“You will see the will for revenge”Article
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FEATURE: Last-placed CSM want to turn the tables and save their season against group leaders Metz, as the Romanian side once again find themselves stuck in a difficult season
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“You will see the will for revenge”

Every year for the past four seasons, CSM Bucuresti have made the trip to the quarter-final phase of the premium European competition, and on three occasions, they reached the DELO WOMEN’S EHF FINAL4 in Budapest.

Yet the Romanian powerhouse is backed into a corner this season. With five games to go in the main round, CSM are last in group 1 with three points – two behind Vipers Kristiansand and Rostov-Don.

Their quarter-final streak might well be over, as they are facing five must-win games if they are to hope to be in Budapest once again.

“This team is hurt and they will show it on the court on Sunday, against Metz. They are fighters and they will just do whatever it takes to win games,” said coach Adrian Vasile.

Metz hold advantage over CSM

CSM have been in a downward spiral for the past year, as they lost the domestic title in 2018/19 for the first time in five seasons, and also missed the DELO WOMEN’S EHF FINAL 4 for the first time in the club’s Champions League history.

With a squad depleted due to injuries, the Romanian side were knocked out by Metz Handball, 54:48 on aggregate, in the quarter finals.

Two years ago, CSM eliminated Metz in the quarter-finals with the same aggregate score, 54:48, after a 13-goal win on their home court. That was the only loss for Metz in four games against the Romanian powerhouse.

Now, the two sides meet again, but in different conditions: Metz are on top of the group, with eight points, while CSM are last, with three.

“There is no team that will win every game in a season. Metz are a very good side, who played together for the last seasons in the same system, and will be a tough nut to crack.”

“You will see the will for revenge from these girls,” said Vasile.

However, CSM still have injury woes. Nora Mørk has been out since August due to a torn ligament, while backs Cristina Neagu and Andrea Lekic are slowly coming back to form after injury lay-offs.

CSM’s problems have been on display in attack, as they only scored 176 goals this season, or an average of 25.14 goals per game – just two more than the lowest number in the competition, 174, by RK Krim Mercator.

“Helpless and powerless”

On Wednesday in the domestic league, CSM stumbled onto a victory against Gloria Buzau, 28:27, after another disappointing game for the 2016 Champions League winners.

The win came as something of a morale booster, after CSM recorded their most lopsided loss ever in the DELO WOMEN’S EHF Champions League – a 10-goal drubbing at the hands of FTC Rail-Cargo Hungaria, 33:23, in the first main round match. 

“We were shocked in Budapest. It was a day that we want to forget. Nothing came our way. We were helpless, powerless. It was our fault,” said CSM left wing Iulia Curea.

Indeed, CSM looked out of ideas both in attack and in defence, and their season is now on the line.

On the other hand, Metz will surely be boosted by their win against Rostov last week, 23:20. Coach Emmanuel Mayonnade is also brimming with confidence after leading the Netherlands to their first ever world title in December.

The 36-year-old French ace has just signed a one-year extension with Metz, a team he has led to four consecutive French league titles.

Metz have shown that they can win points thanks to both their attack and defence, and are looking sharp at both ends of the court. 

CSM will expect a big game from Neagu, who led the way in two of the four games she played in the top European competition this season, scoring 22 goals overall so far. 

“We have to save our season now,” concluded CSM coach Vasile, while Curea added: “We are not doing any maths. We just know that if we win all games, we will qualify for the quarter-finals. It will not be easy, but we still have to try.”  

TEXT: Adrian Costeiu / cg