ROUND PREVIEW: The remaining four quarter-finalists of the Women's EHF Cup are to be determined during the final set of group matches
Four quarter-final berths still up for grabs
Four teams have already guaranteed their progression to the Women's EHF Cup Quarter-finals with one round of the group phase to spare - Larvik, Lada, Kastamonu and Zalau.
However, there are four more spots to be decided over the coming weekend and four matches will be available to enjoy on ehfTV.com.
• No quarter-finalists are yet known in Group A
• Lada have secured the first place in their group
• Two Danish-Norwegian clashes are scheduled for Saturday
• Randers, Koebenhavn, Gdynia, Hoor and Banik cannot progress
Brest Bretagne Handball (FRA) vs Kuban (RUS)
Group A is the only group where both quarter-finalists are still to be determined as Brest, Kuban and Craiova are level on six points. There are multiple scenarios for the final round of matches, yet all three contenders know that everything is in their hands.
Craiova, who will play against the last-placed Randers on Sunday, know an away victory will secure their progression.
Both Brest and Kuban also need a win in their direct duel, and in case of a draw, the French side have the head-to-head advantage as they beat their Russian rivals in Round 2 in Krasnodar (28:22).
Both Brest and Kuban will go through if they split the points and SCM are defeated in Randers.
Other Group A match:
Handball Club Lada (RUS) vs Issy Paris Hand (FRA)
Lada are the only team in the competition to have secured not only progression to the quarter-finals, but also first place in the group.
Last Sunday at Koebenhavn, the Russian side claimed their fourth win in five group matches. And their captain Daria Dmitrieva, who netted 12 times in Denmark, now has 37 goals in the tournament, and is just one goal behind the top scorer Serpil Iskenderoglu from Kastamonu.
Issy will be motivated in the last round of games as their second place in Group B is in danger.
A win in Toliatti will put the French team through to the next round, but a defeat or even a draw may mean the end of the road.
Vipers, who are going to host the last-placed Koebenhavn in the Scandinavian derby, will advance ahead of Issy on head-to-head results in case they are level on points.
Other Group B match:
Viborg HK (DEN) vs Byasen Handball Elite (NOR)
The other Scandinavian derby of the weekend will take place in Denmark, where Viborg and Byasen will clash over the second quarter-finalist from Group C.
Kastamonu, who are surprisingly strong during the current campaign, have already secured a spot in the next round, but it is not yet clear which one of the sides will also advance.
Viborg needed a win in Kastamonu to seal their quarter-final berth last week, yet they were overrun by the Turkish hosts 28:15, while Byasen stayed in the fight following an impressive match against the outsiders Gdynia, winning 41:19.
Now the winner of the duel in Viborg will go through, while a draw will will be enough for the Danish side, who comfortably beat Byasen away in Round 2 (28:21).
In case Viborg reach their goal, they will be the only quarter-finalists from Denmark as both Randers and Koebenhavn have lost their chances to be promoted.
Other Group C match:
H 65 Höörs HK (SWE) vs H.C. Zalau (ROU)
The picture is now clear in Group D where both Zalau and Larvik have already sealed their quarter-final places and may now think about the next round.
However, it is not yet determined which of the two teams will finish in first place. While Zalau were behind their Norwegian rivals throughout most of the campaign, a victory in their match last week put them top of the group.
Now the Romanian side have four wins in a row under their belt and a fifth in Sweden will secure the group victory.
Höör, in their turn, have no chance to advance to the next round, yet they would like to bid farewell to the tournament on a good note in front of their home crowd.
Other Group D match:
Larvik (NOR) vs DHK Banik Most (CZE)
TEXT: Sergey Nikolaev / cor
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