During the last round, FTC defeated Thüringer HC in Germany in a tough and close match, but after beating Győri Audi ETO KC in Tuesday’s Hungarian classic, the expectations were about a much easier and clearer victory than two weeks ago. The German silver medalists travelled to Hungary with only 10 players, 2 of them being goalkeepers so head coach Herbert Müller didn’t have a lot of space for changing players during the match. Despite the injury problems Thüringer HC has to face, the Germans didn’t arrive to the court with the hands held high. On several occasions in the first half, they were in front against their stronger opponent. Many players from FTC couldn’t repeat their performances from Tuesday and they struggled on both ends of the court. Once again, Iveta Luzumova was the star of THC’s squad – the Czech playmaker managed to keep her good form shown this season. Between the 21st and the 26th minute, FTC wasn’t able to score while THC scored three times in a row – this put them three goals ahead (10-13) for the first time in the match. In the end of the first half, FTC had to fight hard not to take a bigger disadvantage to the locker room and they managed to come closer, however, the lead was still on the guest side after 30 minutes played (13-14).
The flow of the match was quite similar to what we’d seen two weeks earlier. However, this time, THC didn’t seem to run out of fuel as ‘early’ as in the first match. Despite FTC’s efforts to turn the match around, the Germans were going strong and showed some mental power to be able to stand the pressure from the Hungarians. It was after 46 minutes that FTC could take the lead after a long time and THC seemed to lack power. FTC concentrated better than before, and THC’ shots started to be less accurate than before. Even though the goalkeepers of FTC weren’t in their best days, still they had some crucial saves to help the team in important periods of the game. FTC entered the last 5 minutes with a five-goal lead, for the joy of the green-white crowd, but Thüringen still showed some signs of willpower to save one point. When with just 4 minutes left, Nerea Pena scored and the difference was 4 goals (27-23), the FTC-players and fans could sigh with relief, still the match wasn’t decided. With two quick goals from the guests, they were back in sight again and even had the ball to come even closer to their opponent, but a steal from Anikó Kovacsics basically decide the outcome of the game. In the last minute, Viktória Lukács netted one more time to secure the two points (28-25). Despite the defeat, THC deserves a lot of compliments for the fight they have shown during the whole match, while the Hungarian hosts can be happy about two more points earned on their way to the next stage.
EHF Champions League – Group C – 4th round
FTC-Rail Cargo Hungaria – Thüringer HC 28-25 (13-14)
FTC-Rail Cargo Hungaria: N. Pena 6, V. Lukács 5, M. Jovanovic 4, L. van der Heijden 3, A. Kovacsics 3, N. Schatzl 1, N. Háfra 1, R. Mészáros 1, Z. Szucsánszki 1, G. Márton 1, D. Snelder 1, D. Faluvégi 1
Thüringer HC: B. Scheffknecht 5, I. Luzumová 5, L. Jakubisova 5, A. Mazzucco 4, M. Schmelzer 3, K. Wohlbold 2, J. Huber 1
Penalties: 1/1 ; 2/2
Suspensions: 4 minutes ; 6 minutes