Fleury and FTC battle it out for Group B top spotArticle
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GROUP B PREVIEW: The Hungarian champions travel to Orléans in what already may become a decisive game in this delicately balanced group. In the second match Podravka Vegeta face Thüringer HC also on Sunday

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Fleury and FTC battle it out for Group B top spot

Group B leaders FTC-Rail Cargo Hungaria lock horns with Fleury Loiret Handball on Sunday to decide who will occupy the group's top spot while German side Thüringer HC will try to make up for the point they lost against the French outfit last week when they play away at Podravka.

Group B

Fleury Loiret Handball (FRA) – FTC-Rail Cargo Hungária (HUN)
Sunday 25 October, 15:15 hrs local time, live on ehfTV

The French champions came very close to start their first Women’s EHF Champions League season with an away win, but eventually the Panthers had to settle for a 27:27 draw at Thüringer HC last week. Nevertheless their excellent performance in Germany may provide them with the necessary confidence to fight favourites Ferencváros, who steamrolled Podravka Vegeta 28:16 at home in the first round.

The Hungarian team will travel to Orléans without their first choice goalkeeper Katarina Tomasevic, but Melinda Szikora produced a worldclass performance against Podravka. Coach Gábor Elek now expects the same again from his young goalie in France, where the Hungarian champions have to be aware of Fleury's attachking players such as Gnonsiane Niombla, Estelle Nze Minko and Alexandrina Cabral.

FTC will be in for an even tougher struggle if the abovementioned trio is joined by line player Elizabeth Chavez, but the defence of the Hungarian outfit proved they can build a massive wall when they conceded a mere five goals in the first half against Podravka.

This time the task at hand is much more challenging, but FTC can also count on the lighting fast attacks inspired by Nerea Pena and Zita Szucsanszki which resulted in no less than eight penalties against Podravka. All but one were converted by the young Luca Szekerczes.

HC Podravka Vegeta (CRO) - Thüringer HC (GER)
Sunday 25 October, 17:25 hrs, live on ehfTV

Thüringer HC's much-changed team might have expected to start their Women’s EHF Champions League campaign with a win at home against Fleury Loiret last week, but following the 27:27 draw they now have to make up for the lost point in Koprovnica, where a young Podravka side will be eager to prove they are worthy opponents for their German counterparts.

The Croatian champions have to forget their first half against FTC and have to focus on the positive aspects of the second, which they only narrowly lost.

Podravka have to put their defence together and not allow their opponents to gain as many penalties as FTC did (eight overall) because THC only missed one of their six penalties they were awarded against Fleury.

Podravka's attack with Ivana Dezic, Dora Krsnik and Marijeta Vidak will have to be more precise to get past Jana Krause, who produced a solid performance against Fleury, but there is without doubt room to improve for the injury-hit German side, too.

Thüringer HC committed way too many technical mistakes in the first round, but they are still considered as favourites to beat Podravka.

The German champions can rely on their star signing Eliza Buceschi and the pace of Svenja Huber if their defence rises to the occasion in Koprovnica.

TEXT: Bence Martha / ts