Countdown, part 12: Montpellier Agglomeration HB
Patrice Canayer is starting his 19th season as Montpellier coach with mixed feelings. Not only will a strengthened Paris team fight for the French crown, but right wing Vid Kavtičnik is still suffering from a ruptured crucial ligament which he picked up in March, when the French champions were eliminated by Barcelona in the Last 16 of the VELUX EHF Champions League. They signed experienced Croat Petar Metličić as cover, but Kavtičnik is not supposed to return in 2013.
Montpellier lost goalkeeper Štochl (Medvedi), Bojinović and Honrubia (both Paris), and signed Erlend Mamelund (Haslum) and Christian Malmagro (Kobenhavn).
As preparation for the new season, Montpellier took part in the IHF Super Globe with six players and coach Canayer strengthening the squad of hosts AL-Sadd (Doha, Qatar). And on top of that the squad will have many more training sessions in the newly-built fitness centre.
"We are in a very difficult Group Phase. Furthermore, we will have to compete against the winner of the Wild Card Tournament in our group which is in general a very strong team. We were not fortunate in the draw, but the aim is to be the best-placed team after the Group Phase," the club manager Remy Levy said.
Three questions to coach Patrice Canayer:
ehfCL.com: What are your expectations for the upcoming season of the VELUX EHF Champions League?
Patrice Canayer: We hope to be among the top eight teams in the VELUX EHF Champions League and to reach the VELUX EHF FINAL4.
ehfCL.com: What does the participation in the VELUX EHF Champions League mean to you and your club?
Patrice Canayer: Our participation means two things: The possibility for us to play at the top European level, and the increased media coverage that brings. We hope to take advantage of the profile that gives us. And another important point is the important economic impact for the sustainability of the club.
ehfCL.com: What teams are your personal favourites to reach the VELUX EHF FINAL4 and for winning the title this season – and why?
Patrice Canayer: Three teams are my favourites to reach the VELUX EHF FINAL4: THW Kiel, MKB Veszprem and FC Barcelona Intersport, but MAHB team are a real challenger too. For the title, two teams are big contenders: THW Kiel and FC Barcelona, because these two teams have massive experience in this competition.
Montpellier Agglomeration HB (FRA)
Qualification for the 2012/2013 VELUX EHF Champions League season: French Champion
Coach: Patrice Canayer, since 1994
Newcomers: Erlend Mamelund (Haslum/NOR), Petar Metličić (RK Celje/SLO), Cristian Malmagro (AG København/DEN), Maxime Arvon Berod, Mathieu Grebille (both MAHB youth programme)
Left the club (including new club): Richard Štochl (Chekhovskie Medvedi/RUS), Mladen Bojinović (Paris SG Handball/FRA), Rémi Salou (Tremblay/FRA), Samuel Honrubia (Paris SG Handball/FRA)
Season’s objective in national league and VELUX EHF Champions League: To win the French championship, to be among eight best teams in Europe and to reach the VELUX EHF FINAL4.
VELUX EHF Champions League records:
Participations (including 2012/2013 season): 15
Winner (1): 2002/2003
Semi-final (1): 2004/2005
Quarter-final (4): 2000/2001, 2005/2006, 2009/2010, 2010/2011
Last 16 (4): 1995/1996, 2003/2004, 2006/2007, 2011/2012
Main Round (2): 2007/2008, 2008/2009
Group Phase (2): 1998/1999, 1999/2000
French Champion: 1995,1998, 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012
French Cup winner: 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012
Find more information on Montpellier HERE.
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TEXT: Björn Pazen