Metz will have a new European chance. Three years after a first frustrating experience concluded in fourth place, the handball players from Metz will find Budapest in early June and the Final Four of the Champions League, where they will be in the position of the outsider. In the Champions League play-off, the Messines enforced logic against Borussia Dortmund on Saturday April 2 (32-19).
After its great success in the first leg in Germany (30-22), Metz had the margin and could even afford to lose on the return. But captain Méline Nocandy and her teammates did much better than that in front of their home crowd, and won again, with an even bigger gap.
𝗥𝗢𝗔𝗗 𝗧𝗢 𝗙𝗜𝗡𝗔𝗟 𝗙𝗢𝗨𝗥 = ✅ We have the honor to announce that for the second time in our history we are… https://t.co/m4kqvdwzRH
A little roughed up at the start of the game (4-2 for Dortmund in the 10and minute), the Messines quickly took control of the game, under the impetus of their captain, then of Grace Zaadi. They then mastered the second period against a German team weakened by cascading injuries for a few weeks.
Without going through the quarters
This victory in the round of 16 should logically have allowed Emmanuel Mayonnade’s players to qualify “only” in the quarter-finals, but the Messines will be exempted. They were to find the Russian club Rostov there, but the war in Ukraine prompted the European Handball Federation to exclude all Russian clubs from its competitions.
The situation will allow the Messines to arrive more rested than their competitors, who will only have to concentrate on the end of the championship (seven regular season games, as well as the probable final on a round trip) and the half of the French Cup.
In 2019, Metz was the first and only representative of the French championship qualified for the Final four. Two years later, and after a 2020 edition canceled when Metz and Brest had their ticket to Budapest, Brest made it to the final last year, beaten by Kristiansand after taking out Györ in the semis.
To join Metz, Brest must first overthrow the Danish team from Odense on Sunday (defeat in the first leg 25 to 24), then will be forced to perform against Györ in the quarter-finals.