Three teams eye two main round placesArticle
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GROUP D PREVIEW: HCM Baia Mare, Metz Handball and MKS Selgros Lublin are fighting for qualification in the Main Round, but only two teams will promote to the next phase
 

Three teams eye two main round places

As Larvik HK comfortably earned their Women’s EHF Champions League’s Main Round ticket, the fight for the other two places is still on, as three teams are still in contention.

While Metz must earn a positive result in Baia Mare, MKS Selgros Lublin attempt to break a streak of eight away losses to earn at least a point in Larvik.

HCM Baia Mare (ROU) vs Metz Handball (FRA)
Friday 21 November at 19:00 hrs local time, live on ehfTV

A record 10-goal defeat against Metz in Round 2 left Baia Mare in tatters. The Romanians lost another two consecutive games, but bounced back superbly against Lublin last week to set up a decider at home against the French side.

“Metz are not the best team in the group and we know it,” said Costica Buceschi, Baia Mare’s coach, for ehfCL.com.

“But we will be prepared, we know our strengths and their weaknesses, in order to finish the group off with a win and go to the main round,” added the Romanian coach.

It is not an easy task though, as the Romanian side is still nursing several injuries. “Barbara Arenhart and Alexandra do Nascimento are still recovering, they are nowhere close to 100 %.”

“Elena Gjorgjievska suffered a knock and did not train all week, but we are hoping that she will play. Nechita is still recovering from an ankle injury,” added Buceschi.

But the home-court factor could prove decisive, as the Romanian powerhouse lost only to Györ and Larvik in the last two years.

As Metz need at least a draw against Baia Mare on Friday to proceed to the main round, Jeremy Roussel’s side has been dealt another blow, as Serbian playmaker Kristina Liscevic is suspended for a game, after she intentionally fouled an opponent in the last seconds of the loss against Larvik in Round 5.

Larvik HK (NOR) vs MKS Selgros Lublin (POL)
Saturday 22 November at 18:15 hrs local time, live on ehfTV

No doubt Lublin would have wanted at least a draw against Baia Mare last Sunday, but the Romanian powerhouse played flawlessly in the second half and earned its second win in the group.

However, the Polish side still has chances to promote to the European top flight’s main round, as they travel to Larvik for the third time in the last 11 years.

As Larvik will seek to maintain their unbeaten status and go to the next phase with eight points, the Polish side is angling for a revenge, as the Norwegian champions won easily their last four encounters, including the first leg, in Lublin, 28:23.

Even a loss could relieve Lublin of pressure, as the Polish champions are due to qualify in this scenario if Baia Mare defeat Metz on Friday.

Sabina Wlodek’s players are traveling on a high, after they won the home derby on Wednesday, 29:25, against archrivals Vistal Gdynia.

By no means it will be an easy game for Lublin, as Larvik is seeking their 19th consecutive win this season.

The Norwegian champions are brimming with confidence, as they won convincingly too during this week, a 39:31 crushing of Byasen, in which Linn-Kristin Riegelhuth Koren was Larvik’s top scorer, with an impressive nine-goal show.


TEXT: Adrian Costeiu / br
 
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