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10.09.2010, 09:56
The legend continues in a new arena
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VELUX EHF Men’s Champions League countdown, part 13: Montpellier HB (FRA)
 

The legend continues in a new arena

"Do something very spectacular every year" seems to be the motto of Montpellier HB.

After signing World Handball Player Nikola Karabatic in 2009, the French record champion this year presents a brand new arena. More than 9,000 spectators will be able to see world class handball in the top level venue.

The new arena is the second biggest handball venue in France after Palais Omnisport in Paris. Being opened just two days ago with a big concert of the French band "Indochine", the arena shall not only help Montpellier to increase their income with more sold tickets, but it is designed to create an atmosphere of success.

The dream is to go on to the EHF FINAL4 this season, after missing the big final EHF Champions League tournament last season with a lost penalty shoot-out against Chekhovskie Medvedi.

A good omen for the EHF Champions League should be that the southern French club are playing their first official match in the new venue against HSV Hamburg on 26 September.

Other opponents in the first stage of the competition will be Veszprém, Sävehof, Kolding and Tatran Presov.

The squad didn’t drastically change – with one exception: both goalkeepers Karaboue and Stojnovic left Montpellier. So two new goalies have arrived, Richard Stochl from Celje and Mickel Robin from their biggest French opponent Chambery.

It was a triangle relationship as Montpellier had beforehand signed Bosna’s Nebosa Grahovac. But the moment Chambery accepted to let Robin out of his contract, Grahovac got green light to leave Bosna and go to Chambery.

"It has been a long and intense negotiation, but I think in the end it was the right decision to go to Montpellier one year early than planned," Robin said and continued: "I’m really looking forward to fight for my place between the bars of the Montpellier goal against the experienced Stochl."

Mickel Robin signed a three year contract with Montpellier. Both goalkeepers will have a coach with a well-known name: Branko Karabatic, father of Nikola and Luca, who both play for MAHB.

Beside the goalkeeper changes Montpellier only signed one new player, Bosnian Branislaw Obradovic, who arrives from Antequera in Spain.

So the squad including stars like Karabatic, Tej, Hmam, Kavticnik, Guigou and Bojinovic remains nearly the same. After being unbeatable in France, the dream now is to repeat their masterpiece from 2003, when they won the EHF Champions League.

Last season they won everything that was to win in France, championship, cup and the league cup. Coach Patrick Canayer, who has been in position since 1994, is an important part of this success.

And now – when starting to play in their new arena – MAHB proudly point to their motto: "The legend continues."

Key facts

Newcomers: Richard Stochl (from RK Celje), Mickel Robin (from Chambery Savoie), Branislav Obradovic (from Antequera)

Left the club: Jan Sobol, Daoude Karaboue (to Toulouse), Nebojasa Stojinovic (to Dijon)

Coach: Patrice Canayer (FRA, since 1994)

Club records

EHF Champions League winner 2003, eleven times French Champion (1998, 99, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2009 2010), ten times French cup winner (1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2010)

Find more info here.


TEXT: Björn Pazen
 
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