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09.06.2015, 17:00
National champions of Europe - women part 1: Central
«Go back »Print Version


FEATURE: Review of the women's national leagues in Europe. The first part of the series takes a closer look at Germany, Hungary, Austria, Slovakia, Slovenia, Czech Republic and Poland

»EHF CL Channel »2014-15 Women's News
»
 

National champions of Europe - women part 1: Central

The domestic leagues have come to an end and we now approach the draws of the 2015/16 European season, starting with the Women's EHF Champions League draw on 26 June. In six parts, the spotlight is shone on each of the national champions and their path to glory. The first part is dedicated to teams from Germany, Hungary, Austria, Slovakia, Slovenia, Czech Republic and Poland.

Germany - Thüringer HC

After an unbeaten record in the 2013/14 season, Thüringer HC had to fight much harder to win their fifth straight championship in Germany. Right up until the concluding stages of the championship they could feel eventual runners-up Buxtehuder SV breathing down their necks. Buxtehude beat THC in the first meeting and this defeat was the first for head coach Herbert Müller and his team in 47 Bundesliga matches.

However, a 32:26 win in the rematch gave THC the lead again and set up a final round decider against record champions HC Leipzig.

A defeat would have handed cup winners Buxtehude the league title, but a clear ten-goal win (35:25) allowed the Müller brothers Herbert and Helfried (assistant coach) to celebrate their ninth German title after four with FC Nürnberg.

“To finish on top this season was the toughest task with Thüringer HC to date. We were hit by so many injuries and we were sapped of energy because of the Champions League, but in the end we managed to do it,” commented Herbert Müller.

Hungary - FTC Rail Cargo Hungaria

Few had expected in September that Győr would have to hand over the Hungarian women’s crown to their domestic rivals Ferencváros. Double Women’s EHF Champions League holders Győr were hit hard by the absence of Katrine Lunde and Anita Görbicz, who were both sidelined by their pregnancy, then later by the knee injury to World Player of the Year Eduarda Amorim but Ferencváros, who failed to enter Europe’s elite club competition from the qualifiers, were still widely regarded to be only fit for the runners-up position.

Győr failed to reach the MVM EHF FINAL4 in Budapest and effectively drained their confidence. Ferencváros beat Győr in the last round of the regular season but the defending champions still held on to home court advantage for the finals.

Győr wanted to celebrate the national title at home so they asked to switch the venue of the first game, which was duly played in Budapest, but Ambros Martin’s team lost on penalties after a thrilling draw (24:21). Much to their surprise the holders suddenly found themselves in need of fighting for their crown, but Ferencváros gathered momentum and won in Győr 27:25.

Ferencváros won their 12th Hungarian championship and were crowned for the first time since 2007. The Győr bound Zsuzsa Tomori kept her promise to win an important trophy with Ferencváros before she left.

Austria - Hypo Niederösterreich

No team in Europe have even close to the same winning record as Hypo Niederösterreich. For the 39th time the team of Ferenc Kovacs took the Austrian title and they faced their own youth team in the final series of the WHA Austria, beating their club mates twice clearly by 45:25 and 35:18.

Hypo also won the Austrian cup with a 35:10 win over Dornbirn.

Despite losing some top players (mainly from Brazil) before the start of the season, the Austrian title was never out of reach, but on international level Hypo missed out on the qualification for the EHF Women’s Champions League main round and was later eliminated from the Cup Winners’ Cup by eventual finalists Fleury from France.

At the domestic level, Hypo won all 22 matches of the regular league season, finishing this part with an incredible goal difference of plus 375, which means that they won each match by an average of 17 goals.

Slovakia - Iuventa Michalovce

Michalovce proved their dominance in Slovakia by winning three trophies this season. In the Czech-Slovakian WHIL they finished top with only one defeat away to Baník Most. For Michalovce it is sixth WHIL title overall.

In the national play offs, Iuventa did not meet their usual rivals from Šaľa this season. They won all six playoff games to lift their fifth national title in a row, beating Prešov in the semi-finals and Slávia Partizánske in the finals, both comfortably 3:0 in best of five series.

The team led by František Urban managed to win its sixth Slovakian Cup after beating Slovan Duslo Šaľa in the final played in Michalovce.

Slovenia – RK Krim Mercator

RK Krim Mercator secured their 21st Slovenian League title, on the wings of the 26:23 away win against runners-up RK Gen-I Zagorje on the final day, although the road to the title defence was somewhat harder than dominant Krim would have liked. Just eight days later, it was the lethal right wing Alja Koren’s 15-goal masterclass that sent “Krimovke” to defend the double, celebrating their 22nd Slovenian Cup glory, upon a 37:24 final win against ZRK Zelene Doline Zalec.

A tight affair in the penultimate round of the Slovenian championship saw RK Krim Mercator let a five-goal lead (15:10) slip in the dying minutes of the away match against the third-placed ZRK Milinotest Ajdovscina. An unexpected 28:31 defeat added suspense to the last round of the championship. Second-placed Gen-I Zagorje had an opportunity to challenge Krim’s title credentials on their home court. Zagorje kept their chances in a rollercoaster match entering the dying minutes of the game with the narrow lead, when Krim displayed greater determination and composure following Tamara Mavsar’s nine goals, to regain control of the match and finish with a 26:23 victory, that brought them their 21st league title.

Czech Republic - Baník Most

It was a close contest for the second spot in the regular season of WHIL between two Czech teams, Baník Most and Sokol Poruba. In the end, „Black Angels” grabbed the second spot, which gave them advantage of starting the best of three series in the national playoffs at home. It proved to be crucial.

Most lost the first final away from home after a penalty shootout. However, two home games proved the Black Angels’ home is a fortress and the decisive match ended 27:19 in their favour.  It was a nice farewell for Petra Vítkova, who decided to end her illustrious handball career and begin a new era as coach of Slavia Praha next season.

Poland - MKS Selgros Lublin

It was one of the most interesting seasons in the last 10 years of the PGNiG Women’s Superleague. For the 18th time in 22 seasons the league title was won by MKS Selgros Lublin, who beat Vistal Gdynia 3:1 in the final series. Third place went Challenge Cup finalist Pogon Baltica Szczecin ahead of Start Elblag and KGHM Metraco Zaglebie Lubin, who were surprisingly out of contention for the medals this season.

The champions from Lublin qualified for the final after a 2:0 quarter-final win against KPR Jelenia Gora and surprisingly cruising past Pogon Baltica Szczecin 3:0.

The final games were tense, but Lublin took the first two victories at home (26:25, 27:22). The third game - a real handball thriller with two extra-times and penalties went Vistal’s way (43:42). Everything was decided in the fourth encounter, in which MKS Selgros won 33:27.

Photo credit: Alex Wipf


TEXT: Björn Pazen, Nemanja Savic, Michal Pomorski, Tomas Cuncik, Bence Martha / cor
 
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