Bucharest hosted, on August 20-23, the most important women’s handball friendly tournament of the summer. Five EHF Champions League teams plus a top Romanian team faced off in a competition whose line-up was up to par with the higher stages of the most important competition on the continent. The tournament brought together Montenegro’s Buducnost Podgorica, holders of the Champions League title; Macedonia’s Vardar Skopje, which finished on third place in the last two CL editions; Russian title holders Rostov Don; Romanian Cup and Supercup winners HCM Baia Mare; Corona Brasov; and Romanian title holders CSM Bucuresti. A selection of top teams which gathered in Bucharest out of CSM Bucharest’s desire to get the Bucharest fans accustomed to top-level games but also to undergo a test before the start of the EHF Champions League competition, the most important handball club competition. CSM Bucharest will play for the first time in the CL groups’ stage, where it will meet Buducnost, Savehof (Sweden) and Lublin (Poland).
The tournament was praised by the European Handball Federation too, which noted the concentration of champions in Romania’s capital. The success registered by the team coached by Denmark’s Mette Klit confirms that only those who set high goals for themselves can obtain good results. CSM Bucharest won the tournament’s final on Sunday, defeating Buducnost Podgorica, 27-26 (14-13 at half time).
Line Jorgense – tournament’s MVP
The tournament final was a world-class final. In front of 2,000 fans, CSM Bucharest and Buducnost had a successful rehearsal ahead of their official CL game. Montenegro’s team stood out through Katarina Bulatovic, Cristina Neagu and Dragana Cvijic, while the Romanian title holders replied in kind through Jorgensen, Varzaru and Rodrigues. The fate of the game was decided in the second half, when CSM took a four-goal lead. Buducnost came back into the game toward the end but was unable to overturn the result. CSM Bucharest won the trophy for the second consecutive year and issued a warning to all the teams it will meet in the Champions League. Line Jorgensen was the tournament’s MVP. The circle runner bought by CSM this summer stood out by scoring unparryable goals. In the last two games she scored no less than 16 goals, all from movement.
Right winger Cristina Varzaru, also included in the dream team, summed up the tournament: “We feel good, we won the trophy for the second time by defeating Buducnost in the final, but let’s get real, it’s just a friendly tournament. I congratulate Buducnost, they made a good showing even though they only had a week of training. They came to this tournament taking some risks. There are risks in training too, the coaches know this. We are happy they were here, we are happy for the teams that answered the invitation.”
CSM Bucuresti women’s handball team – a Bucharest brand
Apart from its athletic aspects, the Bucharest Trophy was an organizational success. CSM Bucuresti managed to mobilize almost one hundred volunteers that contributed to the proper progress of the competition. The Polivalenta Hall was in excellent shape, just as it will be in the Champions League where it will host CSM Bucharest’s home games. The Bucharest fans have gradually started to get closer to this team that can shortly become a Bucharest brand, just like Oltchim was a brand for the whole of Oltenia.
CSM Bucharest expects all lovers of handball in Bucharest to be by the Tigers’ side both in the National League as well as in the Champions League.
Final game: CSM Bucuresti 27 – Buducnost 26