Three newcomers and six former championsArticle
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QUALIFICATION REVIEW: HCM Baia Mare and WHC Vardar Skopje joined Balonmano Bera Bera on the list of this season's newcomers. Three-time champions from Viborg will try to redeem the qualification failure in the Cup Winners' Cup.

»EHF CL Channel »2013-14 Women's News

Three newcomers and six former champions

Fourteen nations are represented in the Group Matches of the Women's EHF Champions League. That is the fact after the last three out of the 16 participants were found Sunday, when the last three qualification groups were finalised.

The new season will see big premieres of three newcomers - Balonmano Bera Bera, HCM Baia Mare and WHC Vardar Skopje.

Hungary and Germany with a double representation

Only two countries are represented by more than one team. Hungary has the same two teams in the competition as last year.

While reigning champions Győri Audi ETO KC had qualified directly for the group stage, FTC Rail Cargo Hungária followed them on Sunday, as they won the all-Hungarian final in Qualification Group 2 31:24 against Érd.

Germany is the other country to have two teams in the competition, just like they had last year. While Thüringer HC were also in the Group Matches last season, Buxtehude will be replaced this season by HC Leipzig who won Qualification Group 1.

France, FYR Macedonia, Spain and Poland are back after not having been represented last season.

French champions Metz Handball returned to the group stage, while the Macedonian capital Skopje is also represented again, but not by Kometal, like for many years in the past. Instead, there is a new kid on the playground – WHC Vardar SCBT, who are debutants in the CL.

The Macedonian powerhouse won Qualification Group 4 in style. Finally, another Champions League debutant, Balonmano Bera Bera is ready to defend the Spanish colors, while Polish champions MKS Lublin are celebrating their comeback to the Champions League for the first time in ten years.

One former champion out – four still in the race

Russia, who had two teams in the Champions League last season – Zvezda Zvenigorod (who even reached the main round) and Dinamo Volgograd – will not be represented this year, as Rostov-Don failed to qualify, while Denmark only has one team in the tournament for the first time in many years.

National champions FC Midtjylland will be the only Danish team in the group stage, as the Champions League winners from 2006, 2009 and 2010, Viborg HK did not make it from the qualification tournament, and neither did Team Tvis Holstebro.

Romania's representation has also been reduced from two teams to one, compared to last year. HCM Baia Mare, who won Qualification Group 3, can look forward to their first Champions League adventure in history.

While Viborg will not get the chance to win their fourth Champions League title, six other teams, who have all lifted the trophy before, are still in the race.

Along with defending title holders Győr, former Champions League winners Krim Ljubljana, Podravka Vegeta, Budućnost, Larvik HK and Hypo Niederösterreich are all to be found in this season´s tournament

Women's EHF Champions League Group Matches 2013/14:
Group A: Győri Audi ETO (HUN), Thüringer HC (GER), Hypo Niederösterreich (AUT), HCM Baia Mare (ROM)
Group B: Budućnost (MNE), FC Midtjylland (DEN), MKS Lublin (POL), FTC-Rail Cargo Hungária (HUN)
Group C: RK Krim Mercator (SLO), Metz Handball (FRA), IK Sävehof (SWE), HC Leipzig (GER)
Group D: Larvik (NOR), Balonmano Bera Bera (ESP), HC Podravka Vegeta (CRO), WHC Vardar SCBT (MKD)


TEXT: Peter Bruun / br