Nine tickets to round 2 still up for grabs

The double headers played last weekend determined seven teams that will progress to Qualification Round 2 of the WOMEN’S EHF Cup.

However, nine spots in the next competition stage are still open, and 18 teams hope to succeed this weekend, with seven more double headers as well as two second-leg matches on the schedule.

A big weekend with seven double headers

Byasen Handball Elite, who played in the group phase of the EHF Cup as recently as 2016/17 and 2017/18, hope to reach that stage again. Their first rival in the qualification is Handball Kaerjeng from Luxembourg, and the Norwegian team will be clear favourites in both games which are to be held on Friday and Saturday in Trondheim.

On the same dates, two games are to be played in Gomel, where the Belarusian champions HC Gomel will face Kosovo’s KHF.Istogu, who are making their debut in the EHF Cup following two seasons in the Women’s Challenge Cup. 

A Greek-Turkish duel will also start on Friday and will continue on Sunday, with A.C. PAOK scheduled to host Muratpasa Belediyesi SK in Veria for both games.

The remaining double headers will take place on Saturday and Sunday. Super Amara Bera Bera, who played in the group phase last season, now start their campaign in round 1. They will host LK Zug Handball in San Sebastian and Tolosa.

Astrakhanochka, the only Russian side in round 1, will meet Maccabi Arazim Ramat gan at Sportkomplex “Zvezdniy” in Astrakhan. In North Macedonia, ZRK Kumanovo will play against DHC Slavia Praha, while in Slovakia, IUVENTA Michalovce hope to advance to the next round following a double header against the SPONO Eagles from Switzerland.

Atzgersdorf hope for comeback

In the two remaining pairings, the first-leg matches have been already played. Nothing is clear in the Austrian duel between Hypo Niederösterreich and WAT Atzgersdorf. Last Saturday, Hypo won the home game 22:17, but the current Austrian champions Atzgersdorf hope to pull off a comeback on Saturday in Vienna.

“The cards will be reshuffled for the second match. Something is still possible with a top performance, although we definitely know that it will be hard,” said Johanna Failmayer, who was Atzgersdorf’s top scorer in the first game, with six goals. 

For ESBF Besancon, the second leg seems to be a pure formality. Away at Colegio de Gaia, the French team won confidently,37:12, so there is little doubt they will clinch a round 2 ticket in the home match on Saturday. 

TEXT: Sergey Nikolaev / cg