Baia Mare and Larvik set for an epic derbyArticle
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GROUP D PREVIEW: Romanian and Norwegian title holders are set to battle in the group's most exciting game, while Lublin will fight for their first points against Metz.

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Baia Mare and Larvik set for an epic derby

HCM Baia Mare planned for a perfect record before the derby game against Larvik HK, but the record defeat against Metz Handball in Round 2 hampered the Romanian champions’ calculations. Therefore, Costica Buceschi’s side has no other alternative than the win against the undefeated Norwegian powerhouse.

In the other game of the group, Metz Handball will look to take its second consecutive win at the expense of MKS Selgros Lublin.

HCM Baia Mare (ROU) vs Larvik HK (NOR)
Friday 31 October 2014 at 19:00 hrs local time, live on ehfTV

An unprecedented rout saw HCM Baia Mare beaten by 10 goals by a flamboyant Metz Handball in Group D’s Round 2, 34:24.

It was the worst defeat in the Romanian’s powerhouse history in the European top flight. But Costica Buceschi’s side has little time to regroup, as Larvik HK is visiting Baia Mare on Friday, in the group’s top encounter.

The Norwegian champions have won the first two matches, against Metz Handball and MKS Selgros Lublin, but failed to convince in both of the outings.

Their good runs were followed by mistakes and both Metz and Lublin had the upper hand in big chunks of the games. But a win against the Romanian side will make their progress to the main round all but certain.

However, both Baia Mare and Larvik need to eliminate any mistakes as they clash in the group’s most important match.

“We have to get something from the game against Larvik. We have to change our attitude, because we didn’t concentrate properly for the first two games”, said Eliza Buceschi, Baia Mare’s left back, before the game.

Nevertheless, Baia Mare failed to impress on Tuesday, in the Romanian league match against HC Zalau. The Romanian champions won comfortably, 30:24, but have never proved they were in full control of the game.

Moreover, Baia Mare added Alexandra do Nascimento to their lengthy injury list, as the Brazilian ace will miss the next weeks with an ankle injury. Therefore, the Romanian team will have to rely only on seasoned veteran Adriana Nechita on the right wing.

MKS Selgros Lublin (POL) vs Metz Handball (FRA)
Sunday 2 November 2014 at 18.00 hrs local time, live on ehfTV

The biggest win in the team’s history in the EHF Champions League will be of little help for Metz Handball, if the French champions will not take advantage on Sunday, against MKS Selgros Lublin.

The 34:24 rout of HCM Baia Mare buoyed the French side, who added another victory to its tally this season, after bypassing Le Havre, 37:32, on Wednesday, in the French Championnat.

Therefore, Jeremy Roussel’s side will be emerging as favourites against Lublin, who will have one of their last chances to progress to the main round, after two consecutive defeats at the hands of Baia Mare and Larvik.

But the French outfit will have to deal without young right back Tamara Horacek, who scored two goals in Metz’s first two matches. The 19-year old Croatian sniper has suffered a ligament tear and will be out for at least six months.

But Lublin have to up their game in order to impress their opponents. The two consecutive defeats in the Group D were followed by another surprising result, a 23:23 draw against SPR Pogon Baltica Szeczin, in the Polish Superleague on Tuesday.

TEXT: Adrian Costeiu / br