Friendly foes to meet once again

Danijela Vekić & Adrian Costeiu

There will be no shortage of drama this week in the EHF Champions League Women, as last week’s card will be flipped, with the same teams facing off again after delivering some excellent games in round 7.

After Rapid Bucuresti lost their first game of the season last week no team is still unbeaten, but the Romanian side will try and use a full Polivalenta Arena to take points from Györ. Meanwhile CSM Bucuresti travel to meet FTC, in another episode of their rivalry.

This week, the Match of the Week heads to Odense, as the hosts aim to extend their winning streak and set a record in the European premium competition.

FTC-Rail Cargo Hungaria (HUN) vs CSM Bucuresti (ROU)
Saturday 10 December, 16:00 CET, live on EHFTV

  • CSM have had their best start ever in the EHF Champions League Women, with five wins, a draw and a loss, and are eyeing a place in the quarter-finals
  • while they have won more points in away games – four - than on their home court – three – FTC are a force to be reckoned with when they are at home, with their worst result being a one-goal loss against Brest, 20:21
  • the second and the third best scorers of the season will face off in Erd this weekend. CSM’s Cristina Neagu has scored 53 goals, while FTC right back Katrin Klujber has 51 goals
  • Neagu needs only 37 goals to become the third player ever to score 1,000 goals in the EHF Champions League Women, after Jovanka Radicevic and Anita Görbicz
  • this will be the 12th time the two teams meet in the European premium competition in the last six seasons, with FTC taking three wins, all on their home court
20221208 CLW Preview Szollosi
For 50 minutes we showed that we can stop CSM Bucuresti, unfortunately our performance dropped in the end, but I am very confident that we will be able to correct these mistakes this week. We really want to win, I hope that we can play in a special atmosphere, our fans always give us enormous support.
Szandra Szöllosi-Zácsik
Left back, FTC-Rail Cargo Hungaria

Vipers Kristiansand (NOR) vs DHK Banik Most (CZE)
Saturday 10 December, 18:00 CET, live on EHFTV

  • the leaders of the group, Vipers, who won five games out of their seven played, will face once again Most, the last-placed side, only a week after delivering the Czech side a 21:43 loss
  • by beating their previous record of goals scored in a single match in the competition last week, Vipers have jumped to fourth place in the top teams ranked by number of goals scored, with 226
  • no team has conceded more goals in their first seven matches of a season in the Champions League than Most – 289, or an average of 41.2 goals per game
  • after scoring 11 goals in the first leg, Vipers’ left back Markéta Jerábková will face once again her former club, where she played between 2014 and 2018
  • another loss would be the eighth of the season for Most and their 11th in a row in the European premium competition; only five losses shy of the record streak set by Krim Mercator Ljubljana between November 2014 and October 2016

Brest Bretagne Handball (FRA) vs SG BBM Bietigheim (GER)
Saturday 10 December, 18:00 CET, live on EHFTV

  • after a two-game winless run, Bietigheim have dropped from first place in terms of the teams with the best attack in the competition. They now rank fifth, with 225 goals in seven matches, and Brest are second to last, with 170 goals scored
  • the German side’s attacking woes have plagued them. They boasted an average of 35.2 scored goals per game after the first five matches, but their last two, a loss against Odense and a draw against Brest, had an average of 24.5 goals per game
  • with only two wins and a draw in the first seven matches, this is Brest’s worst start to a season since their debut in the Champions League, 2017/18, when they lost all the six matches scheduled
  • midway through the group phase, Brest are currently in sixth place in the standings, the last to send a team to the play-offs, with five points, one more than Krim
  • after their strongest start ever in the European premium competition, Bietigheim have faltered and secured only two wins in their last five matches, with the last game being a 25:25 draw against Brest
  • Bietigheim head coach Markus Gaugisch said: "We saw on Sunday that Brest have a great team. The squad is stocked with insane quality. We gave everything we could and got a point from the top team despite our lack of personnel. I am sure that we will also fight for a chance in Brest. We have a lot to gain in our current situation."
20221208 CLW Preview BBH SGBBM

MOTW: Odense Håndbold (DEN) vs Krim Mercator Ljubljana (SLO)
Sunday 11 December, 16:00 CET, live on EHFTV

  • despite their injury woes, Odense are on a superb run of form, winning seven games on the trot in all competitions, including a three-game winning run in the Champions League
  • if Odense secure another win in the Match of the Week, they would set a record for themselves in the European premium competition, having previously tied their best-ever winning streak last week with the 29:23 victory against Krim
  • Krim’s away form has been patchy at best. The Slovenian side has won only two of the last 19 away matches played in the Champions League
  • with only 182 conceded goals in seven matches, an average of 26 per game, Odense have the fifth best defence in the competition
  • Odense’s goalkeeper, Danish stalwart Althea Reinhardt, has the second-highest number of saves in the competition so far, 81, with a saving efficiency of 34.6 per cent, only two saves shy of the leader of the pack, Buducnost’s goalkeeper Armelle Attingré
  • Odense coach Ulrik Kirkely said: "We were very satisfied with the last 40 minutes in Ljubljana, where we really showed great mental strength and smartness in the second half. However, we are aware that we need to concentrate in all 60 minutes in every phase of the game to take the two points on our home court."
This week we spent time analysing their 5:1 and 5+1 defenses. We practiced several solutions well and solved the puzzle, but now it's time to show it on Sunday. We showed a great game until the 50th minute and kept the score, parried them, mistakes in the attack and their easy goals cost us. With good analysis, keeping agreements, aggressive defence, our energy, which we put together, we can correct the mistakes we made on Sunday and beat Odense.
Maja Svetik
Left wing, Krim Mercator Ljubljana


