Injury-hit Buducnost and Bucuresti hope to end the group on a high noteArticle
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GROUP D PREVIEW: Romanian and Montenegrin champions aim to finish the group in style, with wins on their home courts

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Injury-hit Buducnost and Bucuresti hope to end the group on a high note

While a loss against MKS Selgros Lublin will only stop a 21-game unbeaten streak for Buducnost, CSM Bucuresti has much more to lose against Sävehof in the last round of the Women's EHF Champions League.

A win would bring a five-point tally for the Romanian champions into the main round of the competition. But even if Sävehof’s best result against a qualified team is a seven-goal loss against Buducnost, CSM will still be focused on the game.


CSM Bucuresti (ROU) vs IK Sävehof (SWE)
Friday 20 November, 18:00 hrs local time, live on ehfTV

It has been a crazy last month for CSM Bucuresti, with ten games in the Women’s EHF Champions League and the Romanian League.

But Bucuresti, a newbie in the European premium competition, has managed the trips and the games well, losing only one game in that span, failing to protect their home court, against Buducnost.

However, the Romanian champions got back on the right track after a draw, 23:23, in Moraca. And CSM will have plenty of time to rest after the game against Sävehof, buoyed by the news that Linnea Torstenson is slowly getting back in shape.

The Swedish star, arguably the key player in CSM’s defence, missed the autumn with a knee injury, but showed up on the bench in Bucuresti’s most important game in the Romanian League, against HCM Baia Mare.

On Tuesday, CSM started slowly, but got back in touch in the last 15 minutes of the first half. The win was not in any danger, and the champions disposed of their rivals, 24:21.

“Of course we are getting on the right track. Linnea wanted to play, but at warm-up she did not feel right, so we decided not to risk anything”, said CSM’s coach, Kim Rasmussen.

“The game against Sävehof is really important for us. Of course we would like to proceed to the main round with five points. I think the draw in Podgorica really helped us and it could be the difference in achieving a FINAL4 place”, added Rasmussen.

In the first leg, Bucuresti beat Sävehof easily 28:17, but the Swedish side impressed last Sunday against Buducnost, taking an early lead, only to falter in the second half, to a 25:18 defeat.

Buducnost (MNE) vs MKS Selgros Lublin (POL)
Friday 20 November, 18:00 hrs local time, live on ehfTV

A loss against MKS Selgros Lublin would not damage Buducnost’s quest to become the fourth team in the last 15 years to retain the Women’s EHF Champions League’s title after Slagelse DH, Viborg HK and Györi Audi ETO KC.

However, it would stop the Montenegrin’s amazing 21-game unbeaten streak, started last season.

“This is not the time to relax. We have seen in our away game against Lublin that they are a good side that can put pressure even on the best teams”.

“We are thinking only about winning against Lublin and this will be on our minds”, said Dragan Adzic, Buducnost’s coach, according to the team’s official website.

But the current title holders will have their work cut out on Friday. Three players will definitely be out, while Polish back Kinga Achruk (Byzdra) has not trained, but could be ready for the game.

A knee injury has seen Dragana Cvijic take a forced two-week break, while wings Majda Mehmedovic and Radmila Petrovic will be out due to Achilles-tendon and, respectively, throat problems.

“It happened to us before and we knew to respond in the right way. There are players who are going to take responsibility and I can say we are lucky to be in this position after we ensured our qualification and our position at the top of the group”, concluded Adzic.

Therefore, it is likely that Lublin will focus on Cristina Neagu and Katarina Bulatovic on defence, but having to stop one of the best backs in handball is not an easy task.

But the guests, who are back on top of the Polish league, after a 35:22 win against Koscierzyna, will try to emulate their only win against the Montenegrin side, 24:21, on their home court, in October 2006.

However, both of their games in Moraca have ended in defeats, 21:17 in 2006, and 31:19 two years ago.

TEXT: Adrian Costeiu / br