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21.08.2017, 13:20
7 new arrivals, 7 different nationalities for Bucuresti
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VELUX EHF Champions League countdown: Dinamo Bucuresti (ROU). With a reinforced squad the Romanian champions are hoping to make it into the play-offs
 

7 new arrivals, 7 different nationalities for Bucuresti

After edging AHC Potaissa Turda in the Romanian league finals, Dinamo Bucuresti are heading into their second straight VELUX EHF Champions League season.

The team of head coach Eliodor Voica have gained experience thanks to several newcomers and they are now targeting the Group C/D play-offs.

Three questions before the new season:

- Are Dinamo strong enough to make the next step?

Their opponents in the group phase seem not quite as tough as last season, even though Kadetten Schaffhausen have bolstered their squad. After their first group phase experience in 2016/17, the Romanian champions mainly have to focus on improving in away matches. At home, they will always be a force to reckon with.

- Which impact will the Iranian quartet have?

With the arrival of Saeid Heidarirad the number of Iranian players at Dinamo have risen to four, with Allahkaram and Sajad Esteki as well as Alireza Mousavi already playing in the Romanian capital. It is a win-win situation: Players from Iran will lift the level of the national team thanks to their international experience, and Dinamo will be able to better integrate the Iranians.

- Can Dinamo grab some attention away from women’s handball in Bucharest?

Even more now national heroine and three-time IHF World Player Cristina Neagu has returned to Bucharest, the main focus of fans and media are on women’s club CSM Bucuresti, last year’s Champions League winners. In previous decades, the men’s game with the likes of Vasile Stinga or Stefan  Birtalan was the no. 1. Nowadays even the national team struggles to get into the focus. Still, Dinomo can step into the limelight by posting some remarkable results in the VELUX EHF Champions League.

Under spotlight: Sajad Esteki

Scoring 68 goals in only 10 matches, the 27-year-old back court ace was one of the most successful and efficient scorers in the VELUX EHF Champions League last season. With 213 goals in total in all competitions, he was by far the most productive player for Bucuresti. But now opponents will be even more aware of the skills of the Iranian, who was top scorer of the under-19 and under-21 World Championships in 2009 and 2011 respectively.

Self-esteem

Apart from hoping for a full cabinet of trophies in domestic competitions again, Dinamo will be aiming to proceed to the next stage of the Champions League, which at least would mean qualifying for the Group C/D play-offs. “We want to compete with the best and want to go on,” says manager Ovidiu Semen. But opponents like Schaffhausen, Leon, Velenje and Skjern will be high hurdles on their way to a top-two finish.

Fun fact

Dinamo are relishing a rich handball history with its international highlight dating back more than half a century. In 1965, they celebrated their biggest success by winning the Champions’ Cup, a predecessor to the EHF Champions League.

What the numbers say

Dinamo have become even more multi-national: seven newcomers from seven different countries are bolstering the squad: Serbia, Qatar, Russia, Belarus, France, Iran and Romania.

Dinamo Bucuresti (ROU)

Qualification for VELUX EHF Champions League 2017/18 season: Romanian champions

Newcomers: Milan Sajin, Novak Boskovic, Vitaly Komogorov, Vadim Gayduchenko, Hugo Descat, Saeid Heidarirad, Razvan Gavriloaia

Left the club: Flavius Cimpan, Pierre Ragot, Jakov Vrankovic, Razvan Pop

Coach: Eliodor Voica (since 2015)

Team captain: Ionut Irimus

VELUX EHF Champions League records:

Participations (including 2017/18 season): 6
Last 32 (1): 1997/98
Group Phase (2): 2005/06, 2016/17
Qualification (2): 1995/96, 1997/98

Other EC records:

EHF Cup:
Semi-final 2003/2004; Group Phase 2015/2016

Romanian league:
14 titles (1959, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1978, 1986, 1995, 1997, 2005, 2016, 2017)

Romanian cup:
4 titles (1979, 1982, 1988, 2017)


TEXT: Björn Pazen / ew
 
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