close it was when even Győr coach Ambros Martín said that Vâlcea would have been a deserved finalist.

…on the final:
By only looking upon the countries involved I would usually say that Norway will beat Hungary. But: The two best Norwegians play for the Hungarian side, Heidi Løke and Katrine Lunde.

…on the two opponents:
Győr are my personal favourite – but only by a percentage of 52:48. Győr play their third EHF Champions League final and they have been participants in overall seven EHF European Cup finals, they never took the trophy. Sometimes and somehow this series must come to an end. And in previous years one could say something of Hungarian mentality – but nowadays Győr have a quite international team with international players and a Spanish coach.

Larvik have nothing to lose in those final matches. I think that they were not sure of reaching the finals before the start of this season. They can rely on top goalkeepers, a brilliant defence and counter-attacks, like they have proved in the second leg of the semi-finals. But in case their opponents force them to play an organised attack they have problems. And in my opinion this will and should be the tactics of Győr.

…the crucial duels of the finals:
Of course the goalkeeping will decide the final. Lunde on the one hand and Cecilie Leganger and Lene Rantala on Larvik side. All three of them will be highly motivated and also motivating for their teams, all can show incredible performances, all can decide matches on their own. And they can count on a strong defence – this is why I expect two highly close matches – but it is a final!

Concerning the significance of field players it is always hard to predict. If you have an outstanding shooter in your team, the rest of the squad must play for him or her, the tactics must be adapted for those shooters. So I do not see one single field player, but the team.

The most complete player on the final courts in my opinion is neither Anita Görbicz, nor Gro Hamerseng, but Győr’s Serbian right back Andrea Lekić. She is perfect in defence, has a great shot and a brilliant eye for their team mates.

…Győr’s home right in the second leg:
I do not think that it is so important and I am even convinced that it might be a disadvantage for them. In the whole season they played stronger in away matches – and of course it might be a bad omen for them playing in Veszprém.

Győr lost two encounters they played there – the 2009 final against us and the 2013 semi-final against Vâlcea. Maybe it needs some time to adapt to the arena for the players, but latest when 5000 fans cheer for you, you should realize that it is a home match.

…on how players prepare for finals:
Of course, you are much more nervous than before other matches. But in my case this nervousness was gone after five minutes of the match. Then it was a game, and I did not have in mind that it was a final.

…on printing “champions-T-Shirts” before the final:
Every team do it, regardless what the result of the first leg was. Have you ever seen a champions’ picture without these shirts? Never! Of course also the final loser had produced them, but they remain in the suitcase which will never be opened…

…on her best EHF Champions League trophy parties with Viborg:
We had chartered our own airplanes for the finals 2009 in Veszprém and 2010 in Vâlcea – and we really made a big celebration in the air. But after those long travels and matches I was mostly tired, so it was not a really party for me.

…on her trophy cabinet at home:
I do not have so much silverware at home, I think we got some medals after our EHF Champions League victories. But in contrast to my former teammate Bojana Popović, who was allowed to take last season’s trophy to her flat in Podgorica, I never had one of our trophies at home. But I am not Bojana, and she really deserves it.

TEXT: Grit Jurack, three-time EHF Champions League winner