"The most important match of our lives"Article
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QUARTER-FINAL PREVIEW: There is bound to be a newbie in the Women's EHF FINAL4 this season, as CSM Bucuresti aim to end Rostov Don's unbeaten streak.

"The most important match of our lives"

There is only one unbeaten team in the Women's EHF Champions League. But for CSM Bucuresti, Rostov-Don’s 12-game-streak is only a motivating factor.

CSM Bucuresti (ROU) vs Rostov-Don (RUS)
Thursday 31 March, 18:00 hrs (CET) live on ehfTV

In their first season in Europe's elite club competition, CSM Bucuresti had their ups and downs, boasting both an impressive 23:23 draw against defending champion Buducnost as well as a disappointing 25:30 defeat on home court against HC Vardar.

However, there is no room for mistakes for the Romanian champions in a crucial double-header against Russian champions Rostov-Don, who are yet to be beaten this season, cruising in their domestic championship, adding their 19th win on Sunday: 31:26 against Evgeny Trefilov’s Astrakhanochka Astrakhan.

"We are face to face with a powerful opponent. But, on the other hand, we will be crucial actors in this club’s most important game ever. So we have to be prepared," said Kim Rasmussen, CSM’s coach.

With an impressive attack - the second best in the main round with 281 goals scored, only one less than FTC-Cargo Rail Hungaria - Rostov are hunting for their first Women's EHF FINAL4 berth in the team’s history and this in their first season in the competition ever.

"We know how Rostov will play and we are prepared for everything they will throw at us. The key of the game will be the defense and how the keepers will do. We have prepared for this in every training session," added Rasmussen.

While both teams are in their first season in the Women’s EHF Champions League, this is not the only resemblance between the Russian and the Romanian champions.

An encounter of handball styles is there to be seen, as both Rasmussen and Jan Leslie, Rostov’s coach, are Danish, with a certain Nordic style.

"The scene is set for a clash of two Danish coaches, who are very good and understand handball very well," said Vladlena Bobrovnikova, Rostov’s left back, to the Russian team’s official website.

"Counterattacks will also be very important, therefore we need to be more careful. They have speedy wings, like Managarova, who can take advantage of every mistake," said Rasmussen, explaining the Danish style adopted by Rostov after Leslie took over.

On the other side, Rostov is at the business end of a near perfect season. A rare draw, 29:29, against FTC-Cargo Rail Hungaria, was the only missed point in 31 matches for the Russian team.

But Rostov's players are preaching caution, as every mistake is set to be punished in the elimination phase of the competition.

"It is the most important match of our lives, it will be a hard one, but we have to do our best. We will try to win, because CSM do not have a great record at home and, of course, the fact that we play the second game on our court means a lot," concluded Bobrovnikova.

TEXT: Adrian Costeiu / es