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13.10.2015, 20:50
Series of injuries could hamper German champions' chances
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Women’s EHF Champions League club countdown: 3 days to go - Thüringer HC (GER)
 

Series of injuries could hamper German champions' chances

Herbert Müller starts his sixth season as the coach of Thüringer HC, but with some certain difficulties.

After leading the East German team to five straight national championship titles since 2011, the faces in his team have changed significantly.

Right in THC’s tenth Bundesliga season, some key players have left, mainly from the back court positions like the two German internationals Nadja Nadgornaja (THC’s top scorer in last season’s EHF Champions League) to Dortmund or tall shooter Franziska Mietzner to Leipzig. Petra Popluharova ended her career and Yuliya Snopova transferred to Ankara.

In addition, Thüringer HC have been hit extremely hard by long-term injuries like newcomer Beate Scheffknecht, left wing Sonja Frey, German national team goalkeeper Jana Krause and Czech playmaker Iveta Luzumova.

“There is a slight chance of them returning when the Champions League season starts,” said Müller.

To try and fill the gap between the goal posts during Krause’s absence, THC intermediately signed Czech international Lucie Satrapova on loan from Prague to be at the side of talented Dinah Eckerle.

The biggest hopes among the new arrivals is the youngest newcomer the Romanian international Eliza Buceschi, who was awarded best young player of the 2014/15 Champions League season and arrives from Romanian runners-ups Baia Mare.

In contrast to all previous seasons, this year THC were not drawn into the group of death, but have a manageable task ahead of them in Group B - facing FTC, Podravka and Fleury (including former THC top star Alexandrina Barbosa).

“Our group seems to be fairly well-balanced, so our target is to make it to the main round and try to take as many points as possible.
In addition, we want to excite our fans by playing an attractive style of handball,” team manager Maik Schenk says.

In April, THC made it to the Champions League quarter-final, but then were eliminated by later-on finalists Larvik from Norway.

The year before, THC were even closer to the FINAL4 in Budapest, with only one point missing from them marking the biggest success of a German team in the Women’s EHF Champions League.

“Our Champions League matches are always the icing on the cake of our season for the players and the fans,” Schenk adds: “Thanks to the fabulous support of our fans the matches in Nordhausen are always full of emotion.”

Dutch team captain Danick Snelder, who was joined by two country-fellows (Lotte Prak and Anouk van de Wiel) before the start of the season, will definitely enjoy her next international experience: “Despite the long bus trips, we will indulge those matches and we will try hard to make it to the main round.

“For some of our players it will be their first Champions League experience, and they also will experience the great atmosphere at our home games.”
Like Schenk, Snelder expects an equal group with a slight advantage for the Hungarian champions:

“Each team can make it to the main round. FTC can count on international experience and their speed, Fleury have a stable centre defence, and of course our former teammate Barbosa and Podravka, who we beat twice in the previous season.”

Thüringer HC (GER)

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

Newcomers:  Natalia Reshetnikova (Universitet Izhevsk), Anouk van de Wiel (Göppingen), Lotte Prak (Koblenz), Lucie Satrapova (on loan from Slavia Prag), Eliza Buceschi (Baia Mare), Beate Scheffknecht (Göppingen)

Left the club:  Nadja Nadgornaja (Dortmund), Yulia Snopova (Muratpasa Antalya), Franziska Mietzner (Leipzig), Martine Smeets (Bietigheim), Petra Popluharova (Karriereende)

Coach: Herbert Müller (since 2010)

Team captain: Danick Snelder

Opponents in the group matches: FTC, Podravka, Fleury in Group B

EHF Women’s Champions League records:

Participations (including 2015/16 season): 5
Main Round: 2013/14, 2014/15
Group Matches: 2011/12, 2012/13

Other EC records:

Cup Winners’ Cup:
Semi-Finalist 2012/13

Challenge Cup:
Finalist: 2008/09

German champion: 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
German Cup winner: 2011, 2013


TEXT: Björn Pazen / bc
 
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