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13.09.2015, 15:10
The hunger for Cologne is still strong
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VELUX EHF Champions League club countdown: 3 days to go - Vive Tauron Kielce (POL)
 

The hunger for Cologne is still strong

If you have experienced a certain taste once and you liked it, you will want to have it again and again: this is Vive Tauron Kielce's hunger for the VELUX EHF FINAL4.



In 2013 and 2015, the Polish champions reached the final destination of the VELUX EHF Champions League, supported by their yellow army of fans, and in both events the results were the same: first a semi-final defeat at the hands of FC Barcelona, then a win in third place placement match against Kiel.

Another parallel in both seasons: Kielce kept an unbeaten record of ten wins in the Group Phase in 2012/13 and 2014/15.

To pull this off again will be much harder in the upcoming season. Due to the new playing system, Kielce were drawn into one group with the defending champions FC Barcelona, Vardar, Kolding, Rhein Neckar Löwen, Kristianstad and Montpellier - and thus will have a huge number of re-matches from the previous season.

“In terms of this group and our general ambitions in the Champions League we take everything step by step,” says manager Radoslaw Wasiak, adding: “We know Barcelona, Löwen, Montpellier and Kolding from the past seasons, so we hopefully know what to do against them.

"But definitely interesting matches are ahead of us in the Group Phase."

In the preparation, Kielce hosted an appetizer for the VELUX EHF Champions League and the 2016 EHF EURO in Poland - a test match against PSG Paris. 

They broke the indoor sport spectator record in Poland with 15,000 in the Krakow Arena, one of the EURO venues during this head-to-head. 



And the tie proved level and showed the strength of the Polish champions, though they have to replace their best known new player: Mariusz Jurkiewicz, who arrived from their domestic rivals Plock, and is currently out due to an injury as well as another newcomer, Pawel Paczkowski.

Despite those injuries and a surprising opening defeat in the Polish league, team captain Grzegorz Tkaczyk is confident that the hunger for Cologne is still there: “We want to improve constantly in the Champions League, but the new playing system is really tough; our aim to reach the VELUX EHF FINAL4 again, however, this is the dream of ten teams.”

For Tkaczyk, Kristianstad is the only unknown opponent, “the rest of them we have faced in the last two years. I believe that most of the games in this group will be decided in the final minutes, so everyone can expect very interesting encounters.”

Wasiak shares those hopes: “We take a lot of experience from every Champions League game, now we even have four more group matches to learn from, so that means four times more action for our fans.”

Besides the record breaking test against PSG, other news that made the fans happy was that coach Talant Dujshebaev extended his contract up until 2019, in order to fulfil his long-term strategy at the club.

KS Vive Tauron Kielce (POL)

Newcomers: Mateusz Kus (Azoty Pulawy), Mariusz Jurkiewicz (Orlen Wisła Plock), Branko Vujovic (Sutejska Niksic), Pawel Paczkowski (Dunkerque HB)

Left the club: Tomasz Rosinski (Chrobry Glogow), Zeljko Musa (SC Magdeburg), Piotr Grabarczyk (HSV Hamburg)

Coach: Talant Dujshebaev (since January 2014)

Opponents in the Group Phase: Barcelona, Vardar, Kolding, Szeged, Löwen, Kristianstad, Montpellier in Group B

Qualification for the 2015/16 VELUX EHF Champions League season: Polish champions

VELUX EHF Champions League records:

Participations (including 2015/16 season): 13
Semi Final (2): 2012/13, 2014/2015 (each third ranked in VELUX F4)
Last 16 (5): 1993/94, 1994/95, 2009/10, 2011/12, 2013/14
Last 32 (2): 1996/97, 1998/99
Group Matches (3): 1999/2000, 2003/04, 2010/11

Other EC records:

11 participations in other ECs

Polish champion: 1993, 1994, 1996, 1998, 1999, 2003, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015

Polish Cup winner: 1985, 2000, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015


TEXT: Björn Pazen / bc
 
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