It’s match day -4 for the 2016/17 Tippmix EHF Final 4 in Budapest and in Handball-Planet.com we’d like to share a few bits of information to bear in mind and to prepare for the pinnacle of Europe’s club elite competition. The Papp Lazslo Sportarena of Budapest will host the final fights for Europe’s throne on the 6th and 7th of May.
Same old, same old…
This year’s Tippmix EHF Final 4 will have the same participants as last year and exactly the same semifinals as well (ŽRK Budućnost-Győri AUDI ETO KC; CSM Bucuresti-HC Vardar), however, this is far from meaning that we could have the same results. Looking at the performances throughout the entire competition, we could point the Hungarian champions as the most consistent team and therefore a much clearer favorite, however, the performances from the other three teams during the quarter finals have shown that it’s no coincidence that they all back in Budapest for this final showdown. On a win-or-go-home format like the one of this weekend, anything can happen and the one who wakes up better will grab a spot on the big final. Just like last year, a prognosis is reserved as the semi finals’ line up is as deadly as it could be.
Both ŽRK Budućnost and HC Vardar have taken part in all editions of the Final4 since it’s introduction in the women’s competition on season 2013/14. The Montenegrin side has lifted the trophy on their second attempt and finished second and fourth in the other two participations respectively. Meanwhile, the Macedonian powerhouse will travel to the Hungarian capital with the hope of finally making it into the final after three successive third places.
Same teams, new faces
Although all four teams will compete in Budapest for the second time in a row, some of the players will be in the Papp Laszlo Arena wearing different jerseys from last year. For some of them it’s a debut in the final weekend of the competition, some will see familiar faces on their way to the dressing rooms (and one of them will face their former club in the semifinals).
- HC Vardar: Camilla Herrem (Team Tvis Holstebro), Alexandra Lacrabere (OGC Nice Côte d’Azur), Mayssa Pessoa (CSM Bucuresti), Tamara Mavsar (RK Krim), Dziyana Ilyina (Astrakhanochka).
- Győri AUDI ETO KC: Nora Mørk (Larvik), Asma Elghaoui (Siófok KC).
- CSM Bucuresti: Gnonsiane Niombla (Fleury Loiret Handball), Majda Mehmedovic (ŽRK Budućnost), Paula Ungureanu (Baia Mare), Anastasia Lobach (HC Gomel), Camille Ayglon-Saurina (Handball Cercle Nîmes), Simone Böhme (Viborg HK).
- ŽRK Budućnost: Darly Zogbi de Paula (Fleury Loiret Handball), Itana Grbić (HC Vardar).
Four IHF World Players of the year will take the stage
Four talented athletes who have been awarded Player of the Year by the IHF will take part of this new definition to obtain Europe’s most coveted trophy. Anita Görbicz (2005), Cristina Neagu (2010, 2015, 2016), Eduarda Amorim (2014) and Andrea Lekic (2013) have also won this tournament in the past. The Serbian and the Romanian have won it once (2012/13 with Győri AUDI ETO KC and 2014/15 with ŽRK Budućnost respectively) while the other two have lifted the cup twice (2012/13 and 2013/14 with Győri AUDI ETO KC).
Olympic finalists in Budapest
12 players have taken part in an Olympic final: Inna Suslina (Beijing 2008), Kari Aalvik Grimsbo (Beijing 2008, London 2012), Jovanka Radicevic, Milena Raicevic, Katarina Bulatovic, Majda Mehmedovic, Suzana Lazovic, Camilla Herrem (London 2012), Alexandra Lacrabere, Gnonsiane Niombla, Camille Ayglon-Saurina and Amandine Leynaud (Rio 2016). The Norwegians are the only ones who took gold home in said competitions.
Champions with different jerseys
Of all of the participants of this season’s Final4, six of them have won the trophy with a different club from the one who’s color’s they’ll be defending the upcoming weekend:
- Cristina Vărzaru: won with Viborg (2005/06, 2008/09, 2009/10), will play with CSM Bucuresti with which she’s also a title holder for season 2015/16.
- Katarina Bulatovic: won with Slagelse (2006/07) and Győri AUDI ETO (2013/14), will play with ŽRK Budućnost (she won the title twice with the Montenegrin squad: 2011/12, 2014/15).
- Mayssa Pessoa: won with CSM Bucuresti (2015/16), will play with HC Vardar
- Jovanka Radicevic, Andrea Lekic: won with Győri AUDI ETO (2012/13), will represent HC Vardar
- Anja Althaus: won with Viborg (2008/09), will defend the black and red from HC Vardar
Special mention to Heidi Løke who will not participate in the Final4 as part of the active squad due to her pregnancy. but that has played three matches of the season with the Hungarian team. She’s won the EHF Champions League with Larvik HK on season 2010/11.
Are you looking forward for the year’s most exciting weekend?