Intense battles for quarter-final spots continue in Group 1Article
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GROUP PREVIEW: Eight places are at stake as Larvik take on FTC; Fleury fight for their lives in Rostov and Baia Mare play host to Thüringer HC

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Intense battles for quarter-final spots continue in Group 1

The key game of Round 5 in the Women’s EHF Champions League is Larvik against FTC, where the home side will fight to seal their quarter-final place while FTC struggle to keep their second spot.

Baia Mare should beat eliminated Thüringer and Fleury have a difficult task at hand as they travel to Russia to face leaders Rostov Don.


HCM Baia Mare (ROM) vs Thüringer HC (GER) 

Friday 19 February, 18:00 local time, live on

Probably the most in-form team of the main round Baia Mare represent a huge mountain to climb for already eliminated Thüringer, who can thus play free of pressure in Romania.

Having started the main round without a single point the Romanian runners-up gathered momentum for the second phase of the competetion and are now finally playing to their full potentinal.

Lois Abbingh, Paula Ungureanu and Allison Pineau turned Baia Mare into a formidable opponent as Aurelian Rosca’s team are on a 100 per cent run in the main round.

Thüringer could not repeat their feat from last year and failed to qualify for the quarter-finals but will not go down in Romania without a fight. However, virtually unstoppable Baia Mare are eager to continue their run and climb further up the rankings of Group 1.

Rostov Don (RUS) vs Fleury Loiret Handball (FRA) 

Saturday 20 February, 17:00 local time, live on

Rostov confirmed their group win in a nail-biter against Ferecváros, but still can’t afford to sit back as they welcome Fleury Loiret, who fight for their lives having lost to Baia Mare at home.

Rostov maintained their unbeaten status by snatching a draw in Budapest, which gives a chance to struggling Fleury Loiret to end the Russian champion’s 100 per cent home record if the French team can capitalise on the home side’s potential lack of concentration.

However, only Thüringer scored less goals than Fleury who are in for a rough ride against the best defence of Group 1 not to mention Katrine Lunde, who has been outstanding all season.

The visitors’s shooters will have to put up an exceptional performance to overcome the Russian outfit’s notorious defence but Fleury have nothing to wait for as only a win could keep them in the race for the quarter-finals.

Larvik (NOR) vs FTC-Rail Cargo Hungaria (HUN)

Saturday 20 February, 19:00 local time, live on

There’s a lot at stake for both teams as second placed Ferencváros travel to Larvik, who risk falling to fourth in Group 1 should they lose.

FTC beat Larvik by three goals earlier in the season which means the Norwegian champion will have to defeat the visitors by a larger margin to overtake the Hungarian team.

However, Tor Odvar Moen’s team only managed to beat Thüringer in the main round and seem to heavily rely on their star player, Nora Mørk in attack.

The Györ bound shooter will have to aim better than she did against Thüringer to avoid yet another home defeat in the main round.

Ferencváros came close to beating Rostov Don in the last round but the draw in Budapest means the Hungarian champions will have to fight hard in the two remaining rounds to keep their second place.

The drop in form from their key players in attack resulted in a heavy defeat at Baia Mare and cost them a point against Rostov as FTC run the risk of ruining what they built up during their excellent Champions League run so far.

Ferencváros, who scored the most but also conceded the most goals in Group 1, will have to beat Larvik to keep the Norwegians behind them.

TEXT: Bence Martha / bc