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05.10.2015, 17:40
60th anniversary celebrated by young guns
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Women’s EHF Champions League club countdown: 11 days to go - HC Podravka Vegeta (CRO)
 

60th anniversary celebrated by young guns

Regardless the outcome of the season, Podravka Vegeta will have a big party - the Croatian record champions will celebrate the 60th anniversary of the club, which history is highlighted by winning the EHF Champions League in the 1995/96 season.

19 years later, the targets and ambitions have changed: the squad of coach Goran Mrden has lost some experienced players such a Miranda Tatari (pregnant), Kristina Elez or Jelena Trifunovic, in addition, Andrea Covic transferred to Balkan powerhouse Vardar.

All the newcomers are young talents in this nearly all-Croatian squad.

The only non-Croatian player in the team is experienced Montenegrin goalkeeper Mirjana Milenkovic.

As Podravka seems to be invincible in Croatian competitions, they hope for an end to their bad run on international courts.

Despite the total of 22 participations in the flagship competition of women’s club handball, the team from Koprivnica failed to qualify for the

Champions League Main Round six times in a row, the last time Podravka proceeded to the next stage was in 2008.

So again Mrden’s hopes are quite humble with Thüringer HC, FTC and Fleury being Podravka’s opponents in Group B:

“We intend to be a respectable and strong opponent to all the other teams and hope to advance as far as possible.”

Mrden expects high hurdles for his young team:

“All the opponents are national champions in strong leagues; they are all reputable teams with high-quality players. I strongly believe that all the matches in this group will be engaging, unpredictable and interesting.”

Team captain Dragica Dzono hopes for on a strong defence: “We are a young team with a lack of experience in the Champions League, but we will try to play aggressively and we will give our best to win some points thanks to our good defence.”

In Dzono’s opinion, Podravka’s opponents are “no(t) clubs with big names, but they have lot more experience compared to us. In general, in the Champions League they are no easy teams.”

Overall, Podravka is proud to be constantly among the best 16 women’s club teams in Europe, as Mrden mentions: “The Champions League is the elite club competition in Europe, that is why we are honoured to be a part of it.”

HC Podravka Vegeta (CRO)

Qualification for the 2015/16 EHF Women’s Champions League season: Croatian champions

Newcomers: Selena Milosevic (Zamet), Dora Krsnik (Lokomotiva Zagreb), Lana Frankovic (Mosonmagyarovari KCSE), Ivana Dezic (Koka)

Left the club: Miranda Tatari (pregnancy), Kristina Elez (destination unknown), Jelena Zivkovic (SCM Craiova), Jelena Trifunovic (Trabzon Zagnos Handball Kulubu), Andrea Covic (Vardar Skopje)

Coach: Goran Mrden (since 2013)

Team captain: Dragica Dzono

Opponents in the group phase: FTC, THC and Fleury in Group B

EHF Women’s Champions League records:

Participations (including 2015/16 season): 22
Winner: 1995/96
Finalist: 1994/95
Semi-finalist: 1997/98
Quarter-final: 1996/97
Main Round: 2000/01, 2001/02, 2008/09
Group Phase/Champions League: 1993/94, 1998/99, 1999/00, 2002/03, 2006/07, 2007/08, 2009/10, 2010/11, 2011/12, 2012/13, 2013/14, 2014/15
Qualification: 2003/04, 2005/06

Other EC records:

Cup Winners Cup:
Finalist: 2004/05
Semi-finalist: 2007/08

EHF Cup:
Finalist 2000/01, 2005/06
Croatian champions: 21 times
Croatian Cup winner: 20 times


TEXT: Björn Pazen / bc
 
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