No weight on FCM shoulders ahead of the semi-final with GyörArticle
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Semi-final preview: The support of the home crowd can go either way for the defending champions in their match against FC Midtjylland.

No weight on FCM shoulders ahead of the semi-final with Györ

The reigning Women's EHF Champions League holders start the campaign of defending their title against Danish side FC Midtjylland, who might be newcomers and heavy underdogs coming up against probably the best team in the MVM EHF FINAL4, but as opposed to their opponents they can play entirely free from pressure.

"They are not just the holders of the title, they are the probable winners of this one, too. But it takes the weights off from our shoulders, we can play as we want to, there is nothing to lose," Midtjylland right back Line Jörgensen said.

Squad depth decisive

Győr concede more and score less goals than last year which combined to a less convincing display this year but Ambros Martin’s team improved a lot through the season and the holders believe they will reach top form by the time their semi-final begins on Saturday. The Danish outfit on the other hand fought hard to reach the MVM EHF FINAL4, which is already a great achievement but will be eager to put up a fight against the defending champions.

The new format requires outstanding physical condition and long, reliable and variable benches. Győr have all these – though coach Martin tends to use his reserves a lot less then last year – but Midtjylland could be in trouble when it comes to freshing up the line-up or providing their stars a minute to take a breath. As far as game options and tactical variability are concerned Győr are favourites to reach the final as the Danes’ excellent starting line-up lacks the requisite backing from their bench.

"The circumstances are more comfortable for us, also because we didn’t have to travel far for the FINAL4. We have some pressure on us, but not far more different than in the last year, because we could win the cup finally," Györ captain Anita Görbicz said.

"The tournament will be harder because we will have only 60 minutes, but the crowd will help us to get through. We only focus on the semifinal. There are three Hungarian teams in all three big European final tournaments, and it is a really big thing for us, because the world can see how strong the Hungarian handball is," she added.

Defences to provide fastbreak chances

While the burden of goalscoring is well-shared among players from the Danish diamond (the shooting compartment in the middle lead the scorers’ list at Midtjylland Stine Jörgensen being the protagonist) they will face a stern test against the massive Győr wall backed by Katrine Lunde.

Győr have more defensive options, which can be decisive from both the point of view of fastbreaks and burning the opponent’s energies. Another decisive factor could be the efficiency of goalkeepers, with Sabine Englert and Lunde in goals we’ll see the duel of two of the world’s best goalkeepers whose contribution may as well decide the semi final.

Győr lead head-to-head comparison

The Danes as Midtjylland have never won against Győr the Hungarian team assertively won both outings in 2012 but as Ikast they even snatched a victory in Győr in the Champions League group stage. The Danes have their own share in the final’s phobia of the Hungarians as Ikast won the EHF Cup final vs. Győr in 2002. Nonetheless, the Hungarian side gained four wins and two defeats in their six previous clashes.

TEXT: Bence Martha / br