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Nantes put to the test as group phase opens

EHF / Danijela Vekić, Sergey Nikolaev, Adrian Costeiu

The second season of the EHF European League Women has reached its group phase, which will open with five matches on Saturday on Sunday.

Title holders Les Neptunes de Nantes will begin the group phase with a home match against Bundesliga side SG BBM Bietigheim, widely regarded as one of the favourites of the competition.

In another interesting duel, Handball Club Lada take on Herning-Ikast Håndbold, the team that eliminated them in the quarter-final last season.

GROUP A

Motherson Mosonmagyarovari KC (HUN) vs ES Besancon Feminin (FRA)
Sunday 9 January, 14:00 CET, live on EHFTV

  • the two sides have never faced each other before
  • the Hungarian team will make their debut in the EHF European League, and they will play in Györ instead of their home UFM Arena
  • the young Hungarian squad is led by a Tóth duo: Eszter and Gabriella
  • the French side comes off a 33:31 win against Dijon and are ranked fifth in the domestic competition
  • Besancon’s Lucie Granier was part of the French national team that won silver at the WCh 2021 in Spain last month

Sola HK (NOR) vs HC Lokomotiva Zagreb (CRO)
Match has been postponed and will be rescheduled.

GROUP B

Les Neptunes de Nantes (FRA) vs SG BBM Bietigheim (GER)
Sunday 9 January, 16:00 CET, live on EHFTV

  • the title holders progressed to the group phase with a 74:49 aggregate win in qualification over Swedish team H65 Höörs
  • Bietgheim also easily qualified: a 60:38 aggregate win over Norwegian side Tertnes Bergen
  • Bietigheim continued their perfect run in the German Bundesliga with an impressive 33:22 victory over CL participants Dortmund last Sunday, their 10th straight win
  • Bietigheim have lost all six games played against French opponents in European competitions: four against Metz Handball and two against Brest Bretagne Handball

CS Minaur Baia Mare (ROU) vs MKS Zaglebie Lubin (POL)
Sunday 9 January, 16:00 CET, live on EHFTV

  • last season’s EHF Finals participants Baia Mare lost key players like goalkeeper Filippa Idehn, left back Jovanka Kovacevic and line player Linn Blohm last summer
  • the Romanian side has been impressive on their home court, losing only once in seven games: in the semi-final against reigning champions, Les Neptunes de Nantes
  • Lubin have not played in the group phase of a European competition before
  • the Polish side eliminated LC Brühl (68:43 on aggregate) and HC Zvezda (68:55) in their two qualification rounds
  • Baia Mare have won three times against Polish opponents: in the Challenge Cup semi-final of 2002/03 against Nata AZS-AWFiS Gdansk, and twice in the EHF Champions League 2014/15 against MKS Selgros Lublin

GROUP C

Magura Cisnadie (ROU) vs Storhamar Handball Elite (NOR)
Saturday 8 January, 16:00 CET, live on EHFTV

  • Magura take part in a group phase for a third time: they lost all 12 matches in the EHF Cup group phase in the 2018/19 and 2019/20 seasons, they played in the EHF Cup group stage, but lost all 12 matches
  • the Romanian team suffered two defeats against Storhamar in 2018/19: 26:18 and 28:23
  • this season, Storhamar defeated another Romanian side in qualification: SCM Gloria Buzau (57:53 on aggregate)
  • in the same competition stage, Magura proved too strong for the Hungarian side DVSC Schaeffler: 47:43 on aggregate
  • Storhamar right wing Emilie Hovden won a gold medal with Norway at the Women's World Championship 2021

Handball Club Lada (RUS) vs Herning-Ikast Håndbold (DEN)
Sunday 9 January, 14:00 CET, live on EHFTV

  • Lada were seeded directly into the group stage; Herning-Ikast defeated MTK Budapest in qualification round 3 (68:56 on aggregate)
  • last season, the two teams met in EL quarter-final and Herning-Ikast won twice, 31:29 and 28:25
  • Herning's Emma Friis and Simone Petersen won bronze with Denmark at the Women's World Championship 2021, where four Lada's players represented Russia
  • Lada lost to CSKA 33:32 in the Russian Cup quarter-final last week; the team is ranked third in the domestic league behind Rostov-Don and CSKA
  • Herning-Ikast are fourth in the Danish league, behind CL clubs Odense and Esbjerg and fellow EHF European League Women team Viborg HK

GROUP D

Chambray Touraine Handball (FRA) vs Váci NKSE (HUN)
Match has been postponed and will be rescheduled.

Viborg HK (DEN) vs SCM Ramnicu Valcea (ROU)
Match has been postponed and will be rescheduled.

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