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25.01.2018, 13:00
Gulldén and Bradeanu stand out as CSM look back on historic win
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25 YEARS OF THE CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: The final of the Women's EHF Champions League 2015/16 was an all-time classic with Bella Gulldén the key to victory for debutants CSM Bucuresti
 

Gulldén and Bradeanu stand out as CSM look back on historic win

“A story like this will never be written again in the history of the Champions League, no matter how long that history will be.

“What happened that Sunday in May 2016 and what led up to it was simply so surreal,” says Kim Rasmussen, a year and a half on from coaching CMS Bucuresti to a remarkable Champions League victory over Györi Audi ETO KC in 2016.

As CMS head coach at the time, the Dane celebrated the greatest triumph in his career so far by taking the Romanian side to the top of the Champions League podium.

Several factors made that final in the Papp Laszlo Arena in Budapest on 8 May 2016 unforgettable: a tense 60 minutes ending 22:22 with the two teams taking turns with the lead; the nail-biting extra time, in which the game seemed to live its own life and refuse to give us a winner, because neither team deserved to lose; and a penalty shootout following the 3:3 extra time draw, giving CSM the 29:26 win.

Two players were crucial to CSM's triumph. Veteran Aurelia Bradeanu decided the match with her only goal in the game, but the stand-out was an incredible performance from Isabelle Gulldén.

The Swedish international scored no fewer than 15 goals including all her team's penalties and one of the crucial penalties in the shootout.

Coming from behind

CSM certainly came from behind that season. As Champions League debutants, they entered the main round bringing no points with them from their group matches.

Still, they managed to reach the quarter-finals from fourth position in their main round group, and with two one-goal wins against Russian side Rostov-Don, they were ready for the Women's EHF FINAL4 for the first time in their history.

Despite being underdogs, they proved the sceptics wrong by defeating HC Vardar 27:21 in the semi-final before the final win against Györ who were almost on home ground in the Hungarian capital.

“I don't remember anything from the match apart from the fact that we won it!” said Rasmussen right after his team's triumph.

Today, he remembers a little more.

“Not only the final in itself, but also the entire season was surreal to me and to everyone in the team, I think,” he recalls. “After all we had been through together, this was a fantastic reward for all our hardship.

“I came to the club after the start of the season, in which we had ongoing injury problems as well as changes in the organisation and other kinds of turbulence.

“However, all this helped us to stick together, and I actually remember us being like war buddies.

We became a unit, and we turned out to be a team who were extremely difficult to defeat,” he says.

“I will never forget it”

“That Sunday afternoon in Budapest in May 2016 is an afternoon I am not going to forget as long as I live, and I think that goes for everyone who was part of it. That game simply had everything.

“The extremely close ordinary game. Our equaliser in the dying seconds by Linnea Torstensson in a situation where the ball had landed in a position where it should not have landed at all,” Rasmussen says.

“Then the extra time, which was also unforgettable. Bella's amazing performance, plus that fact that Aurelia Bradeanu, who had not scored a single goal in the entire match, including the extra time, scored our deciding goal in the penalty shootout.

“All this added to the huge triumph it was to defeat Györ in Hungary,” says the Dane – who is now women's national coach in Hungary.

“I would say that no matter what happens in my future coaching career, 8 May 2016 is a day I will remember for the rest of my days,” he concludes.


TEXT: Peter Bruun / jh, ew
 
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