Left wing duo inspires Györ on title mission
Record champions Györi Audi ETO KC hope to win their sixth EHF Champions League title, and first since 2019, at the EHF FINAL4 Women 2022 on 4/5 June in Budapest. Two of their left wings, Csenge Fodor and Nadine Schatzl, have earned nominations for the EHF Champions League 2021/22 All-star Team this season and hope to be important for Györ again in Budapest next week.
The left wing duo combines for a total of 73 goals this season, and they might play an important role again at the EHF FINAL4 on 4/5 June, when Györ are trying to, like their fans say, “take back the crown.”
Schatzl returned to Györ this season after six years with rivals FTC-Rail Cargo Hungaria – who have failed to make the EHF FINAL4.
Even though Schatzl was part of the Györ team that lost the final in 2012, next week will be her first visit to the EHF FINAL4, which was introduced to the EHF Champions League Women in 2013/14.
I have always watched and followed every little detail about the EHF FINAL4 since I am a pro. I just wanted to participate, to be there as an active player. Even in front of the telly, the atmosphere gave me goosebumps, so I cannot imagine the feelings that are ahead of me.
“It is very special to me that I will finally experience the atmosphere of the EHF FINAL4. I needed days after the home game against Brest (in the quarter-finals) to realise that I and we, that the team had made it,” said the 28-year-old Schatzl, who first hope win the Hungarian cup this weekend.
“I have always watched and followed every little detail about the EHF FINAL4 since I am a pro. I just wanted to participate, to be there as an active player. Even in front of the telly, the atmosphere gave me goosebumps, so I cannot imagine the feelings that are ahead of me,” Schatzl said.
“Especially as the tournament will be played in Budapest, in the brand new MVM Dome where I hope that many Györ fans will cheer for us.”
At 28, Schatzl is the more experienced of the left wing. She also just leads Fodor when it comes to goals scored: 40-33.
The 23-year-old Fodor has been with Györ since 2017 and was part of the team that won the EHF FINAL4 in 2018 and again in 2019.
“It is a wonderful experience to be here again. I hope that this will be repeated many times. I am very excited about the event as it has a special place in my heart. This is why we put so much effort into the whole season,” Fodor said.
“To be among the top four teams in the EHF Champions League shows me that hard work pays off.”
While winning all competitions they compete in is the usual standard Györ aim for each season, they failed to lift the biggest trophy last season following a dramatic semi-final defeat against Brest Bretagne Handball – after winning it three times in a row from 2017 through 2019.
“Sadly, last year we failed to advance to the final and could not give a golden farewell to Anita Görbicz, as she retired after the season. So, we have another extra motivation. Any other outcome than winning in Budapest would be a disappointment, but we know that we can win,” Fodor said.
The younger of the two left wings knows exactly what Györ need in order to reclaim the title from Vipers Kristiansand next week: “Focus, the best concentration we can have. We must show what we are – or even more. But not less.”
Last year we failed to advance to the final and could not give a golden farewell to Anita Görbicz, as she retired after the season. So, we have extra motivation. Any other outcome than winning in Budapest would be a disappointment, but we know that we can win.
Györ met two of the three other participants at the EHF FINAL 2022 already during this season’s group phase: they beat Metz Handball twice and Vipers at home, but lost the last group game in Norway.
However, Györ will face Team Esbjerg in the first semi-final next week Saturday.
“We have already played against Metz and Vipers, so we have some knowledge and routine which makes our preparation easier,” Fodor said.
“Vipers have a great squad and Metz can surprise any opponent. Esbjerg as rookies are dark horses to us, but that can also be an advantage.”
Schatzl and Fodor are two of the seven Györ players who received a nomination for the EHF Champions League 2021/22 All-star Team – Schatzl for the left wing position, Fodor as best young player.
“It is a huge honour and responsibility to be named as one of the nominees to the All-star Team,” Schatzl said. “It shows me how I should never doubt myself and always believe in my dreams in any circumstances, however it is still unbelievable to read my name among the bests of the world.”
After the final buzzer, Schatzl said, she never feels like having played a perfect game.
“I find something every time that I should do better next time. But it is not only about me, as handball is a team sport: my good performance comes from our great side,” Schatzl said.
“As a wing, I wait for the opportunities that only come when my teammates pass the ball in good situations.”
Also for Fodor, the nomination is a reward for putting in the hard work.
“Hard work is valued, even though I personally did not feel that this season was one of my best,” she said.
The duo will be part of the first EHF FINAL4 in the newly built MVM Dome, which has been used for the Men’s EHF EURO 2022 and which replaces the László Papp Budapest Sportaréna as host venue for the season-ending tournament of Europe’s top flight.
If the MVM Dome sells out next week, a total of 20,022 fans would make for a new attendance record the event.
“I have not had a chance to play there, yet, but with the always amazing Györ fans I am pretty sure it will be unforgettable,” Schatzl said.
“To have them with us, is like playing in powerplay.”