ÉRD didn’t have an easy task to solve to gain a place in the EHF Cup Group Matches. The Hungarian team had Issy Paris and EHF Cup defending champions and domestic rivals Dunaújvárosi KKA in the previous rounds. The task wasn’t easy but ÉRD solved it perfectly, remaining unbeaten in the cup. However, they suffered their first defeat in Russia last weekend: Rostov Don won by 3 but the Hungarians were a tough nut to crack. On the other hand, SG BBM Bietigheim was still unbeaten, in the German league and in the EHF Cup as well. Looking at the groups, Group C might seem the strongest at first sight, and there seems to be no easy match for any of the teams.
The match started fast and powerful, both teams wanted to take a lightning start so after only three minutes played, both teams had already 3 goals at their side (3-3). Right in the first minutes of the game, ÉRD took control over the game and the gap started to open up between the two sides. With some spectacular saves from Kinga Janurik and excellent attacking play, ÉRD lead by 4 goals after a little more than 10 minutes (9-5). This was the time when coach Martin Fruelund Albertsen asked for a timeout but it didn’t really help his team. The German defense was easily outplayed by the Hungarians and this time, a strong goalkeeper performance was also missing for Bietigheim: after the first 15 minutes, Tess Wester was replaced by Valentyna Salamakha. Even the timeout didn’t change the game flow: ÉRD was running fast in front while Bietigheim was struggling hard to score against the solid wall and excellent Kinga Janurik. After 20 minutes, Albertsen called his second timeout as his team was already seven goals behind (15-8). In the last 10 minutes, things suddenly started to work out better for the Germans. Even though ÉRD had the chances to stay in front and keep Bietigheim in a comfortable distance, the Hungarian team started to make more mistakes, especially in the finishing. Bietigheim used the chance to decrease the difference and before the finish of the first half, they came up to just one goal. The second half promised a lot of excitement for the more than 2000 fans in the almost sold-out ÉRD Aréna (17-16).
The big question before the second half was which was the real face of the teams: the ÉRD seen in the first 20 minutes or the Bietigheim seen in the last 10 minutes. The question seemed to be answered quickly by ÉRD as they left no question marks in the beginning of the second half. With great performances from Kinga Klivinyi, Katarina Krpez Slezak and Mireya González, the Hungarian team opened up the difference to six goals in 10 minutes (25-19). After the third German timeout, ÉRD didn’t make the same mistake again: this time they didn’t give a chance for the Germans to come back into the game. In the second half, both teams were making more mistakes in attack and defense, but Bietigheim seemed to give up on the match as ÉRD almost reached a two-digit difference in the final minutes of the match. With the confident win of the favorites, the crowd went crazy in the ÉRD Aréna: ÉRD won 35-27 with a confident and sometimes spectacular game, having control over the match all the time – excluding those 7-8 minutes in the first half.
EHF Cup – Group C – 2nd round
ÉRD – SG BBM Bietigheim 35-27 (17-16)
ÉRD: K. Krpez Slezak 11(5), K. Klivinyi 8, A. Kisfaludy 6, M. González Alvarez 5, B. Fekete 2, M. Signate 2, A. Bulatovic 1
Bietigheim: S. Müller 6, M. Visser 5(1), M. Biltoft 3, L. Schulze 3, A. Malestein 3, F. Woller 2, K. Naidziniavicius 2, N. Müller 2, M. Hundahl 1
Penalties: 5/5 ; 1/1
Suspensions: 6 minutes ; 4 minutes