Heavyweight rivalry headlines decisive weekend
The line-up for the EHF FINAL4 2022 on 4/5 June will be completed this weekend as three teams are going to earn their ticket to Budapest to join already qualified Metz Handball.
Much attention in the second leg of the EHF Champions League Women 2021/22 quarter-finals will go to the Match of the Week between Györi Audi ETO KC and Brest Bretagne Handball.
The clash has become an instant classic of the EHF Champions League, as five of the teams' last six meetings all ended in a draw after 60 minutes. The quarter-final first leg last week was no exception, as it ended in a deadlock: 21:21.
Also, Team Esbjerg start their home leg against CSM Bucuresti with a minimal advantage (26:25), while titleholders Vipers Kristiansand enjoy a comfortable-looking seven-goal lead (32:25) heading into the decisive match against Krim Mercator Ljubljana.
QUARTER-FINALS, LEG 2
MOTW: Györi Audi ETO KC (HUN) vs Brest Bretagne Handball (FRA) – first leg 21:21
Saturday 7 May 16:00 CEST, live on EHFTV
- Györ have not lost for 42 consecutive home games (39 wins, three draws) since October 2015, when they lost on home court against FC Midtjylland (26:21)
- Brest have won two and drew one of their eight away matches this season
- no other team has played at the EHF FINAL4 more times than Györ, who have participated six times and only failed to qualify for the 2015 edition
- Györ will become the first team with 190 wins in the EHF Champions League if they beat Brest; 38 wins more than Buducnost BEMAX
- Györ will miss line player Kari Brattset Dale, who is pregnant, but might welcome back goalkeeper Silje Solberg after surgery
We couldn’t really score any easy goals in the first game, but we have learned from the mistakes of the first match. The qualification to the EHF FINAL4 is not yet decided, but I am confident that the home court will provide us with a great advantage, so in front of our spectators we can make it.
Vipers Kristiansand (NOR) vs Krim Mercator Ljubljana (SLO) – first leg 32:25
Saturday 7 May, 18:00 CEST, live on EHFTV
- Vipers secured the biggest win in the first leg of the quarter-finals, in what was their sixth away win in eight games this season
- Krim’s first goal of the match will be their 7,500th in the EHF Champions League, a feature previously only achieved by Buducnost, who needed six more games to reach the milestone
- two-time champions Krim have failed to qualify for the semi-finals since the 2012/13 season
- Vipers outscored Krim 37:20 when the teams met in the group phase three months ago; Krim have won only one of their last 19 away matches
- Krim have beaten Vipers once in nine duels: 30:20 in the return leg of the Cup Winners’ Cup quarter-finals in February 2016
Team Esbjerg (DEN) vs CSM Bucuresti (ROU) – first leg 26:25
Sunday 8 April, 16:00 CEST, live on EHFTV
- Esbjerg are on a seven-game unbeaten streak at home, including six wins and a +52-goal difference; only Györ have a longer such streak
- Esbjerg’s two best scorers are Norwegian backs: Henny Reistad and Kristine Breistøl, who combine for 151 goals
- Esbjerg are trying to reach the EHF FINAL4 for the first time; CSM have failed to qualify for Budapest since the 2017/18 season
- CSM’s Cristina Neagu is the current top scorer of the competition with 103 goals, making her the only player to have passed the 100-goal mark this season
- Sunday’s match is the 10th between the two sides in the past five seasons: CSM won five and Esbjerg three times, with match ending in a draw
The prospect of qualifying for the EHF FINAL4 is massive. I have won the league and the cup here in Denmark, but getting through to the EHF FINAL4 in the Champions League is very different.