Women’s European League Power rankings: Selby ranks the quarter-finals teams

The quarter-finals of the Women’s European League are almost here. Ola Selby of GoHandball ranks the 8 teams.

Power rankings are our ranking of which of the teams have been the hottest so far. A team that has lost one game can be considered a better team than a team that has gone undefeated. It’s all about the quality of the teams.

Here are the Power rankings – Ola Selby’s ranking of the quarter-finals teams in the Women’s European League. And by the way, here are the quarter-finals:

HC Podravka Vegeta – H.C Dunărea Brăila

Motherson Mosonmagyaróvári KC – CS Gloria 2018 BN

Thüringer HC – Storhamar Håndball

Neptunes Nantes – Sola HK

1: H.C Dunărea Brăila

Group phase: 5 wins, 1 loss.

Kristina Liscevic of Serbia. Photo: Christoffer Borg Mattisson / BILDBYRÅN

Danish head coach Jan Leslie has done a great job with this team. Their only loss during the group phase was away against Thüringer (28–32), but then they ran over the German side, 33–23, in Romania.

Why do I rank the Romanians as the number 1 team going into the quarter-finals? Well, the performances during the group phase have a lot to do with it. And they have 3 players that stand out: Mireya Gonzalez scored 39 goals during the group phase from her right back position and was a key figure for them. In goal, Kira Trusova outperformed all goalkeepers in the tournament with her save percentage of 39, and, the biggest key player, Kristina Liscevic.

The 34-year-old is still a player, when she gets to play in her tempo, that can dictate games. 36 goals and 37 assists during the group phase says it all. If H.C Dunărea Brăila are to achieve something great these 3 players need to perform at least as well as they did during the group phase.

2: Storhamar Håndball

Group phase: 5 wins, 1 loss.

If you have a player like Anniken Obaidli on your team, everything is possible. She scored 46 goals in the group phase and assisted 21 goals. The playmaker is the most important player in Kenneth Gabrielsen’s team and it’s not hard to see why.

Storhamar won 5 of their 6 games in the group phase and only lost, surprisingly enough, away against Podravka. But this is a mature team that knows how to play in Europe. Remember last season when they went to the playoffs in the Champions League, where they lost against Danish powerhouse Odense? The potential is sky-high in this team.

Is Obaidli the only star player in this team? Don’t sleep on goalkeeper Olivia Lykke Nygaard, who saved 40 percent of all the shots during the group phase. There Storhamar has a potential game-winner.

3: Thüringer HC

Group phase: 5 wins, 1 loss.

Goalkeeper Dinah Eckerle. Photo: Petter Arvidson / BILDBYRÅN

This team finished just outside the medals last season in the Women’s European League. They made it to the Final Four but ultimately lost in the bronze game. A lot of players from that team are still at the club and their top performers during the group phase this year were Johanna Reichert and Dinah Eckerle.

Reichert, the left back from Austria, scored 39 goals, and Eckerle had a save percentage of 38. Even though the Germans lost one game during the group phase and play Storhamar in the quarter-finals, we have to consider their chances of making it to the Final Four for the second straight season as great.

4: Sola HK

Group phase: 5 wins, 1 loss.

Camilla Herrem. Photo: Ludvig Thunman / BILDBYRÅN /

An underrated team that has done well in Europe over the past few seasons. Were knocked out of the Women’s European League in the quarter-finals last season (Thüringer won) and are looking to do even better this year.

The big star of the team is Camilla Herrem. The Norwegian legend is still a top player and scored 49 goals (with an amazing 85,5 of her shots ending up in the back of the net) during the group phase.

Steffen Stegavik manages a young and ambitious side that could do damage in the quarter-finals against Nantes and make it to the Final Four.

5: CS Gloria 2018 BN

Group phase: 5 wins, 1 draw.

Cristina Laslo. Photo: Petter Arvidson / BILDBYRÅN

If we are to consider only statistics then it’s outlandish of me to place the Romanians as the 5th best team ahead of the quarter-finals. They won 5 out of 6 games during the group phase and are the only undefeated team so far in the competition.

Still, I rank them 5th. Why? They lack the X factor that the teams I placed above them have. And Romanian teams often find it hard to play away from home in Europe.

But have no doubt, this is a great team with interesting players. Cristina Laslo is a great playmaker, and in goal, they have the Brazilian Renata Lais de Arruda who had a great group phase. Gloria will probably play in the Final Four.

6: Neptunes Nantes

Group phase: 3 wins, 1 draw, 2 losses.

Tamara Horacek. Photo: Petter Arvidson / BILDBYRÅN

Can Tamara Horacek will her team all the way to the Final Four? The French playmaker is without a doubt Nantes’ best player, and maybe the best player in the tournament. 44 goals and 21 assists so far for the World Champion.

But Nantes are not the favorites against Sola, which they probably should be. But they have been underperforming a lot this season, and it doesn’t get easier now with Anna Lagerquist out the rest of the season with a knee injury. Lagerquist is the best defender in the world all will be greatly missed for Nantes.

7: Motherson Mosonmagyaróvári KC

Group phase: 4 wins, 2 losses.

Motherson won 4 games in the group phase, which has to be considered a great thing for the Hungarians. And considering that they were knocked out of the competition at the group phase last season they have taken steps in the right direction this year.

But the fun will probably end here for Janos Gyurka and his team. Gloria is the better team and should win the quarter-finals match-up. But don’t count the Hungarians out just yet as they have nothing to lose.

8: HC Podravka Vegeta

Group phase: 3 wins, 1 draw, 2 losses.

Lucija Besen. Photo: Ludvig Thunman / BILDBYRÅN

Podravka won all of their home games during the group phase. Great! But they lost all of their away games. Not so great! Still, they have a couple of great players like left back Katarina Pandza from Austria, and Croatian goalkeeper Lucija Besen.

It’s impressive to defeat both Storhamar and Nyköing Falster at home, but in the quarter-finals, the Croatians need to play better if they are to surprise everyone and make it to the prestigious Final Four.