01.02.2018, 19:00◄ last page     

ROUND PREVIEW: With the Women's EHF Cup Group Phase entering its penultimate round, several teams can follow Larvik and book their quarter-final ticket this weekend

Battle for quarter-final spots is heating up

The Women’s EHF Cup Group Phase is approaching its decision time.

Round 5 this weekend will see several teams earning their quarter-final berths, joining Larvik HK which became the first team to advance a week ago.

  • Larvik are the only undefeated team in the group phase

  • Gdynia and Banik cannot reach the quarter-finals anymore

  • Kastamonu's Serpil Iskenderoglu is the leading scorer with 34 goals


SCM Craiova (ROM) vs Brest Bretagne Handball (FRA)
Saturday 3 February, 18:00 hrs local time

The 30:24 home win against Kuban last week was valuable for Craiova. Not only because they claimed two points, but also because now the Romanian side have an advantage over their Russian rivals on head-to-head results after Kuban had won by just two goals (28:26) in Krasnodar.

SCM are now in second placed in the competitive Group A, yet their coach Bogdan Burcea is reluctant to speculate about his team’s chances.

“We are not the favourites to go through. We are still the Cinderella of our group, just like we were at the start,” he said.

Brest are top of the section following their clear win against Randers (23:15), a revenge for their surprise defeat in Denmark a week before.

A victory in Craiova will secure promotion for the French side, so they look forward to a successful trip to Romania.

Other Group A match:

Kuban (RUS) vs Randers HK (DEN)
Sunday 4 February, 16:00 hrs local time, live on


Koebenhavn Haandbold (DEN) vs Handball Club Lada (RUS)
Sunday 4 February, 14:00 hrs local time

Koebenhavn had a narrow escape last week at Issy, where they drew level three seconds from the final buzzer to grab a draw.

However, the Danish team are in third place with three points and will need some victories to stay in the fight.

Koebenhavn boast the second best attack in the whole competition behind their fellow Danish team Viborg, and they will try to make use of it against Lada.

The Russian side could have secured their promotion last week in Kristiansand, yet they lost 30:21 after being totally overrun in the last 15 minutes.

“I think that we were just tired in the final stage of the game, that's why we could not score. But such setbacks are even more useful than victories - they show that we still have something to work on," said Lada captain Daria Dmitrieva.

Other Group B match:

Issy Paris Hand (FRA) vs Vipers Kristiansand (NOR)
Sunday 4 February, 20:30 hrs local time


Kastamonu Belediyesi GSK (TUR) vs Viborg HK (DEN)
Sunday 4 February, 17:00 hrs local time

Both teams share the lead in the group with six points, so a victory will secure a quarter-final spot for either of the teams.

Kastamonu squandered their first chance to reach this goal last week. Following three straight victories, they came back empty-handed from Trondheim where they lost to Byasen.

On Sunday, they play at home in front of their passionate crowd and hope to defeat Viborg for the second time in the group phase. In the opening round, Kastamonu claimed a 28:26 win in Denmark, which boosted their morale and confidence.

Since then, Viborg have been on a three-game winning run. But they should be wary of the competition’s top scorer, Serpil Iskenderoglu, who netted 11 times against in Denmark.

Other Group C match:

Byasen Handball Elite (NOR) vs Vistal Gdynia (POL)
Saturday 3 February, 17:00 hrs local time


H.C.Zalau (ROM) vs Larvik (NOR)
Sunday 4 February, 17:00 hrs local time

While Larvik have already sealed their quarter-final spot, Zalau are also quite likely to go through. The Romanian team, who have won three matches in a row, need just one point on Sunday to reach their goal, so a home draw against Larvik will suffice.

“We should at least get a point against Larvik so we are not dependent on the game Banik vs. Hoor or on the results in the last round of games. We have a great chance to qualify for the quarter-finals,” Zalau coach Gheorghe Tadici said.

But it will not be easy against Larvik. Following their elimination from the EHF Champions League, the Norwegian side have been taking the EHF Cup very seriously and remain the only undefeated team in the competition.

Having secured their promotion, Larvik want to finish top of Group D so a defeat in Zalau would be undesirable for them.

Other Group D match:

DHK Banik Most (CZE) vs H 65 Höörs HK (SWE)
Sunday 4 February, 18:00 hrs local time

TEXT: Sergey Nikolaev / ew

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