MOTW and French-Russian duels highlight round 1Article
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ROUND PREVIEW: The DELO EHF Champions League 2021/22 throws off with several eye-catching clashes this weekend

»EHF CL Channel »2021-22 Women's CL

The 15-week summer break is finally over and the DELO EHF Champions League returns to action this weekend, as the 2021/22 season starts with four matches on Saturday and four on Sunday.

The opening round features Saturday’s Match of the Week in Györ, where the five-time competition winners Györi Audi ETO KC host Vipers Kristiansand, who surprisingly lifted the trophy last season.

Over in group A another French-Russian duel awaits, as Rostov-Don will face the runners-up of last season, Brest Bretagne Handball.

The only group phase debutants this season, Kastamonu Belediyesi GSK, start their campaign at home in Turkey against Danish champions Odense Håndbold.

The round 1 match between Metz and CSKA has been postponed.


BV Borussia 09 Dortmund (GER) vs FTC-Rail Cargo Hungaria (HUN)
Saturday 11 September, 16:00 CEST, live on EHFTV

  • in their second Champions League season, Dortmund will try to aim higher than their four-win tally from last season
  • Montenegrin centre back Itana Grbic will make her European debut for FTC-Rail Cargo Hungaria after switching teams late this summer
  • FTC need only four more wins to become the sixth team in Champions League history with 100 wins in the competition
  • the Hungarian champions did not start with their Champions League campaign with a win since the 2015/16 season
  • the two teams have not met before in European competitions

Rostov-Don (RUS) vs Brest Bretagne Handball (FRA)
Saturday 11 September, 16:00 CEST, live on EHFTV

  • the fiery clash between the two sides will headline the start of this group, as both teams have big ambitions this season
  • French line player Beatrice Edwige and Brazilian left back Eduarda Amorim, both defensive stalwarts, will make their European debut for Rostov
  • the Russian side started the season with three wins in three games in the Russian league, including a 31:22 drubbing of rivals CSKA
  • Brest lost crucial players this summer, including last season’s Champions League top scorer Ana Gros (CSKA) and influential centre back Isabelle Gulldén (Vipers)
  • their new coach, Pablo Morel, will make his European debut, after losing his first game in charge by 37:31 against Bourg de Peage in the French league
  • Rostov coach Per Johansson: "Brest are one of the strongest opponents in Europe: they are last season's Champions League runners-up, they have very good goalkeepers for example, also there are some strong characters especially on the back line. We need to respect them, but we also take nothing for granted"

HC Podravka Vegeta (CRO) vs Buducnost BEMAX (MNE)
Saturday 11 September, 18:00 CEST, live on EHFTV

  • Buducnost are only one win shy of the 150-win milestone in the Champions League, secured only by Györ so far
  • the Montenegrin side lost a bunch of key players this season, including wings Majda Mehmedovic and Jovanka Radicevic, backs Andrea Lekic, Allison Pineau, Milena Raicevic and Itana Grbic, and line player Ema Ramusovic
  • Buducnost are the youngest team in the competition with an average age of 21.8 years, while Podravka boast an age average of 25.1
  • among the 16 teams in the group phase, Podravka have one of the lowest winning rates in the competition: 38.1%

Team Esbjerg (DEN) vs CSM Bucuresti (ROU)
Sunday 12 September, 14:00 CEST, live on EHFTV

  • the Romanian side heads into the game after losing the Romanian Cup final against SCM Gloria Buzau by 35:29
  • CSM need to score 52 goals to reach the 2,500-goal milestone in the European premium competition
  • Henny Reistad, MVP of the DELO EHF FINAL4 2021, will make her debut in international competitions for Esbjerg
  • the hosts will miss Dutch back Estavana Polman, who is recovering from knee surgery, for the first stage of the group phase
  • the two sides met six times in the Champions League, with CSM winning five games, including all three on Danish soil
  • Team Esbjerg coach Jesper Jensen: "Just like with us, they have new players who need to be integrated into the squad, and on Sunday we will see how far they have come. As for us, we cannot wait to play in the DELO EHF Champions League again, and hopefully the stands will be packed with spectators"


MOTW: Györi Audi ETO KC (HUN) vs Vipers Kristiansand (NOR)
Saturday 11 September 18:00 CEST, live on EHFTV

  • while Vipers are reigning champions, Györ were dominant in the competition during the past decade, winning the trophy five times
  • Györ won all three of their recent meetings in the Champions League, including the 2018/19 semi-final by 31:22
  • Györ goalkeeper Amandine Leynaud and left back Estelle Nze Minko became Olympic champions with France at Tokyo 2020
  • Györ will be without injured Estelle Nze Minko, Kari Brattset Dale, Linn Blohm and Dorottya Faluvegi, while Vipers are missing Heidi Løke, Silje Waade, Karoline Olsen and Vilde Jonassen
  • Hungarian defensive specialist Zsuzsanna Tomori, who joined Vipers earlier this week from Siófok, played for Györ in 2007-10 and 2015-19

IK Sävehof (SWE) vs Krim Mercator Ljubljana (SLO)
Sunday 12 September, 14:00 CEST, live on EHFTV

  • Sävehof are back in the continental top flight after a one-year absence while Krim are starting their 26th straight season in the competition
  • the rivals have met eight times in European club competitions, with Krim winning four duels, Sävehof two and two more games ending in a draw
  • their most recent encounter took place in the 2018/19 season, when they exchanged away wins
  • in summer, Krim have reinforced with 10 new players, including the French Olympic champion Allison Pineau
  • playing for Sweden, Sävehof's Jamina Roberts was named the All-star Team left back at the Tokyo Olympics

Kastamonu Belediyesi GSK (TUR) vs Odense Håndbold (DEN)
Sunday 12 September, 16:00 CEST, live on EHFTV

  • Kastamonu will play their debut match in the Champions League group phase
  • Odense start in their third season, after they reached the quarter-final in 2018/19 and losing in the play-offs in 2020/21 against eventual champions Vipers
  • the Turkish side start the season with new Romanian head coach Costica Buceschi, replacing Helle Thomsen who left last spring
  • on Monday, Buceschi won his first trophy with his new team, as Kastamonu narrowly defeated Izmir in the Turkish Super Cup, 25:24
  • Odense, who are reigning Danish champions, opened the domestic season with three straight wins, including a 33:25 win against Team Esbjerg
  • Odense coach Ulrik Kirkely: "A great challenge awaits us in a different handball culture against a team with a lot of international experience from the biggest clubs in Europe – especially the Montenegrin quartet with Rajcic, Raicevic, Mehmedovic and Redicevic has great Champions League experience from Buducnost"

TEXT: EHF / Adrian Costeiu, Sergey Nikolaev