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07.02.2018, 09:10
Swiss debutants eager to learn
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EHF Cup countdown #16: Wacker Thun (SUI). With an all-Swiss squad, Thun want to gain experience - and some points - upon their first group phase appearance
 

Swiss debutants eager to learn

Pfadi Winterthur were the first and so far only Swiss club to qualify for the Men’s EHF Cup Group Phase. Now Wacker Thun have achieved the feat as well.

The Swiss cup winners, coached by former international player Martin Rubin since 2007, made two short trips to Austria in the qualification.

After two victories against Westwien in Round 2, the away goal rule was decisive in Round 3 against Alpla Hard. After a 19:17 win on home court, Thun lost 23:21 to the Austrian champions in the return leg but that result was still just enough to advance to the group phase for the first time.

It is Thun’s biggest international success since their group phase appearance at the VELUX EHF Champions League 2013/14, and public interest is huge. More than 500 combined tickets for all three home matches against Granollers, Chambéry and Pulawy have already been sold.

Also, special EHF Cup sponsor packages and travel arrangements for fans have been successfully marketed.

“To be part of the group phase in the second most important European club competition is a huge honour for us,” says coach Rubin, father of talented left back Lenny Rubin (22). “On the other hand it is a huge challenge for the club and the players. I hope we manage to fit all requirements.”

Thun have an all-Swiss squad after their only foreign player, Emil Feuchtmann of Chile, left to French side Nancy, and they regard themselves as underdogs in Group D.

“Mainly Granollers and Chambéry have much more international experience than us, and Pulawy count on several experienced players from many countries,” Rubin says. “We want to learn from this competition, take the challenges step by step. But of course, it is our aim to take some points.”

Rubin scored 878 goals in 249 matches for Switzerland, while he had 2,172 goals in 446 matches for Thun in the Swiss league. In his opinion, the main contenders for making it to the EHF Cup Finals in Magdeburg are the three German sides plus the participants from France and Spain.

Currently Wacker top the table of the Swiss league, ahead of champions Kadetten Schaffhausen, and Lukas von Deschwanden leads the top scorers list with 105 goals.

Wacker Thun (SUI)

Qualification for the EHF Cup Group Phase 2017/18: Round 2: 27:22, 32:27 against Westwien (AUT), Round 3: 19:17, 21:23 against Hard (AUT)

Newcomers: Nicolas Suter, Flavio Wick (GC Zürich), Damien Guignet (GS Stäfa), Marco Giovanelli (BSV Bern Muri)

Left the club: Nikola Isailovic (HSC Suhr Aarau), Emil Feuchtmann Perez (Grand Nancy), Markus Hüsser, Andreas Merz (end of career)

Coach: Martin Rubin (seit 2007)

Team captain: Roman Caspar

Opponents in the group matches: Chambery, Granollers and Pulamy in Group D

EHF Champions League records:
Group Phase: 2013/14

Other European Cup records:

Cup Winners’ Cup:
Last 16: 2006/07

EHF Cup:
Last 16: 2005/06

EHF Challenge Cup:
Winners: 2004/05
Finalists: 2011/12

Swiss champions: 2013
Swiss cup winners: 2002, 2006, 2012, 2013, 2017

Photo: wackerthun.ch


TEXT: Björn Pazen / ew
 
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