SEMI-FINAL PREVIEW: The clash of two Women’s EHF Champions League heavyweights is already a FINAL4 classic, and their 11th meeting promises to be just as thrilling as those that came before it.
The FINAL4 classic: Györ versus Buducnost
Györi Audi ETO KC and Buducnost cannot seem to avoid each other at the TIPPMIX EHF FINAL4, as the 2017 edition will see them meet for the third time in four years.
Both teams have changed a lot since their semi-final clash in 2016, but one thing remains the same: It is impossible to predict which side will emerge as winners.
• Katarina Bulatovic has won the Women’s EHF Champions League with Györ against Buducnost – and with Buducnost against Györ
• The elite teams have faced each other 10 times with Györ emerging as winners on eight occasions, while Buducnost won twice
• Both teams have had ups and downs this season, but are ready to end their season on a high note
TIPPMIX EHF FINAL4, SEMI-FINAL
Györi Audi ETO KC (HUN) vs Buducnost (MNE)
Saturday 6 May, 15:15 local time, live on ehfTV
It has been a year since the two European heavyweights locked horns in the Women’s EHF FINAL4 Semi-final, but both sides have undergone some changes since Györ emerged from the defence-dominated, tense battle as winners.
Coach Dragan Adzic claimed the 2016/17 season would be a transitional year for the Montenegrin team as fresh blood was injected into the squad, yet as Buducnost’s starting line-up remained more or less the same, it is Györ that has changed more.
Ambros Martin can no longer count on Linn Jorum Sulland, Aniko Kovacsics or, most importantly, Heidi Löke, who announced her pregnancy near the start of the current season.
The Norwegian superstar’s absence had a huge impact on Györ as Löke was a key figure in both their attack and defence however, after a short period of resetting the team’s tactical line-up, the Hungarian side are back at their best.
“We obviously play in a different way without Heidi [Löke], but we adjusted to the new situation remarkably quickly,” says Anita Görbicz, who is fighting for her third Women’s EHF Champions League trophy for Györ.
Buducnost reach peak form right on time
Buducnost have had unusually low-key periods this season. They even lost two consecutive home games in the once impregnable Moraca, but by the time clutch matches arrived the Montenegrin team were ready to close the regular season on a high note.
Buducnost confirmed their brutal force ahead of the newest edition of the FINAL4 classic when they swept Larvik aside in the quarter-finals with a staggering 66:47 aggregate win.
Katarina Bulatovic has won the competition with Buducnost against Györ, and with Györ against Buducnost, so the Montenegrin heroine knows everything about this match-up: “We obviously know everything about each other. We know that if we want to win the trophy we have to beat Györ sooner or later, so we will have to stay focused and hope for the best.”
TEXT: Bence Martha / cg