Brest reach first-ever DELO EHF FINAL4
It took four years of hard work and careful planning, but Brest Bretagne Handball finally sealed their first-ever DELO EHF FINAL4 berth.
The French side confirmed their domination of Metz Handball with a 60:50 aggregate win, after the deadlock could not be broken in the second leg, which ended in a 26:26 draw.
QUARTER-FINAL, SECOND LEG
Metz Handball (FRA) vs Brest Bretagne Handball (FRA) 26:26 (14:17)
First leg: 24:34. Aggregate: 50:60
- Metz lost right back Marie Hélène Sajka after only seven minutes, after the 23-year-old French player was sent off for hitting Brest’s goalkeeper, Sandra Toft, in the face with a penalty
- Serbian line player Sladjana Pop-Lazic was in superb form, scoring three goals and helping Brest open a 7:5 gap; but Metz’s left back Camila Micijevic scored three times in the first 15 minutes to weather the storm
- Brest bet on DELO EHF Champions League top scorer, Ana Gros, who scored four times in the first half to take her tally to 118 goals this season
- a 5:0 run between the 45th and the 52nd minute helped Metz protect their home court, but the hosts were eliminated in the quarter-finals for the third time in the last five seasons of the DELO EHF Champions League
- Brest are now unbeaten in five consecutive games against Metz in all competitions, an unprecedented streak against their domestic rivals
Heading to Budapest after a historic season
Since the introduction of the DELO EHF FINAL4 in 2013/14, Metz are the only French team to reach this stage of the European premium competition. Now Metz hand the baton on to Brest Bretagne.
Four seasons after making their debut in the Champions League, Brest are now among the top four teams in Europe. They were eliminated in the group phase and in the main round in the first two seasons and qualified for the quarter-finals last year before now making it to Budapest.
It is a triumph of good planning, team spirit and a great attacking mind from coach Laurent Bezeau, who will leave Brest at the end of the season, after eight years in which he transformed the French side in one of the best teams in Europe.