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21.09.2017, 10:00
German debutants packed with international experience
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Women’s EHF Champions League countdown: SG BBM Bietigheim may be heading into their second season in Europe and their first in the Women’s EHF Champions League, but much is expected of their experienced and exciting squad
 

German debutants packed with international experience

Although they are newcomers in the Women’s EHF Champions League, on the back of their very first league title in Germany, Bietigheim can count on a team with players who know how to perform at this level and a Danish coach who knows this competition well.

Three questions before the new season

Will Bietigheim continue surprising at international level?

“It was a dream came true for us, when we qualified for the EHF Champions League,” said Bietigheim’s manager Gerrit Winnen and 2016/17 was indeed a dream season.

In their first Europe campaign, SG went all the way to the finals of the EHF Cup, eventually losing to Rostov, beating some big names such as Kuban and ÉRD in the process.

Now they face manageable tasks en route to the main round; a Buducnost side in a state of transition, Kristiansand are fellow newcomers and Metz a team they beat in pre-season.

“We are hoping for a surprise and to make it to the main round. For us it is a pleasure to play against these clubs full of tradition, fantastic home courts and fans,” says team captain Kim Naidzinavicius.

What are the cornerstones of experience for Bietigheim?

First and foremost, coach Martin Albertsen has plenty of experience at this level to draw on, after leading Leipzig, Randers and Viborg into and through the competition in past years.

As for players, Nina and Susann Müller, Dutch stars Wester, Malestein and Visser as well as the Danish sisters Mie and Cecilie Woller will be key figures.

Which role will new arrival Karolina Kudlacz-Gloc play?

The Polish playmaker, who had been at Leipzig for more than a decade, will return at the end of the group matches, following the birth of her son in June.

The former IHF World Handball Player of the Year nominee could play a huge part for Bietigheim, but will need some time to adapt. 

Under the spotlight: Tess Wester

All eyes will be on the performances of the Dutch goalkeeper, who was part of the 2015 World Championship All-star team and enters her first season in Europe’s elite club competition.

Despite her young age, she is already a key player in the club and national team. Wester will build a new partnership between the posts with former Leipzig goalkeeper Nicole Roth and Azerbaijani Valentyna Salamakha. 

Self-esteem

Within the club, they hope to win the double in Germany, after they lost the cup semi-final at home against Buxtehude last season. In their maiden voyage in the Women’s EHF Champions League, SG aim to proceed to the main round.

“We are newcomers and underdogs in the EHF Champions League, but Martin Albertsen and the team will give their best. With MHP Arena in Ludwigsburg as our home court, we will put on the best events possible for the competition,” says manager Gerit Winnen, who is looking forward to “great matches against strong and more experienced teams.”

Fun fact

After Gro and Anja Hammerseng-Edin (Larvik) ended their career this summer, Nina and Susann Müller are the only married couple playing for the same team in the Women’s EHF Champions League.

The former German internationals already played together in Randers (Denmark) and Ljubljana, before they went their separate ways – Nina at Siofok, Susann at Györ and Leipzig.

What the numbers say

Bietigheim became the first ever team in German women’s Bundesliga to become champion without dropping a single point, winning all 26 matches and dethroning Thüringer HC in style.

SG BBM Bietigheim (GER)

Qualification for the 2017/18 Women’s EHF Champions League season: German champions

Newcomers: Charris Rozemalen (VOC Amsterdam), Karolina Kudlacz-Gloc (HC Leipzig), Nicole Roth (HC Leipzig), Ines Ivancok (MGA Fivers), Cecilie Woller (AJAX Kobenhavn).

Left the club: Isabell Roch (TUS Metzingen), Ann-Cathrin Giegerich (Neckarsulmer Sport-Union), Hanna Yttereng (Kisvárdai KC), Linda Mack (Neckarsulmer Sport-Union), Jaqueline Anastácio (Kastamonu Artsam Spor), Stine Baun Eriksen (Ringkøbing Håndbold), Fernanda Da Silva (maternity leave)

Coach:  Martin Fruelund Albertsen (since December 2014)

Team captain: Kim Naidzinavicius

Women’s EHF Champions League records:

Participations (including 2017/18 season): 1

Other EC records:

EHF Cup
Finalists: 2016/17

German league: 1 title (2017)


TEXT: Björn Pazen / cor
 
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