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EHF European League

Group phase launch headlined by Siofok at home against Kuban

Kevin Domas, Sergey Nikolaev, Adrian Costeiu, Bela Muller

The inaugural season of the EHF European League Women reached its group phase, which will open with eight games over the weekend.

The 2019 Women’s EHF Cup winners Siofok KC will play at home against Kuban on Saturday, while on Sunday, Astrakhanochka hope to take revenge on THC for losing in the last season’s EHF Cup qualification.


Herning-Ikast Handbold (DEN) vs HC Zvezda (RUS)
Saturday 9 January, 13:30 CET, live on EHFTV

  • Herning-Ikast qualified directly for the group phase while Zvezda booked their ticket by beating Spanish side Bera Bera in the third qualification round (27:27, 29:24)
  • Herning won their two first games in their domestic league in 2021, at Randers (25:24) and against Silkeborg (29:28)
  • Zvezda currently sit fourth in the Russian Super League. The Russian side has not played a game since the EHF EURO break
  • the two teams last met in the 2009/10 season, when Herning-Ikast were still playing under the FC Midtjylland name. Both teams won one leg of the Cup Winners’ Cup Round 3 tie, with the Russian side grabbing a ticket for the next round

Vaci NKSE (HUN) vs Paris 92 (FRA)
Sunday 10 January, 14:00 CET, live on EHFTV

  • Vaci NKSE earned their qualification for the group phase by beating Czech team Banik Most in qualification round 3 over a single game, with a wild 42:41 final score. 
  • Paris, on the other hand, had to go through two rounds, defeating Michalovce (36:14, 29:26) and Nykøbing Falster (28:16, 28:26) 
  • the two teams met in the quarter-finals of the Cup Winners’ Cup in 2013, with both sides taking one leg but Paris getting a ticket for the semi-finals 
  • Vác won their first game in the Hungarian league since the EHF EURO against Erd (34:30) while Paris drew in Dijon (21:21)
  • Paris 92 will play without centre-back Coralie Lassource, who suffered an Achilles tendon injury during the EHF EURO 2020 preparation and who is out for the rest of the season.


Kastamonu Belediyesi GSK (TUR) vs MKS Perla Lublin (POL)
Saturday 9 January, 16:00 CET, live on EHFTV

  • both sides played in the last season’s EHF Cup group phase, but only Kastamonu progressed to the quarter-final, where they lost to Siofok KC
  • this season, Kastamonu reached the group stage following a narrow win against Hungary’s DVSC Schaeffler in the qualification round 3 single match, 31:30
  • Lublin proceeded to the group phase as their encounters with Norway’s Byåsen Håndball Elite in qualification round 3 were cancelled due to the Covid-19 restrictions
  • in early January, Kastamonu signed the Norwegian right back Amanda Kurtovic on loan from Györi Audi ETO KC until the end of the current season

Handball Club Lada (RUS) vs Nantes Atlantique Handball (FRA)
Saturday 9 January, 16:00 CET, live on EHFTV

  • Lada are two-time EHF Cup winners (2012, 2014), while Nantes’ biggest achievement in the second-tier European competition was reaching the quarter-final in 2016/17
  • it will be Lada’s first match in the current competition as they had their group phase ticket confirmed at the start of the season
  • Nantes defeated Romania’s SCM Gloria Buzau in the qualification round 3: the French side won at home 23:16 and went through despite a 27:21 away defeat
  • in their first game of 2021, both sides celebrated wins in their domestic leagues, as Lada beat Universitet on Tuesday 32:17, and Nantes defeated Besancon on Wednesday 34:25


CS Minaur Baia Mare (ROU) vs Storhamar Handball Elite (NOR)
Saturday 9 January, 14:00 CET, live on EHFTV

  • Baia Mare make their comeback in European handball after a five-year hiatus, when they earned a quarter-final place in the EHF Champions League
  • new signing Ann Grete Nørgaard, who joined from SCM Ramnicu Valcea in December, will not be available
  • the Norwegian side are tied with Vipers Kristiansand for the lead in their domestic league, with 11 wins out of 11 games
  • earning a group phase berth thanks to their placement in the domestic league last season, Baia Mare are second in the Romanian league, with five wins and one draw, as one of the two unbeaten teams in the competition

Thüringer HC (GER) vs Astrakhanochka (RUS)
Sunday 10 January, 14:00 CET, live on EHFTV

  • this will be Herbert Müller’s 99th European game in charge of THC, with the German side securing a quarter-final berth in last season’s EHF Cup
  • Astrakhanochka make their comeback in the group phase of a European competition after a four-year hiatus, when they secured a main round berth in the EHF Champions League
  • the Russian side are in high spirits after recording a superb 24:22 win against CSKA Moscow in the Russian Cup quarter-finals on Wednesday
  • the two sides met four times in European competitions, with each side winning their home games. THC eliminated Astrakhanochka with a 55:53 aggregate win in last season’s Women’s EHF Cup Qualification Round 3


Siófok KC (HUN) vs Kuban (RUS)
Saturday 9 January, 18:00 CET, live on EHFTV

  • it has been a roller-coaster season so for the Hungarian side, which won the Women’s EHF Cup two seasons ago. A number of star players and coach Bent Dahl left, while the experienced Croatian coach Zdravko Zovko took over
  • Gábor Danyi, the current head coach of Győri Audi ETO KC will arrive at the start of next season.
  • the hosts started 2021 with a triumph in the domestic league while the Croatian duo, Andrea Kobetic and Katarina Jezic led their scoring list
  • the Russian club last played in the final of a European competition 20 years ago, “it is now time to repeat,” states captain Yana Savinova
  • the two-time EHF Cup Winner’s Cup winners Kuban will compete with a roster filled out only with Russian players

H.C. Dunarea Braila (ROU) vs Fleury Loiret Handball (FRA)
Sunday 10 January, 14:00 CET, live on EHFTV

  • after a four-year absence, the French side is ready even to advance from the group phase, but their domestic league performances are not very comforting with four wins and three defeats
  • the Panthers are full of strong and experienced players such as Alexandra Lacrabere, Laura Kamdop and Isabel Guialo
  • the Romanian club won two qualification rounds before being drawn into one of the toughest groups of the European League
  • Braila’s roster is mostly built with home-grown players supplemented by veteran international athletes

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