Kastamonu Belediyesi GSK (TUR) vs Metz Handball (FRA)
Saturday 10 December, 16:00 CET, live on EHFTV

  • last week's 35:34 victory over Kastamonu was Metz's third overall win against the Turkish club
  • Kastamonu will welcome the French powerhouse after two straight defeats in the EHF Champions League Women; their only win this season was against Lokomotiva in round 5
  • Metz will have a chance to take first position in group B; the French team only suffered one defeat this season by Team Esbjerg and had a draw against Rapid Bucuresti in round 2
  • last Saturday Bruna de Paula was unstoppable for Metz, netting seven times; Mouna Chebbah also scored seven for Kastamonu, but the team recorded only a 39 per cent attack efficiency against the French side
  • Metz are still victorious in the domestic championship – ahead of the journey to Türkiye they defeated Plan de Cucques 27:23

Team Esbjerg (DEN) vs HC Lokomotiva Zagreb (CRO)
Saturday 10 December, 18:00 CET, live on EHFTV

  • after losing 18:30 in the first match of the back-to-back duels, Lokomotiva travel to Denmark with a hope of a good game
  • Zagreb are the least effective in the EHF Champions League, scoring only 134 goals at 47 per cent attack efficiency; in contrast, Esbjerg are the leading team with 232 goals at 68.4 per cent
  • Esbjerg are currently third in group B with two defeats against Rapid Bucuresti and Györ, while Lokomotiva lost all seven matches
  • Team Esbjerg have been struggling with injuries and missed four players in the last match against Lokomotiva, head coach Jesper Jensen hopes to see them on the court soon
  • the Croatian club beat Bjelovar 31:22 in the domestic championship and are still in the lead, while Esbjerg are currently the fourth club in Denmark after losing 27:32 to Nykøbing F. Håndbold
20221208 CLW Preview Sostaric
Esbjerg is a team that certainly deserves the EHF FINAL4. Their outside line would win in the Croatian men's premier league, and their quality is fascinating. We must finish some things with them that we still need to do in Zagreb. Remember that we had a good result and two minutes with one player more, but instead of patiently looking for a chance to score, we rushed and conceded two goals, and that's where the game broke. We have to play even more disciplined, be as combative as we were in Zagreb and be a little better in the realisation phase.
Nenad Sostaric
Coach, HC Lokomotiva Zagreb
They are a difficult team, because they are playing more on intuition, rather than the more rigid structure we have and are more accustomed to play against. They style is completely different and that will be a challenge for us to face.
Anne Tolstrup Petersen
Right wing, Team Esbjerg

CS Rapid Bucuresti (ROU) vs Györi Audi ETO KC (HUN)
Sunday 10 December, 14:00 CET, live on EHFTV

  • at the midway point of the competition, the Hungarian team are leading the way in group B with 12 points; Rapid Bucuresti are fourth with 10
  • in last week's match, Györ won 32:30 with the help of Ana Gros and Silje Solberg
  • Györ's right back Katrin Klujber is the competition's third top scorer with 51 goals scored; she will face goalkeeper Ivana Kapitanovic who has a 35 per cent save efficiency in the competition and made a difference in the last match between the two sides
  • Ana Gros is out for a few weeks due to a nose injury after colliding with a Rapid player in last week's match
  • Györ come to Bucuresti after a 36:24 win over Bekescsabai; Rapid Bucuresti were equally effective against Baia Mare in Romania (38:24)
  • this will be only the second time these two clubs meet

Storhamar Handball Elite (NOR) vs WHC Buducnost BEMAX (MNE)
Sunday 10 December, 16:00 CET, live on EHFTV

  • Storhamar lost last week's encounter narrowly (23:24) after playing at a high level throughout
  • Buducnost's strongest link in the 24:23 win was the goalkeeper Armelle Attingré with a high 41 per cent save efficiency. Attingré is also the competition's top goalkeeper after seven rounds
  • this is the clash of the mid-section of the group – Buducnost are fifth with seven points won so far, and Storhamar follow with four
  • Buducnost line player Nikolina Vukcevic: "We will be without Milena Raicevic and Ivona Pavicevic, who are injured. The result could have been better in the first match in Podgorica, but it is our fault because we made many mistakes, especially in the first half. It will be extremely difficult in Norway, but if we reduce the number of technical errors, we can hope for a positive result."
  • both teams have an almost equal attack efficiency in the Champions League - Buducnost netted 189 times at 60 per cent and the Norwegian club scored five less (184) at 56 per cent
  • Storhamar were successful against Aker Topphandball in the domestic cup, qualifying to the next stage after a 39:23 win

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