«jul 2018»
MOTUWETHFRSASU
2526272829301
2345678
9101112131415
16171819202122
23242526272829
303112345
«aug 2018»
MOTUWETHFRSASU
303112345
6789101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
272829303112
3456789
«sep 2018»
MOTUWETHFRSASU
272829303112
3456789
10111213141516
17181920212223
24252627282930
1234567
«oct 2018»
MOTUWETHFRSASU
1234567
891011121314
15161718192021
22232425262728
2930311234
567891011
«nov 2018»
MOTUWETHFRSASU
2930311234
567891011
12131415161718
19202122232425
262728293012
3456789
«dec 2018»
MOTUWETHFRSASU
262728293012
3456789
10111213141516
17181920212223
24252627282930
31123456
«jan 2019»
MOTUWETHFRSASU
31123456
78910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
28293031123
45678910
«feb 2019»
MOTUWETHFRSASU
28293031123
45678910
11121314151617
18192021222324
25262728123
45678910
«mar 2019»
MOTUWETHFRSASU
25262728123
45678910
11121314151617
18192021222324
25262728293031
1234567
«apr 2019»
MOTUWETHFRSASU
1234567
891011121314
15161718192021
22232425262728
293012345
6789101112
«may 2019»
MOTUWETHFRSASU
293012345
6789101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
272829303112
3456789
«jun 2019»
MOTUWETHFRSASU
272829303112
3456789
10111213141516
17181920212223
24252627282930
1234567
AlbaniaAndorraArmeniaAustriaAzerbaijanBelgiumBosnia HerzegovinaBelarusBulgariaCroatiaCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkSpainEstoniaFaroe IslandsFinlandFranceGreat BritainGeorgiaGermanyGreeceHungaryIrelandIcelandIsraelItalyKosovoLatviaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMoldovaFYR MacedoniaMaltaMontenegroMonacoNetherlandsNorwayPolandPortugalRomaniaRussiaSloveniaSerbiaSwitzerlandSlovakiaSwedenTurkeyUkraine
 
EnglandScotland
Other EHF Sites 

30.08.2017, 17:00
Hard hope to end the Austrian curse
«Go back »Print Version


FEATURE: Lake Constance side Alpla HC Hard want to become the first Austrian club to qualify for the VELUX EHF Champions League group phase since 2008.
 

Hard hope to end the Austrian curse

No Austrian men's team has qualified for the group phase of the VELUX EHF Champions League since 2008/09. Since then, all attempts have failed. Last season Bregenz Handball missed out after a narrow loss to Portugal's ABC/U Minho, and between 2012 and 2015 Alpla HC Hard tried and failed.

Now Alpla Hard again hope to end the Austrian qualification curse. Hard were part of the group phase once, in the 2003/04 season, and come into the qualification tournament this year on a roll.

After missing their fifth straight title in the Austrian league in 2016, they made it again in June 2017 by dethroning defending champions Fivers Margareten Vienna in a thrilling final series. After winning the first leg on home ground 27:26, Hard became the first team to beat the Fivers on home ground after more than two years, taking the title 32:30 after two extra-times.

It was coach Petr Hrachovec's first Austrian trophy. Hrachovec joined Hard in early 2016, succeeding Markus Burger, who led the team to four Austrian championship trophies. Hrachovec previously steered Swiss neighbours Kadetten Schaffhausen to three championship titles.

Hrachovec brings experience of the Champions League from his time playing in Switzerland.

“I told my team how great it feels to be part of this greatest of all club competitions. For me, for the players, for the club and all of Austrian handball it would be brilliant to make it to the group phase,” he says.

Pressure on Presov

Originally, Hard were to host the qualification tournament, but they had to abstain due to organisational reasons. Thus, the Austrians will fly to Presov on Friday to fight for the last remaining spot in the Champions League group phase. On Saturday, they duel with the hosts, the Slovak champions, in the semi-final.

“Of course Presov have an advantage as the hosts of this event, but we have analysed them very well. Presov are physically strong and have a great defence, but I am sure and confident that we have our chances and will continue our Champions League dream,” says Hrachovec.

For the Czech-born coach, all teams competing in this qualification tournament – Portuguese side Sporting CP face Finland's Cocks in the second semi-final - are on a similar level.

“Maybe Sporting are slight favourites in the other match, but in general anything can happen,” Hrachovec believes.

Hard star Gerald Zeiner - Austrian international and back court ace – is also cautiously hopeful of success.

“It would be great if the time would come that Austrian handball returns to the group phase. But it will be incredibly hard for us,” he says.

However Zeiner thinks Hard have an easier task ahead than their opponents.

“Presov are under pressure, they must win,” he says. “We have no pressure, we hope to win. But still I guess the chances to proceed to the final are 40:60 from our point of view.”

Starting the season right

Hard proved their readiness for the Champions League qualification by winning their first domestic trophy of the season last weekend. In a re-match of last season’s final series, Hard beat Fivers 32:24 in the Austrian Super-Cup.

“It's always brilliant to start the season right with a trophy. I hope that this victory will boost our confidence for the Champions League qualification and is an extra motivation,” says Hrachovec.

For Zeiner it was “a great dress rehearsal, not more, as this competition is not comparable with the Champions League”.

All of Austrian handball will be hoping for a match against Sporting in Sunday's final. The Portuguese side features Austrian right back Janko Bozovic, a key player for Sporting.

“First we focus on Presov,” says Zeiner, “but a final against Janko would make the tournament even more special.”


TEXT: Björn Pazen / jh
 
Share
CONTACT FORM