Vardar secure top spot in Group 2
Last week, Metz ended Vardar's nine-match winning run in the Women’s EHF Champions League, but the Macedonian powerhouse redeemed themselves by comfortably beating the Group 2 outsiders SG BBM Bietigheim 30:22.
Now Vardar have 16 points after nine games, and while Metz can theoretically go level with them at the end of the main round, the Macedonian side have the head-to-head advantage.
· Vardar certain to progress in first place
· Bietigheim lose sixth straight match
· Vardar will play at Buducnost in final group game; Bietigheim host FTC
HC Vardar (MKD) vs SG BBM Bietigheim (GER) 30:22 (13:8)
The scenario of the game in Skopje somewhat replicated that of the reverse fixture in Germany. That time, Vardar struggled in the first half, leading by just two goals at the break, before ultimately cruising to a 12-goal victory (38:26).
Even at home, the Macedonian heavyweights had a slow start against Bietigheim. The home side made a lot of mistakes and could not find their rhythm against a side who down the other end opted to play seven against six in attack.
It was 5:5 after 12 minutes and 7:7 ten minutes later, before Vardar finally adjusted and took control of the game. Amandine Leynaud made a few saves and the hosts improved their defence, which helped them to score several times from their own half into Bietigheim's empty goal.
The German side had lost a mathematical chance to go through in the previous week, so they played without pressure. However, Vardar’s quality shone through as the game progressed.
The five-goal lead at the break gave the hosts some breathing space and they further improved in the second half to cruise to an eight-goal victory.
"Today, we had one goal, to win and to finish first in the group, no matter by how much. We are happy that we have succeeded in doing so and we look forward to discovering our opponents next week," said Vardar coach Irina Dibirova.Author: Sergey Nikolaev / cor