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04.09.2015, 11:20
Barca looking unstoppable ahead of domestic season
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A league with a clear favourite in FC Barcelona Lasse but the rest of the spots are not as clear cut

»EHF CL Channel »
 

Barca looking unstoppable ahead of domestic season

The Spanish ASOBAL BAUHAUS league will start today with a big favourite: FC Barcelona Lassa. The current VELUX EHF Champions League and ASOBAL league champion has yet another title in their sights as they hope to increase their legendary status.

The ASOBAL league was founded in 1989 when all the Spanish handball clubs founded this private association which created the league. Before this the Spanish league was organised by the Spanish Federation.

FC Barcelona Lasse and Naturhouse La Rioja clear favourites

It is widely believed that the Catalan side will take the championship once again and that Naturhouse La Rioja will come second qualifying for the VELUX EHF Champions League for the third time in their history. Both sides are the top two in their league but the gap between them both is, in reality, still quite large, with Barca playing a few levels above their Northern Spanish counterparts.   

Barcelona won the last 60 matches of their domestic league, meaning that the nine-time EHF Champions League Champions won all their games in the last two seasons.

Naturhouse la Rioja's main aim this season is to ensure themselves of Champions League handball next season. Their main opponent for this second position is Fraikin BM. Granollers who have gone the distance but came up short against the ‘riojans’ the past two years.

Granollers who are not a full-time professional team will play this season in the EHF Cup and will hope to hold onto their pass to European handball.

In the last two seasons they have played in all possible finals in Spain coming up against Barcelona: ASOBAL Supercup, King’s Cup, Catalan Supercup and in the ASOBAL Cup, but never managing to beat Barcelona in the last few years.

The two clubs do have a special connection in that they are the only two teams who have never been religated to the second division. The biggest accomplishments the Catalan side has produced was winning the EHF Cup twice (1995 and 1996), and European Cup once (1976).

The other top teams which will fight for positions in Europe will be Helvetia Anaitasuna that will play in this season's EHF Cup for first time in their history, and Abanca Ademar Leon, even though they didn’t have a good season last year (historically being one of the powerhouses of the ASOBAL League).

With Barcelona being head and shoulders above the rest, the remaining teams play on, more or less, a similar level and the competition for places is tough. A team which is promoted from the second division has a fairly good chance of finishing in the top six while on the flip side, teams who have had a good run in a cup have been relegated in the same season in the past.

The Spanish teams have won an overall of 47 European trophies, 39 since the implementation of the European Cup competitions by the EHF in 1993, including fourteen titles in the EHF Champions League by five different teams since 1991. The most remarkable Spanish dominance was seen in the EHF Champions League between 1994 and 2001, when only Spanish clubs took the trophies.

The president of ASOBAL, Eduard Coll expects that this season is the beginning of a new era for the Spanish league.

It would be difficult for Barcelona not to win the league because they have signed a very good substitute for Nikola Karabatic in Filip Jicha. However, I don’t see it as clear cut as everyone else, I do believe that there are teams that can give Barcelona a test. For example, Granollers only lost in ASOBAL Supercup by 3 goals (26:23).”

“What do Spanish handball fans what? Well to have more teams that can compete for the title of course. I believe that we are doing the right things now to change that and we can start to see the light at the end of the tunnel,” continued Coll.

You can catch selected live action of the ASOBAL League over season on ehfTV with action throwing off with FC Barcelona Lassa taking on Helvetia Anaitasuna at 20:30 (GMT +1) tonight.

The list of successes of Spanish clubs in men’s EHF club competitions:

14 titles by five different clubs in the EHF Champions League since 1991 - including two of six trophies at the VELUX EHF FINAL4 since 2010: FC Barcelona (1995/96, 1996/97, 1997/98, 1998/99, 1999/00, 2004/05, 2010/11, 2014/15), Ciudad Real (2005/06, 2007/08, 2008/09), Teka Santander (1993/94 –the first winner), Elgorriaga Bidasoa (1994/95), San Antonio (2000/01).

Four trophies by three teams in the old EHF Cup (1994/2012): BM. Granollers (1994/95, 1995/96), FC Barcelona (2002/03), Alzira Avidesa (1993/94)

11 titles by seven clubs in the old version of the Cup Winners’ Cup (1994-2012): FC Barcelona (1993/94, 1994/95), Teka Santander (1997/98), Elgorriaga Bidasoa Irun (1996/97), Ademar Leon (1998/99, 2004/05), San Antonio (1999/00, 2003/04), Ciudad Real (2001/02, 2002/03), BM. Valladolid (2008/09).

Nine titles in the EHF Champions Trophy: FC Barcelona (1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2003), San Antonio (2000), Ciudad Real (2005, 2006, 2008)

Previous competitions: 1 title in the Champions’ Cup: FC Barcelona (forerunner of EHF Champions League), 1 title in former IHF Cup: CB Cantabria (1992/93), 6 titles in the previous Cup Winners’ Cup: BM. Granollers, Calpisa, FC Barcalona (3), GD Teka Santander.


TEXT: Adria Barrio / bc
 
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