Esbjerg and FTC to meet in Denmark

EHF / Adrian Costeiu, Sergey Nikolaev

Round 11 of the DELO EHF Champions League group phase 2021/22 will feature two exciting clashes between Danish and Hungarian sides as the teams continue their bid to qualify for the quarter-finals directly.

In Match of the Week in Denmark, group A leaders Team Esbjerg are aiming to increase the gap to FTC-Rail Cargo Hungaria, who are only one point behind in the standings, in a pivotal game for the race to finish in the top two places.

In group B, another Danish-Hungarian duel will be a highlight, as Györi Audi ETO KC will be looking for their 11th straight win in the current competition. However, their rivals Odense Håndbold seem to be a hard nut to crack, as they have won four of their five away games so far.

Rostov-Don (RUS) vs Buducnost BEMAX (MNE)
Saturday 22 January, 16:00 CET, live on EHFTV

  • Rostov have secured at least a place in the play-offs after last weekend's 31:25 win against Dortmund, but they have lost two of their five home matches this season
  • Buducnost have a poor record in away games, suffering five losses this season and winning only twice in their last 18 away games in the DELO EHF Champions League
  • if Rostov score 24 goals, they will become the 14th team to have scored 2,500 goals in the DELO EHF Champions League
  • in a domestic league game on Wednesday afternoon against HC Lada, Rostov suffered their second loss in four matches in 2022 (29:30)
  • Rostov have won all three games played against Buducnost, including a 25:19 win in the most recent game in October 2021

CSM Bucuresti (ROU) vs BV Borussia 09 Dortmund (GER)
Saturday 22 January, 16:00 CET, live on EHFTV

  • CSM Bucuresti, whose longest winning streak this season is three games, have won two of their last five games in the DELO EHF Champions League
  • for Dortmund, left wing Jennifer Gutierrez, goalkeeper Madita Kohorst and centre back Alina Grijseels are doubtful for the game
  • Romanian left back Cristina Neagu (70 goals) is CSM's top scorer and is only two goals behind the competition's top goalscorer: Vipers right back Nora Mørk
  • the German side have the best attack in the group, averaging 28.6 goals per game, the fourth highest in the DELO EHF Champions League this season, after Györi Audi ETO KC, Vipers Kristiansand and Metz Handball
  • Dortmund have not won on Romanian soil in six games. Their best result was a draw against HC Zalau in qualification round 2 of the Women's EHF Cup 2018/19
  • CSM Bucuresti coach Adrian Vasile said: "We are looking forward to the game vs Dortmund. We have had a very exciting game against them in the first leg and I think there are all the ingredients for yet another strong game."
  • CSM Bucuresti centre back Elizabeth Omoregie said: "It will be a great honour to play again in front of our audience after a long time. This is additional motivation and with good play, I hope the game will finish with two points deservedly for us."
  • Borussia Dortmund coach Andre Fuhr said: "A victory would be a sensation for us – but because of that we can play without any pressure. (CSM) Bucuresti is a world-class team; Cristina Neagu won the title "world handballer" multiple times. Elizabeth Omoregie is a world-class player, too."
20220121 Team Esbjerg Jesper Jensen Quote
After a good season in the DELO EHF Champions League so far, we have a unique opportunity to take a huge step towards the quarter-finals on our own court. A win against FTC is required, and we are all aware of the class they possess. We have played many great matches against them so far, and this match will not be an exception.
Jepser Jensen
Coach, Team Esbjerg

MOTW: Team Esbjerg (DEN) vs FTC-Rail Cargo Hungaria (HUN)
Sunday 23 January, 14:00 CET, live on EHFTV

  • Esbjerg are on their best unbeaten run in the history of the competition after winning six games and drawing one – in their away game against FTC
  • due to six Covid-19 cases, Esbjerg had their round 10 match against HC Podravka Vegeta postponed, but they are now at full strength and will try to extend their lead at the top of the standings
  • this will be Esbjerg's 50th game in the EHF Champions League, and the Danish side will become the 24th team to reach the milestone of 25 wins if they win
  • the Danish side extended their unbeaten run to 19 games in all competitions with a 34:31 win against Holstebro on Wednesday in the Danish league, with their last loss coming against Brest Bretagne on 18 September 2021
  • the balance in the head-to-head record between the teams is perfect: Esbjerg and FTC have won two games each, and the first game this season ended in a 31:31 draw
  • Team Esbjerg right back Mette Tranborg said: "The opportunity to get three points clear to second place with four matches left in the group stage is a huge motivation for us."

