Everything could be decided in the group of championsArticle
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GROUP B PREVIEW: Not only qualification berths but the ranking could be as good as done in the fifth round of Group B.

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Everything could be decided in the group of champions   

The two unbeaten teams of Group B could secure the first two places as early as the fifth round but both Ferencváros and Fleury Loiret will have eager and combative opponents waiting for them.

HC Podravka Vegeta (CRO) vs FTC-Rail Cargo Hungária (HUN)
Sunday 15 November, 17:25 hrs, live on ehfTV.com

The wake-up call for the Croatian champions might have come just in time with the thrilling draw at home against Fleury Loiret as Podravka came very close to snatching yet another point from the French team in Orleans but now the Koprivnica outfit fight for their lives against Ferencváros.

The Hungarian outfit already secured their place in the main round and could take a huge step towards winning the most balanced group of the Women’s EHF Champions League but the undefeated Budapest Greens will have to work for their money in Koprivnica, where Ivana Dezic and Co usually make the visitors sweat.

Thüringer had a two-goal lead at the break agains Thüringer and drew against Fleury Loiret to prove that the trip to Croatia is no walk in the park for any team.

However, Ferencváros are still favourites to keep their unbeaten run intact, having already done so in Orleans and Nordhausen. A win for the Hungarian champions would almost certainly secure their first place in Group B.

To stop the visitors Podravka will have to defend well on FTC goal machines, Zita Szucsánszki and Nerea Pena and it would not hurt if Ivana Kapitanovic could once again rise to the level of fellow goalkeeper, Melinda Szikora, who has been excellent between the posts for Ferencváros.

Fleury Loiret Handball (FRA) vs Thüringer HC (GER)
Sunday 15 November, 19:00 hrs, live on ehfTV.com

If Fleury Loiret beat Thüringer on Sunday the French champions cannot finish below second in the extremely competitive group, which is exactly how a great time introduces themselves to Europe’s elite competition.

Fleury are still unbeaten after four rounds but due to their three draws the Panthers are trailing Ferencváros by two points. Not all of those draws were unlucky, for instance the one in Nordhausen was an even affair and the sharing of points was a fair result and even though Thüringer have changed a lot since last year, they are still a European powerhouse.

The German outfit might have lost both matches against FTC but they are still in the race for the second place, which they will not let go easily even in Orleans, where an enthusiastic crowd awaits visiting teams.

Thüringer will have to show strength and come up with the best performance of the season if they want to keep pace with the French and Hungarian champions.

The match will also be the clash of two goal machines, Alexandrina Cabral Barbosa proudly stands third in the top scorers’ list while Thüringer’s lefty rocket, Svenja Huber is trailing the Spanish superstar by only four goals.

TEXT: Bence Mártha / br