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18.01.2018, 11:10◄ last page     


ROUND PREVIEW: Brest, Lada and Kastamonu look to earn their third victories, while Höör and Larvik meet in a Nordic derby in Group D
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Three teams hope to extend their perfect record

The group stage of the Women's EHF Cup is now in full swing and over the weekend the teams will play their round 3 matches.

Brest, Lada and Kastamonu started the tournament with two victories, and they hope to celebrate another win, while the Group D leaders Höör and Larvik are scheduled to meet in Sweden.

  • Brest, Lada and Kastamonu have a 100% record after two games
  • Randers, Vipers and Gdynia still have no points
  • Gdynia’s Aleksandra Zych is the top scorer so far with 23 goals

GROUP A

Kuban (RUS) vs SCM Craiova (ROM)
Sunday 21 January, 18:00 local time, live on ehfTV.com

After two rounds, Kuban and Craiova are level on points, and the Romanian team are ahead of their rivals in Group A table only due to a better goal difference.

Kuban opened the group stage with a win in Randers, but a home defeat against Brest clearly demonstrated that the young Russian side have much work to do.

“To be honest, Brest are just stronger at the moment, but this won't last forever,” said Kuban’s head coach Evgenii Trefilov.

Now the Krasnodar-based side have a chance to redeem themselves in front of their home crowd. However, Craiova are not an easy nut to crack.

Despite losing, the Romanian team fought hard in their opening game in Brest, and they went on to beat Randers the following week, so they have a reason to expect a positive result in Krasnodar.

Other Group A match:

Randers HK (DEN) vs Brest Bretagne Handball (FRA)
Saturday 20 January, 16:00 local time

GROUP B

Handball Club Lada (RUS) vs Vipers Kristiansand (NOR)
Saturday 20 January, 16:00 local time, live on ehfTV.com

So far, Lada have lived up to a favourites’ status given to them before the start of the group stage. The Russian side are among just three teams in the competition who can boast a 100% record – two wins in two matches.

The Toliatti-based side somewhat struggled in the opening home game with Koebenhavn, yet they then conquered Paris surprisingly easily, beating Issy by 10 goals.

Lada’s captain and leader Daria Dmitrieva scored eight times in that match, and her impact was particularly visible in the crucial moments of the game.

So now Vipers should have keep an eye on Dmitrieva if they want to succeed in Toliatti. And the Norwegian team definitely need a positive result as they have no points in hand and sit bottom of the group.

However, it will be hard for them after a Wednesday domestic league game with Glassverket (34:17) and an exhausting Thursday trip – by plane from Oslo to Moscow, then another flight to Samara and finally a bus ride to Toliatti.

Other Group B match:

Koebenhavn Haandbold (DEN) vs Issy Paris Hand (FRA)
Sunday 21 January, 14:00 local time

GROUP C

Kastamonu Belediyesi GSK (TUR) vs Byasen Handball Elite (NOR)
Sunday 21 January, 17:00 local time

Kastamonu should certainly be credited for their confident performance in the group phase. Two victories against Viborg and Gdynia have made the Turkish side a surprising leader of Group C.

Moreover, after two rounds of games Kastamonu boast the most powerful attack in the whole competition. They scored 28 goals in each match, which makes 56 in total.

Notably more than a third of those goals - 20 - are attributed to Serpil Iskenderoglu who is ranked second in the scoring charts after Gdynia’s Aleksandra Zych.

Byasen’s attack, in contrast, was not too impressive at the start of the group phase. While 24 goals were enough to win the opening match in Gdynia, a week later the Norwegian team were overrun by Viborg in the Nordic derby (21:28).

It will not be easy for Byasen to withstand the pressure in Turkey where Kastamonu will be supported by a vocal and enthusiastic crowd.

Other Group C match:

Viborg HK (DEN) vs Vistal Gdynia (POL)
Sunday 21 January, 14:00 local time

GROUP D

H 65 Höörs HK (SWE) vs Larvik (NOR)
Saturday 20 January, 15:00 local time

The town of Eslöv, where Höör play their home matches in the EHF Cup, will host an entertaining Nordic derby between the two Group D leaders.

The Swedish champions started the group round with a narrow win over Banik (28:27) before suffering a defeat against Zalau (24:21), with whom they are currently level on two points.

In their turn, Larvik have three points and are top of the quartet. So far, all the matches in Group D have been very tight - the Norwegian team, in particular, were on the verge of defeat last week against Banik, yet ultimately salvaged a point.

Now Larvik hope to do better and to win in Sweden. It will be certainly a special match for their player Cassandra Tollbring, who had spent three previous seasons at Höör, but now she is determined to help her team earn two points.

Other Group D match:

DHK Banik Most (CZE) vs H.C.Zalau (ROM)
Sunday 21 January, 18:00 local time


TEXT: Sergey Nikolaev/jh

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