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GROUP C PREVIEW: The title holders changed their coach and will look for at least a draw against Rostov, while FC Midtjylland would be through with a win against Györ

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A new coach and new hopes for CSM

Will a change of coach be enough for the titleholders to progress to the next phase of the European premium competition?

We are about to find out, as Aurelian Rosca takes over from Jakob Vestergaard, with the Romanian becoming the fourth coach in one year and two months for CSM Bucuresti.

Elsewhere, a third win at home for Midtjylland would claim the Danish side a Main Round berth, but the Hungarian side aims to get into the Main Round with eight points.

•    The Romanian side is in the middle of their worst ever streak in the competition, after losing two games against Györ and one against Midtjylland
•    Rosca has one season experience of in the Women’s EHF Champions League, coaching HCM Baia Mare last year
•    Györ need to score 33 goals if they are to get to 4500 goals scored in their history in the Women’s EHF Champions League
•    Last year, Midtjylland and Györ drew at home, 22:22, a result that would help the Danish side edge closer to a Main Round berth


Rostov-Don (RUS) vs CSM Bucuresti (ROU)
Friday, 11 November, 18:00 hrs local time, live on ehfTV.com

An unprecedented three-loss streak, underlined by the worst ever defeat in the Women’s EHF Champions League meant that a change was looming in CSM Bucuresti.

With their objective, a Main Round berth, swiftly running away, CSM’s board decided to go through with a coaching change, their fourth in the last two seasons.

Aurelian Rosca replaced Jakob Vestergaard and the 48-year old coach was directly in the mix for a key game for CSM’s future in the competition, as the Romanian champions did not have a game scheduled for midweek in the domestic league.

“I think this offer came as a huge challenge for me, it is a chance to get back in the European top competition.”

“The challenge is very big, because CSM is the title holder and it would be a missed season if we failed to get in the Main Round,” said Rosca after his first training session with the team.

The Romanian coach, who led HCM Baia Mare into the Main Round phase of the competition last season, identified the great deal of transfers as the main cause of CSM’s woes.

“I think several players did not have the time to adapt, but we hope to be ready for Rostov and for the last game against Midtjylland,” added Rosca.

With Györ, CSM and Rostov the overwhelming favourites before the start of the group, Midtjylland’s two wins at home came as a huge surprise and now Rostov and CSM are in a must-win situation.

The Russian side was shocked last week by the Danish side and cannot afford any wrong steps in the last two games of the group phase, against CSM and Györ.

“We know that CSM are also looking for a win, but we really need to be relaxed, because if we are afraid of mistakes, we will commit mistakes.”

“I think we lack the discipline in games, everyone knows what to do, but we are making mistakes. There is a great atmosphere here,” said Rostov’s right wing, Iulia Managarova, to the Russian club’s official website.

The two teams met last season in the quarter-finals, with CSM winning both games. The Romanian side enjoys a 100 per cent record against Rostov, after the streak was extended in Bucharest, with a 24:21 win in Vestergaard’s maiden game on CSM’s bench.

FC Midtjylland (DEN) vs Györi Audi ETO KC (HUN)

Saturday, 12 November, 15:15 local hrs local time, live on ehfTV.com

Not counting on Heidi Løke would mean a key loss for almost any team in the Women’s EHF Champions League - but not for Györ.

The Hungarian powerhouse learnt that the Norwegian is pregnant days before the game against CSM, but still suited up and thrashed the titleholders, 33:25.

With an impeccable defence and a free-flowing attack, spearheaded by Nora Mørk, who has already scored 28 goals in four matches, Györ are looking increasingly relentless and are crushing the opposition game by game.

Fresh from a 33:26 win against Dunaujvaros in midweek, the leaders are travelling to Denmark as qualified for the Main Round phase, but are looking to progress to the next round with the maximum number of points.

“I hope CSM Bucuresti will reach the next phase of the competition because it would mean we would have four points.”

“But this does not mean we will tread lightly for the other two games, against FCM and Rostov, we will go for the win in both,” said Ambros Martin, Györ’s coach.

FCM has shocked both CSM Bucuresti and Rostov in their first two home games. The morale is high and the team is playing like a well-oiled machine after Stine Jørgensen’s comeback.

“We were huge underdogs in both those games. But they played more individually and we played as a team. That was the decisive advantage for us,” said Stine Jørgensen.

The Danish team has built up their confidence and is even eyeing the second place in the group. A win against Györ would avenge their 31:19 defeat in the first leg and qualify FCM to the Main Round.

“I think second place sounds very, very good for us, but it is still so far away. Now, we only hope to proceed to the next round,” said FCM’s coach, Kristian Kristensen, after his team won their midweek game in the Danish league, 30:18, against TTH Holstebro.

TEXT: Adrian Costeiu / bc