Five reasons why Györ are everyone’s title favourites this seasonArticle
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FEATURE: Having already won in Rostov and against Bucurest the Hungarian powerhouse sent a message to rivals: give your all but know it might not be enough to beat us

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Five reasons why Györ are everyone’s title favourites this season

Apart from the ill-fated 2014/15 season, when the injury-hit Györi Audi ETO KC did not make it to the FINAL4, the Hungarian powerhouse made their way to at least the semi-final in the last ten years but only managed to win it two times.

Györ are always a serious contender to lift the trophy as they reached the final five times and came close to conquer the throne last year, but the back-to-back triumphs of 2013 and 2014 remain their only victories – courtesy of the heroics of CSM.

Losing a final on penalties could have been considered as mere bad luck but Györ knew what they were missing in last year’s final and stepped up accordingly. Here are five reasons why any team would need a near-perfect performance to stop the Hungarian machine.

1.    Injury crisis seems to be over

The past two seasons were marred by injuries and saw such key players as Katrine Lunde, Anita Görbicz, Eduarda Amorim, Bernadett Bodi, Dorina Korsos and Zsuzsanna Tomori sidelined for long periods. Apart from the latter, whose injured knee needed yet another operation, the rest – with up-and-comer Gabriella Toth – are up and running. The fact that the above mentioned players (excluding now Rostov-goalie Lunde) scored 18 of Györ’s 27 goals against Bucurest, where the two teams locked horns for the first time since the Romanian outfit’s huge victory in May. Györ won this one and managed to hold the final’s heroinne, Belle Gulldén to four goals.

2.    Lefty troubles left behind

Hornyak Dora, Susann Müller and Szimonetta Planeta could not contribute as much as they were expected and Györ had to depley right-handed players as right backs, which is a considerable handicap against top European sides. This summer Györ took no chances and picked a player they knew they can’t go wrong with: Nora Mörk. She is currently the best lefty in the game and while she is still in the process of settling in, the Norwegian superstar is a huge signing.

3.    More creative outputs

The combined effects of the two above points can very much be seen in how Györ play this season. With Görbicz and Amorim back in action and Mörk picking up Györ’s style of play it is not only about goal-machines (which there are plenty at coach Martin’s disposal) but tons of assist stream towards the assured hands of Heidi Löke and the wingers.

4.    Less fierce competition

With Györ possibly finding the last missing piece of their puzzle their rivals are put to a big test but their fiercest opponents all went through important changes. Buducnost face transitional season(s), Bucurest lost the mastermind behind their all-conquering season as Kim Rasmussen took over the Hungarian national team, Larvik let Mörk go and Györ’s domestic rivals Ferencvaros still don’t seem strong enough to beat Martin’s team. Vardar and Rostov-Don made some great signings (no doubt these two will be ones to beat for Györ) but the Hungarian powerhouse was quick to prove their worth in Rostov and Vardar have already lost a point at home, too. There is still plenty of time (and room) to improve for them but the same goes for Györ as well.

5.    Györ seem to be simply the best team

Ok, this fact alone does not guarantee anything. Nobody would have given a chance to Bucurest last year but Gulldén and Co. still managed to grab the title in Budapest. But this year the squad under coach Martin’s disposal is as good as it gets. Their defence, backed by the magnificent Kari Aalvik Grimsbö, looks unbreakable and they can attack at the highest level without even making transitional changes. Ambros Martin is one of the greatest coaches in women’s handball and judging by the first three rounds Györ are both mentally and physically ready to face all quests having already won against Rostov and Bucurest.

TEXT: Bence Márta / bc