210403 CSM CSKA 4
EHF Champions League

CSKA eye a comeback; Rostov start quarter-final quest

Adrian Costeiu / Sergey Nikolaev

The lineup for the DELO EHF FINAL4 2021 will be complete after the five quarter-final matches set to take place this weekend.

Three of the games will be held in Russia, as Rostov-Don and Vipers Kristiansand play a double-header in Rostov, while CSKA are looking for a strong home comeback against CSM Bucuresti following a five-goal defeat last week.

In the other two ties, Györ and Brest secured huge wins in the first legs, giving them significant chances to go through. No team in history has wiped out a deficit as big as either Buducnost’s or Metz’s.

MOTW: Vipers Kristiansand (NOR) vs Rostov-Don (RUS)
Saturday 10 April, 14:00 CET, live on EHFTV

Rostov-Don (RUS) vs Vipers Kristiansand (NOR)
Sunday 11 April, 14:00 CET, live on EHFTV

  • given the Covid-19 restrictions in Norway, the sides agreed to play both matches in Rostov
  • Rostov and Vipers have already met in the group stage this season, and the Russian team narrowly won 24:23 on neutral ground in Erd, while the game in Rostov was cancelled and assessed as 10:0 in favour of the home side
  • in the play-offs, Rostov cruised past HC Podravka Vegeta twice, with an aggregate score 77:41, while Vipers eliminated Odense in a hard-fought Nordic duel that ended 65:62 on aggregate
  • the Russian side may have problems on their left wing, as Polina Kuznetsova is sidelined until May due to a shoulder injury, and Kristina Kozhokar is also injured
  • Vipers’ experienced leaders Nora Mørk and Heidi Løke are back after injuries and will be able to help the team in Rostov   

CSKA (RUS) vs CSM Bucuresti (ROU)
Sunday 11 April, 16:00 CET, live on EHFTV
First leg: 27:32

  • CSM are in the driving seat after the first leg, as they played a solid game and enjoyed a five-goal victory at home
  • it was the debut European match for CSKA’s head coach Olga Akopian, who took over until the end of the season after Jan Leslie was sacked in mid-March
  • in the play-offs, the Russian team also lost the first leg by five goals — 25:20 at RK Krim Mercator — yet they managed a strong comeback, winning 27:21 on the home court
  • CSM’s Cristina Neagu, who netted six times last Saturday, is second in the competition’s scoring chart with 106 goals — eight fewer than Ana Gros from Brest
  • no CSKA players are among the top 10 scorers of the current season. With a tally of 65 goals, Ekaterina Ilina comes closest

Györi Audi ETO KC (HUN) vs Buducnost (MNE)
Saturday 10 April, 18:00 CET, live on EHFTV
First leg: 30:19

  • the 11-goal win for Györ last week was the biggest ever difference recorded in a game between the two sides. Buducnost’s biggest win against the Hungarian powerhouse was three goals, 25:22, in the main round of the 2015/16 season
  • the Hungarian side are still on an unprecedented 54-game unbeaten streak in the DELO EHF Champions League, having not lost a match since January 2018
  • Györ have the most effective attack in the competition, scoring at a rate of 32.7 goals per game, while Buducnost’s attack has one of the lowest efficiencies between the eight teams still alive in the competition, with an average of 25.4 goals scored per game
  • this will be the last European game played in the Audi Arena by Eduarda Amorim, as the Brazilian left back will leave Györ after 12 years this summer
  • Györ won the last nine games between the teams, including wins in the Champions League semi-finals, in 2016 and 2017, and victories in both legs of the quarter-finals in the 2017/18 season

Metz Handball (FRA) vs Brest Bretagne Handball (FRA)
Saturday 10 April, 16:00 CET, live on EHFTV
First leg: 24:34

  • in the last five seasons, across all competitions, Metz secured four wins against Brest by at least a 10-goal difference, but they have lost the last four matches against their French rivals
  • former Metz right back Ana Gros scored 10 goals for Brest in the first game and is the top scorer of the DELO EHF Champions League, with 114 goals
  • Brest lost only one game from their last seven in the European premium competition, as the match against SCM Ramnicu Valcea was awarded 10:0 to the Romanian side due to bad weather rendering Brest’s travel plans impossible
  • with a semi-final qualification, Brest would achieve their best ever result in the DELO EHF Champions League, before coach Laurent Bezeau departs at the end of the season after eight years in charge
  • no team has ever wiped out a 10-goal deficit in the first leg to proceed to the EHF FINAL4. Metz were closest — after losing by 13 goals against CSM Bucuresti in the 2017/18 season, they won by seven at home

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