GROUP A/B PREVIEW: Vipers, Metz and Rotov, who reached DELO WOMEN’S EHF FINAL4 last season, open their new campaign on home court

Runners-up Rostov-Don open new campaign at home

The new DELO WOMEN’S EHF FINAL4 season begins this weekend and all of last season’s top contenders begin their campaigns with home advantage.

In group A, two clubs which reached Budapest, Metz Handball and Vipers Kristiansand will look to make a bright start to a new European journey, but will face stiff opposition in two young and talented teams.

In group B, last season’s runners-up Rostov-Don, are also set to play on home court  against MKS Perla Lublin, while Team Esbjerg will host CSM Bucuresti, who now have a new coach Andrian Vasile following the sudden midweek departure of Tomas Ryde.

GROUP A
Vipers Kristiansand (NOR) vs FTC-Rail Cargo Hungaria (HUN)
Saturday 5 October, 19:15 local time, live on ehfTV.com

  • the two teams played against each other in the competition last season. Kristiansand won by eight at home while FTC took the return leg by one
  • Kristiansand won the five league games they played since the beginning of the season, only once scoring fewer than 33 goals
  • out of the six Hungarian league games they played this season, FTC won four and drew twice, against Siofok and Debrecen

Metz Handball (FRA) vs HC Podravka Vegeta (CRO)
Sunday 6 October, 17:00 local time, live on ehfTV.com

  • the two teams never played against each in European competition
  • after six rounds in the French league, Metz are top of the table with six wins in as many games
  • Podravka played only twice in the Croatian league and won on both occasions
  • Metz will have to play without three French national players. Laura Glauser, Laure Flippes and Orlane Kanor, who all suffer from muscular injuries and should be back next week

GROUP B
Rostov-Don (RUS) vs MKS Perla Lublin (POL)
Saturday 5 October, 16:00 local time, live on ehfTV.com

  • the teams have never met in European competition
  • Rostov have a 100% record in the Russian league this season, winning all seven games
  • Rostov’s Anna Vyakhireva was named EHF Player of the Month in September
  • Lublin play their first game in the group matches since the 2015/16 season

Team Esbjerg (DEN) vs CSM Bucuresti (ROU)
Sunday 6 October, 16:50 local time, live on ehfTV.com

  • these teams faced each other in the main round of the 2017/18 season, and CSM won twice, 33:25 and 25:20
  • CSM went through some turbulent days this week as head coach Tomas Ryde stepped down, with his assistant Adrian Vasile taking over
  • Esbjerg top the Danish league with six wins in as many games this season, while the Romanian side had a poor start in the domestic league and are in eighth place after five matches
  • CSM have injury problems with Nora Mork probably out for the entire season and Cristina Neagu not yet ready to play after both stars suffered ACL injuries

TEXT: Kevin Domas, Sergey Nikolaev / cor