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23.12.2019, 12:12
Thüringer HC thriving in a new environment
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WOMEN’S EHF CUP COUNTDOWN #9: Thüringer HC (GER). After eight straight EHF Champions League seasons, the German cup winners hope to make a mark at this level
 

Thüringer HC thriving in a new environment

Having survived tough challenges against Norwegian and Russian opponents in qualification, Thüringer HC have reached the group phase of the Women’s EHF Cup for the first time.

Facing Most, Debrecen and Kastamonu, hopes are high for the German club to make it to the quarter-finals.

Three questions before the new season:

- Which role can the new arrivals play?

While Portuguese Mariana Lopes (arriving from Union Halle-Neustadt) will have to gain more (international) experience, Marie Davidsen (Tertnes Bergen) and especially Mikaela Mässing (H65 Höör) know, how to play on this ground. Mäsing played an incredible strong role in the Swedish team at the 2019 World Championship in Japan, funny enough her goals in the crucial 7/8 placement match eliminated her German teammates Bölk, Stolle, Großmann, Schmelzer and Giegerich from the Olympic Qualification tournament. Thanks to her powerful match play, Mässing fits perfectly to the strong THC back court axis. Goalkeeper Davidsen shares the position with Giegerich in a strong way.

- Will Iveta Koresova be unstoppable again?

The Czech international was the second highest scorer of the 2017/18 EHF Champions League season, only topped by Cristina Neagu. Last season, in the Bundesliga and Europe, she was THC’s biggest weapon in attack.  She was twice awarded the Bundesliga’s most valuable player and her experience is crucial as she carries a young back court axis.

- What will be the key factors?

With six tough matches in the Bundesliga at the same time as the group phase, it will all be a matter of strength in depth for Thüringer HC in the EHF Cup. They have enough international experience, they have the will and they have a motivator in Herbert Müller as coach. That should suffice if they can recover in time and remain injury free between matches.

- Under spotlight: Emily Bölk

Almost all European top clubs were chasing the biggest German talent of the past decade, who decided to stay on German ground, arriving at Langensalza from Buxtehude in 2018.

At the age of 16, Bölk made her debut in the Bundesliga, two years later and after becoming MVP of the Youth World Championship, she had her first cap for Germany.

Now, at the age of 21, the daughter of 1993 World Champions and 1994 EURO silver medalist Andrea Bölk is already a key player at THC and Germany, top scoring for her side at the 2019 World Championship. As her contract expires, it will be a tough job for the German side to keep her at the club.

Self-esteem:

“Two of three opponents were on my wish list, we want to make it to the quarter-finals. If we manage this, we will aim for more.” said coach Herbert Müller.

Though seven players were at the World Championship, none of them returned with an injury. On home court, THC are the favourites against their opponents and besides the trip to Turkey, the travel distances are quite short. If no major injuries occur, THC can make it to the quarter-finals.

Fun fact

Thüringer HC are used to playing their home matches away from home. Their regular arena in Bad Langensalza does not fulfil the EHF standards, but is currently being refurbished. Therefore, THC play their Bundesliga matches at Erfurt and their EHF Cup games, like in the previous years, at Wiedigburgshalle in Nordhausen - the second lion’s den of the 2019 German Cup winners.

What the numbers say

It is the tenth international season for Thüringer HC – but their first in the EHF Cup. After their international debut in 2008/09 in the Challenge Cup, THC were part of the EHF Champions League eight times, reaching the quarter-finals once.

Now, in the last season of the competition, they made their first steps in the EHF Cup, eliminating Byasen and Astrahanocka in the two qualification rounds.

Thüringer HC (GER)

Qualified for Women’s EHF Cup group phase:
Round 2:
29:25, 29:24 against Byasen Trondheim  (NOR)
Round 3: 25:28, 30:25 against Astrakhanochka (RUS)

Newcomers: Marie Davidsen (Tertnes Bergen), Mariana Lopes (Union Halle-Neustadt), Mikaela Mässing (H65 Höör)

Left the club: Saskia Lang (Union Halle-Neustadt, Anne Hubinger (end of career)

Coach:  Herbert Müller (since 2010)

Team captain: Iveta Koresova

European Cup records

EHF Champions League:
Quarter-finals: 2014/15
Main Round: 2013/14, 2015/16, 2016/17, 2017/18, 2018/19
Group Matches: 2011/12, 2012/13

Other EC records:

Cup Winners’ Cup:
Semi-finallist 2012/13

Challenge Cup:
Finalists: 2008/09

German league: 7 titles (2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2018)
German cup: 3 titles (2011, 2013, 2019)


TEXT: Björn Pazen / cor
 
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