Champions League

The last run for Budapest II.

photo: Tamás Csonka
The last run for Budapest II.
Ibolya Szekeres

The EHF Champions League quarter-finals continue today with the encounters between FC Midtjylland and Vardar HC, as Buducnost will host Norwegians from Larvik HK. In our previous article, we talked about the chances in the other two derbies CSM Bucuresti- FTC and Metz- Győri ETO.

On Friday night CSM took the first important step in order to get their tickets fro Budapest again, by beating Ferencváros 30-25 on homecourt. The other three games will be played this afternoon.

FC Midtjylland –  Vardar HC

The Danish champions started the season by firing the head coach which made them champions last season, Helle Thomsen had to find herself another job and Kristian Kristensen took over the team. Eliza Buceschi, the Romanian playmaker was the new player of the team, but with Helle gone, she was just sitting on the bench and after some months she left the club in order to get more playing time in Romania. FCM was in a difficult group with three teams which all were favorites to qualify to F4 in Budapest. But FCM made a good group phase and managed to defeat all three opponents on homecourt in Ikast, so Győr, Rostov Dona nd CSM Bucuresti all have to leave without points from Denmark. FCM has qualified to the Main Round, when they had a weaker period, but they took the berth for the quarter-finals. Veronica Kristiansen, Stine Jörgensen, and Sabine Englert were maybe the most important players of Danes in this race and they will surely be against Vardar as well.

Andrea Penezic vs. Danick Snelder | Photo: Filip Viranovski

On the other hand, Vardar had a controversial season so far as they changed the head coach twice (!). After their first group match against FTC ended with a draw, Indira Kastratovic was fired and David Davis stepped in again as last season from the men team. The work with the Spaniard seemed to not work either very well ad after their huge defeat in Metz Davis left the team. Their new coach is Irina Dibirova( Poltorackaja), who was a fantastic player but she doesn’t have much experience as a trainer.

The chances are equal considering all the facts around the two teams. FCM plays in a strong internal championship, meanwhile the Macedonians don’t have many matches at home. Vardar is full of top players: Leynaud, Lekic, Penezic, Herrem, Radicevic, but FCM has Kristiansen, Burgaard, Englert, Jörgensen, Blohm or Östergaard. FCM could put problems with their quick playing style, fastbreaks, a good defense and a top-class goalkeeper. On the other hand, Vardar can present two full teams, having a wide squad.

Buducnost –  Larvik HK

The Montenegrin side had not an exceptional season, Dragan Adzic had the intention to resign after their big defeat against FTC in Moraca, but he stayed and his team got better and better after this episode. They were also struggling with many injuries: Cvijic, Neagu, Lazovic, Raicevic, Zoqby de Paula had all injuries during the season and the team was not so consistent as in the years before.However with Cristina Neagu, elected the best player of the world by IHF for 2016, Katarina Bulatovic, Dragana Cvijic – all in good shape, Buducnost is always a dangerous team against any opponent. They are weaker on the wings this year with Mehmedovic leaving and heir squad is not so wide as earlier. Meeting Larvik HK could have both advantages and disadvantages for hosts. Larvik HK is a team which is going through big economic problems and big changes before the next season. This is their last chance for a hile to do it well and reach the F4 in Budapest. Gro and Anja Hammerseng-Edin will retire, Sandra Tof and Sanna Solberg leaves to Esbjerg, Amanda Kurtovic and Marit Malm-Frafjord has signed with Bucuresti from next season. It could be their last big fight and thy will surely give everything. Larvik started with a weak group phase, but after that they improved in the Main Round defeated FCM twice, and took three points from CSM Bucuresti also. They were on a wave, had a very good period, but since Main Round ended the team had some injuries: Thea Mörk, Sandra Toft, Kurtovic, Kristine Breistöl were all injured for periods and Sanna Solberg is out for months now. To Podgorica they arrived without Toft, baut the other injuries are healed and Tor Odvar Moen’s team is ready to rock. With a strong defense,

Milena Raicevic and Katarina Bulatovic (Buducnost) photo: Filip Viranovski/gol.mk

Larvik HK is a team which is going through big economic problems and big changes before the next season. This is their last chance for a hile to do it well and reach the F4 in Budapest. Gro and Anja Hammerseng-Edin will retire, Sandra Tof and Sanna Solberg leaves to Esbjerg, Amanda Kurtovic and Marit Malm-Frafjord has signed with Bucuresti from next season. It could be their last big fight and thy will surely give everything. Larvik started with a weak group phase, but after that, they improved in the Main Round defeated FCM twice, and took three points from CSM Bucuresti also. They were on a wave, had a very good period, but since Main Round ended the team had some injuries: Thea Mörk, Sandra Toft, Kurtovic, Kristine Breistöl were all injured for periods and Sanna Solberg is out for months now. To Podgorica they arrived without Toft, but the other injuries are healed and Tor Odvar Moen’s team is ready to rock. With a strong defense, fast breaks and disciplined play Larvik can make it to the F4, but Neagu and company hs the same wish on the other side.

 

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Champions League
Ibolya Szekeres

Hungarian living in Norway with a great passion for handball, primarly women handball. Travels all over the world to follow handball matches and tournaments and to write good articles on this website.

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