Győri-Lukács and Györ aim to end trophy drought in Budapest
At only 27 years old, Viktória Győri-Lukács has been one of the most reliable right wings in the EHF Champions League Women over the last seasons, scoring 330 goals in the premier European competition in her career.
Since 2020, Győri-Lukács has been featuring constantly for Györi Audi ETO KC, sharing the duties on the right wing position with fellow Hungarian player Dorottya Faluvégi, as the Hungarian powerhouse has relied more and more on homegrown players on the two wings.
But Győri-Lukács earned her spot in the roster with some excellent games, being a key cog in her side’s successful campaigns, which three times ended in Budapest at the EHF FINAL4.
“It's hard to compare how the team looked in the past and how it looks now, because the circumstances are different. But we are proud to qualify for the EHF FINAL4 and we will do our best here, in Budapest, like we tried to do in the past seasons too,” says Győri-Lukács.
Yet this has been an atypical season for Györ, a team which was used to sweeping their opponents in the past until the business end of the European premium competition in Budapest.
For the first time in seven years, Györ lost a home game in the EHF Champions League Women, against Metz Handball, which was a blow to the confidence of the team and raised some question marks over their form.
Was Györ susceptible to miss the EHF FINAL4 for the first time since the 2014/15 season and only for the second time in history since the current format was introduced in 2014?
“We are at the end of a long and difficult season. Many small injuries made it difficult for us to perform at the highest level in the start of the season, but we knew we were going to play better and better as the season develops,” added Györ’s right wing.
“Right now, everybody is healthy, we are all hungry for the title and we are just looking forward for our last games of the season in the Champions League.”
That loss against Metz meant that Györ failed to secure first place in the group phase and usher a level of uncertainty in the squad, as well as alerting opponents that the Hungarian powerhouse has its weaknesses.
Györ also had their share of trouble in the first leg of the quarter-finals against Odense, where the Danish side entered the break with a five-goal lead, 17:12, only for Györ to mount an impressive comeback and show that they are still the team to beat with a 29:27 win.
“Now, a month has passed since the quarter-finals and at the FINAL4 only the small details will decide the winners. From my experience, the team that can absorb the pressure and who has a longer bench will win. We want to win the title, of course, but the opponents will also try to secure the trophy, so it will not be easy,” says Györi-Lukács.
However, Györ have the pressure on them, as they failed to secure the trophy since 2019, which is plenty of wait for a team of their calibre.
The semi-final draw also brought an extra layer of interest for the fans and the teams alike, as Györ will face Vipers Kristiansand, in a do-or-die rematch of last season’s final, when the Norwegian side took a 33:31 win to secure the trophy.
Of course, the desire to avenge that loss will fuel Györ’s ambitions at the EHF FINAL4, yet it is not only about that, it is also about getting a better grip on their performance, in what will be the final days of Ambros Martin’s tenure at the helm of the Hungarian powerhouse.
Yet Györi-Lukács is unphased about that loss, focusing on the task at hand, rather than living in the past.
“We are fuelled a bit by that desire to avenge that loss, but we are only thinking about this game. If we want to win the title, we need to beat the best teams and the best teams are now here, in Budapest. Vipers are in very good shape, but we are also there, we will try to win,” says the right wing.
If Györ want to win this semi-final, they will need help from all players, including from Györi-Lukács, who has been nominated for the EHF Excellence Awards, which will honour the best players of the past season.
The right wing has been one of the best players on her position both in the EHF Champions League Women and at EHF EURO 2022, where she scored 20 goals for Hungary.
“I am proud to have been nominated, it is good to have this kind of feedback, it means I did my job. However, I want to prove that I deserved that nomination and I will try to do that in Budapest,” concludes Györ’s right wing.