By Peter Bruun
Metz showcased an impressive performance, especially in the second half of their 26:18 road win against Rostov-Don.
Injuries and maternity leaves have taken a toll on the Russian champion and they are not the intimidating team they used to be. The result maybe indicative of what’s ahead for Glauser & Co. as the Champions League FINAL4 moves closer.
Even though Buducnost were missing Djurdjine Jaukovic and lost Milena Raicevic during the first half, Kobenhavn´s 31:20 win at home calls for respect, especially when considering the many injuries on their side.
Brest Bretagne Handball
It is not so much the fact that Brest lost 29:24 at home, but rather how Odense defeated the ambitious French club. After a 7:2 lead at the start, Brest more or less fell apart in the second half – the defeat cannot entirely explained by the absence of Isabelle Gullden and Cleopatre Darleux as well as head coach Laurent Bezau.
Players of the Match
Nycke Groot – (Györ)
In addition to becoming top scorer with eight goals on 10 attempts, the now former Dutch international, carried an enormous workload and played a big part in the Györ´s 27:25 victory against CSM Bucuresti; a win that secured Györ first place in Group 2.
Henny Reistad – (Vipers)
No one should really be surprised by yet another stellar performance of the Norwegian shooting star, but Reistad deserves a mention once again after scoring seven goals on seven attempts, as Vipers removed the last bit of doubt about their first Champions League quarter-final berth ever after defeating Krim 29:21.
Katrin Klujber – (FTC)
The 18-year-old Hungarian with the Dutch-sounding named drew attention as her nine goals helped FTC to a narrow, but crucial 30:29 win at home, against Thüringer HC.
Seven of the eight quarter-finalists have been determined well ahead of the last two rounds.
Metz, Györ, CSM, Rostov-Don, Vipers, FTC and Buducnost are ready for the quarter-final and only one ticket is still up for grabs.
The two Danish teams, Odense and Kobenhavn, will be competing for the remaining spot, when they meet in Odense, on Saturday. In case of a draw, the decision will be postponed until the very last match day.
In the same group – Group 1 – Buducnost and Rostov-Don will meet in the battle for second place.
In Group 2, the battle for second position continues, when Vipers visit Thüringer HC, while CSM will battle Krim and FTC fight Györ in part two of the Hungarian derby.