GROUP B REVIEW: HC Vardar record their biggest EHF Champions League victory and deny Leipzig a last-minute chance to squeeze into the main round.
No miracle for Leipzig against invincible Vardar
HC Vardar showed their power in Round 6 of the Women’s EHF Champions League, as they emphatically beat HC Leipzig 45:22 in Germany.
The hosts needed one point to rise from the bottom of the group table, but the miracle did not happen as the Macedonian side demonstrated their clear superiority.
• HC Vardar remain the only unbeaten team in the EHF Champions League, and will take a seven-point tally to the main round
• The Skopje-based team celebrate their biggest ever victory in Europe’s top flight with a margin of 23 goals
• HC Leipzig finish last in the group and will continue in the EHF Cup
• Vardar’s Alexandra Lacrabere was the top scorer of the game with 10 goals from 10 shots
HC Leipzig (GER) vs HC Vardar (MKD) 22:45 (9:22)
HC Leipzig are certain to finish last in Group B after they recorded a decisive loss to group frontrunners Vardar on Saturday.
Even if Astrakhanochka, who are level with Leipzig on points, lose against FTC-Rail Cargo Hungaria on Sunday, the Russian team will remain in third place and advance to the main round.
Vardar struggle to start
Leipzig’s last chance for a main round berth hardly seemed possible given that the powerful Macedonian side entered Round 6 having won four games in a row and score an average of 35 goals per match.
Leipzig have also been struggling with injuries throughout their whole EHF Champions League campaign, with Karolina Kudlac-Gloc, Shenia Minevskaja, Tamara Bösch, Michele Urbricht and Franziska Mietzner all ruled out for the last group game.
The hosts certainly did not lack commitment however, while Vardar started the game somewhat complacently. The German side capitalised on that by, leading 4:2 by the fifth minute.
At the time, Vardar’s attack was not nearly efficient as usual, partly due to Katja Kramarczyk’s good game in Leipzig’s goal.
Vardar find their rhythm
A time-out called by new Vardar head coach David Davis seemed to have a big influence as the squad started to play their typical fast, dynamic handball, which Leipzig’s enthusiasm was not enough to counter.
Alexandra Lacrabere, Jovanka Radicevic and Andrea Covic scored time after time, typically after swift counter attacks, and the score of 22:9 to Vardar at half-time clearly indicated the hosts had little to hope for from the match.
Merciless Vardar increased their lead to 31:14 10 minutes into the second half, and the question became whether the visitors would beat any of their Champions League records.
Record win for Skopje side
The Macedonian team did so in style, celebrating their biggest ever victory in the EHF Champions League at the final whistle. Prior to Saturday’s victory, Vardar beat Podravka 35:17 in November 2013 and Krim 47:19 in March 2015.
Vardar have now improved on that record of 18 goals with a new margin of 23, while Leipzig suffered their biggest ever defeat in the competition as well as conceding their greatest number of goals (45).
Lacrabere’s 10 goals easily made her the top scorer of the match, while Nele Reimer and Julia Weise were the Leipzig’s best with five goals each.
TEXT: Sergey Nikolaev / cg