Rock-solid Buducnost lead top five defences
In handball, you can lose a match, even when you score 40 goals, but you rarely lose a match by conceding fewer than 25 goals.
5. CSM Bucuresti
You cannot say that the Romanian runners-up are a squad completely on the same page and fully rehearsed, which is important for a strong defence as you must know what your teammates around you are going to do next.
The opposite holds true for CSM, who consistently change players and coaches, leaving their structure potentially quite fragile.
The rest relies on something which is rarely seen in Bucharest – giving the coach and his players some time to form a structure.
4. Metz handball
This forces coach Emanuel Mayonnade to reorganise his centre block, which was the best in europe last season. Nevertheless, Mayyonade can count on a well-rehearsed defensive structure, including the strong goalkeeper duo or Glauser and Kapitanovic.
The exact opposite of CSM Bucharest, the players know each other inside out, playing together for years at club level or the Russian national team, where they had Evgeny Trefilov, a master of defensive tactics, as their coach for years.
Taking a look upon the previous season shows that they had the lowest numbers of goals conceded of all DELO EHF FINAL4 participants with an average of 21.25 goals per match. Rostov can count on tall and powerful players such as Kseniya Makeeva, Lois Abbingh or Ana Sen as well as the defensive qualities added by the signing of line player Julia Behnke from Metzingen.
The mastermind behind all success of Buducnost and Montenegro is coach Dragan Adzic. When his teams win medals or trophies, it is never because they scored 40 or more goals, rather because of conceding fewer than 25.
The return of the wings Majda Mehmedovic and Jovanka Radicevic from CSM fits perfectly into this structure as they are sweepers, responsible for turnovers, counter-attacks and easy goals, while the rest of the team form the resilient defence again. It is not always the most attractive way of playing, but it certainly works.