QUARTER-FINAL PREVIEW: Vardar are eyeing their fourth consecutive TIPPMIX EHF FINAL 4 berth, after winning their quarter-final first leg against FCM, 28:26.
Fourth time lucky for Vardar?
The side from the capital of FYR Macedonia have learnt from past seasons and now are closer than ever to the big prize – the TIPPMIX EHF FINAL4.
Despite two defeats in the main round they have shown plenty of positives, with an amazing attack and a great 9-metre line, with Andrea Penezic shining in the most difficult matches
Vardar has the top goal scorer from this year’s competition with Penezic, on 81 goals in 13 games
The Macedonian side is eyeing their fourth consecutive qualification to the TIPPMIX EHF FINAL 4, a record Vardar could share with Buducnost, if the Montenegrin side proceeds to the next phase
Vardar has lost only two times this season, against Buducnost and Metz, in the Main Round phase
HC Vardar (MKD) vs FC Midtjylland (DEN) (28:26 from the first leg)
Saturday, 15 April, 17:30hrs local time, live on ehfTV.com
There is only one game left in this year’s Women’s EHF Champions League for one of the teams in each quarter-final and it looks like Vardar will be once again a favourite for the TIPPMIX EHF FINAL 4 in Budapest.
The Macedonian powerhouse won their first leg away at FC Midtjylland, 28:26, with the side from Denmark suffering just their second home loss of the Champions League season following their main round loss against Larvik in March.
With FCM earning only one away win in six outings during this season, against Krim, it is easy to understand why Vardar almost have their FINAL4 place in the bag.
However, the hosts will not take the game easily, as the Danish side have always been a pain against skilled teams, with CSM Bucuresti taking note of FCM’s powerful nine-metre line.
“The game of our careers”
FCM showed their grit and courage as they attempted to mount a comeback against one of the biggest favourites for winning the trophy in the second half of the first leg. Yet FCM did not have the power and experience to complete it, although they are confident they can turn the game on its head early in the second leg.
“We were very close to springing a surprise,” said FCM’s line player Linn Blohm, “but mistakes in the dying minutes were enough to hand Vardar the win, however, if we have the best day of our careers, we can go through.”
FCM will certainly need their best game and something more, as Vardar have lost just once at home this season, 31:28 against Buducnost in February.
TEXT: Adrian Costeiu/AMC