HC Podravka Vegeta (CRO) vs Brest Bretagne Handball (FRA)
Sunday 23 January, 14:00 CET, live on EHFTV

  • Podravka have lost their last eight games in the DELO EHF Champions League and will be mathematically eliminated if they lose and Dortmund draw against CSM
  • Brest have struggled in away games this season, securing just one win, a last-gasp 30:29 success against CSM Bucuresti, in five matches
  • only Kastamonu Belediyesi GSK, the only team without a win in the competition this season, have conceded at a more alarming pace – 32.7 goals per game – than Podravka's 31.1 goals per game
  • the Croatian side have won just five of their last 37 matches in the DELO EHF Champions League, but three of those wins came at home
  • in the first match between the two sides this season, Brest enjoyed their joint-biggest win in Europe’s premier competition, a 13-goal drubbing, 35:22
20220120 WCL R11 Preview Podravka Sara Senveld
I think we have to focus on ourselves because we are playing against a quality team that has two national team members in each position. They (Brest) don't have a weak link – it's hard to find a flaw.
Sara Šenvald
Line player, HC Podravka Vegeta

Kastamonu Belediyesi GSK (TUR) vs Vipers Kristiansand (NOR)
Saturday 22 January, 18:00 CET, live on EHFTV

  • in the reverse fixture in October 2021, Vipers comfortably won 39:25 as Nora Mørk scored eight goals
  • the Norwegian team are second in the group, ahead of Metz on goal difference
  • a 32:28 win at CSKA last Sunday extended Vipers' winning run in the competition to five matches
  • Mørk, who scored four goals in Moscow, tops the competition's scoring chart with 72 goals
  • Kastamonu are still waiting for their first points in their debut DELO EHF Champions League season
  • in a rescheduled game on Wednesday, the Turkish champions lost their ninth straight game, 33:25 at Metz

IK Sävehof (SWE) vs CSKA (RUS)
Sunday 23 January, 14:00 CET, live on EHFTV

  • both teams lost their previous match in the competition against Vipers 
  • Sävehof were defeated by the title-holders in round 9, 42:23, before their match with Kastamonu was postponed
  • in round 10, CSKA lost at home to Vipers despite Ana Gros scoring nine goals
  • the Russian champions hold fifth position in the group with 10 points, while Sävehof are seventh with four points
  • in their first-ever mutual encounter, CSKA narrowly defeated Sävehof in October, 29:28
  • Jamina Roberts, who scored eight goals for the Swedish team in that encounter, is in fourth place on the competition's scoring list, with 61 goals
20220121 Odense Vipers Ulrik Kirlely Quote
An exciting challenge waits for us in Györ. We expect to be under a big pressure both in terms of physics and the way we play. At this moment, we focus very much on developing our own play and taking the right steps to become more stable and secure. Our team spirit is one of our strengths, and that is indeed important right now as we struggle with some injured players.
Ulrik Kirkely
Head coach, Odense Håndbold

Györi Audi ETO KC (HUN) vs Odense Håndbold (DEN)
Sunday 23 January, 16:00 CET, live on EHFTV

  • the Hungarian powerhouse are looking for their 11th consecutive win, as they have 20 points from 10 matches and top the group
  • on Wednesday, Györ hit the 40-goal mark for the second time in the current competition, beating Krim 40:27 in a rescheduled round 9 match
  • Odense also played their most recent game in the competition against Krim, winning 24:19 in Ljubljana in round 10
  • the Danish side, who are in fourth place in the group, have taken eight of their 11 points away from home. They have won four of their five away games but lost at Vipers
  • Györ have won four of their five previous meetings with Odense, including a 31:26 victory in the reverse fixture. One more game in last season's group phase ended in a 32:32 draw in Denmark
  • Odense line player Maren Aardahl said: "Györ is undefeated so far in the Champions League, and that says a lot about the quality they possess. They have great players in all positions, but we also have that, and I think we can play even with them if we play at our best level."
  • Györ right back Eun Hee Ryu said: "Our defence will be the key to the match – and the fast counter attacks that result from this. It is always a difficult to play this handball, but I believe in my team. We can do it."

Metz Handball (FRA) vs Krim Mercator Ljubljana (SLO)
This match has been postponed and will be rescheduled

20220122 Gyor Quote Ambros Martin
Odense players are fast and their defence is strong, so it is hard to play against them. This match also requires the best from us. Our defence is always important because this gives stability to our game. We have to be mentally strong, but fortunately the team can do it, as we have seen in previous matches.
Ambros Martin
Coach, Györi Audi ETO KC

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