Leipzig’s dream comes true
The Women’s Champions League Group Phase is over after 48 matches. German champion HC Leipzig secured the eighth and last empty place for the main round by beating Byåsen 25:22 in front of more than 4800 spectators.
In the 48th and last match of the group phase, Györ beat Valcea in Group C 26:22, but this result was one goal too little for Györ to become number one in the group due to the same result in the first match in Romania. As Valcea has the better goal difference, they won the group.
HC Leipzig – Byåsen Trondheim 25:22 (12:13)
Great atmosphere, great match and great success: HC Leipzig has qualified for the main round of the Champions League for the first time ever in their club history. 4800 spectators in the Leipzig Arena went crazy and gave standing ovations after the final whistle. The German champion beat Byåsen Trondheim in the “final” of Group A. But is was hard work for Leipzig, as Byåsen played a very strong first half and was in lead until the middle of the second half.
HCL goalkeeper Katja Schülke was one of the match winners for her team with sensational 50 percent of saves, aside Polish international Karolina Kudlacz played outstanding and scored seven goals. Byåsen started better, led 7:3 and 13:9, before Leipzig reduced the gap to 12:13 at the break. The first 20 minutes of the second half were mostly equal, before Leipzig accelerated and turned the match. In minute 55 the game was pre decided at the score of 22:19, but Byåsen didn’t give up and reduced the gap again, but Leipzig kept the control thanks to the saves of Schülke. Top scorer for Byåsen was Raja Toumi with six goals.
“It was our dream and our great objective to qualify for the main round. Now we’ve reached it”, Schülke said. “I’m so proud of my team”. HCL coach Heine Jensen added, and: “We missed so many chances that I intermediately didn’t believe in a victory. This match was another step in the development of the team.”
For Byåsen coach Geir Oustorp the HCL victory was well deserved: “We played weak, so we lost.”
Audi ETO Györ – Oltchim Valcea 26:22 (16:8)
Györ had it in their own hands to win the group. But in the end, Valcea finished the match right with the same result as in the first match. As the direct encounter was tied again, the goal difference in total had to decide – and Valcea’s plus seven beats Györ’s plus four.
The Hungarians played one of their best matches this season – and dominated the game against the old enemy for 60 minutes. As the Györ defence stood much better than Valcea’s, the Hungarians extended the lead from 8:3 to 12:6 and 16:8 at halftime. At this moment, Györ would have won the group.
With only twelve minutes to the end it was looking very good for the host, as they were in lead 23:16 – but then Valcea came closer goal by goal. In the final stage of the match the Romanians reduced from 26:20 to 26:22 – and Györ missed the last shot. Top scorers were Anita Görbicz (Györ) with seven goals and Ramona Maier (Valcea/six).