VELUX EHF Champions League countdown, part 21: MKB Veszprém (HUN)
Never ending Spanish fate
FC Barcelona Intersport are not only defending champions in the VELUX EHF Champions League, the Catalans are also the bogey team of MKB Veszprém.
The Hungarians traditionally belong to the strongest teams in the VELUX EHF Champions League and are always contenders for the VELUX EHF FINAL4 in Cologne.
To lose against Barcelona
But the last two years they had to face the record winners of the competition twice and failed.
In season 2009/2010 they lost to Barcelona in the quarter-finals.
Last season both teams met in the Last 16, after Veszprém had played an outstanding Group Phase with victories over Hamburg and Montpellier.
But on the last Group Phase match day they lost in France, had to give the top position out of their hands – and were later "punished" at the draw when this led to the duel with Barcelona.
Strong Group B
In the current season the 17 times participant of the EHF Champions League and 19 times Hungarian champions will not face Barcelona in the Group Stage, but again Veszprém competes in the most difficult of all groups with opponents like Madrid, Berlin, Chekhovskie or Kielce.
Quarter-finals seen as the goal
Despite this constellation club manager Czaba Hajnal is confident: "The VELUX EHF Champions League is the most important competition we participate in.
We are absolutely focused on reaching the quarter-finals as we belong to the eight best teams in this competition."
His team once reached the finals and twice participated in the semi-finals of the EHF Champions League.
Also player Gergö Ivanczik hopes for more success than in the last seasons: "It was very unlucky to be eliminated by Barcelona, but now we try again to reach at least the quarter-finals."
Substitute for legend Peric
Veszprém changed the goalkeeper, as their legendary long-term number one, Dejan Peric, returned to Slovenia.
By signing Croatian national team goalkeeper Mirko Alilovic they compensate the loss, forming a strong couple together with the Hungarian Nandor Fazekas.
Reinforcement from Lemgo
Another new top star is Ferenc Ilyes, who returned home after having played in Germany for Lemgo.
So coach Lajoc Mocsai, who is at the same time Hungarian national team coach, can count on a well-rehearsed team including international top class.
Vujin’s farewell season
But it will be the last season for the most effective shooter of the VELUX EHF Champions League season 2010/2011: Serbian right back Marco Vujin, who scored an average of more than eight goals per match last season, has already signed a contract at THW Kiel, valid from July 2012.
Veszprém are famous for their emotional and loud atmosphere in their arena – and of course all matches of the VELUX EHF Champions League will be sold out.
Three questions to coach Lajos Mocsai
ehfCL.com: What are your expectations for the upcoming season of the VELUX EHF Champions League – concerning your objectives and your group opponents?
Lajos Mocsai: We have to play in a highly strong and even group with top opponents.
Concerning those circumstances even qualifying for the knock-out stage could be seen as a good result.
ehfCL.com: What does the participation in the VELUX EHF Champions League mean to you and your club?
Lajos Mocsai: As we do not have enough difficult matches in the Hungarian league, it is highly important for us to compete in the VELUX EHF Champions League.
ehfCL.com: What teams are your personal favourites to reach the VELUX EHF FINAL4 and for winning the title this season – and why?
Lajos Mocsai: We are convinced that Barcelona, Kiel and Hamburg are the main contenders to reach the VELUX EHF FINAL4.
Club facts – MKB Veszprém KC (HUN)
Newcomers: Ferenc Ilyes (TBV Lemgo/GER), Timuszin Schuch (HCM Constanta/ROU), Mirko Allilovic (RK Celje/SLO), Vedran Hud (RK Jeruzalem Ormoz/SLO)
Left the club: Dejan Peric (Celje PL/SLO), Nikola Eklemovic (Wisla Plock/HUN), Evgenyi Lushnikov, Cornel Nagy (Dunkerque/FRA)
Coach: Lajos Mocsai, since 2007
Qualification for the 2011/2012 VELUX EHF Champions League season: Hungarian Champion
VELUX EHF Champions League records:
Other EC records:
Hungarian champion: 1984/85, 1985/86, 1991/92, 1992/93, 1993/94, 1994/95, 1996/97, 1997/98, 1998/99, 2000/01, 2001/02, 2002/03, 2003/04, 2004/05, 2005/06, 2007/08, 2008/09, 2009/10, 2010/11
Hungarian Cup winner: 1983/84, 1987/88, 1988/89, 1989/90, 1990/91, 1991/92, 1993/94, 1994/95, 1995/96, 1997/98, 1998/99, 1999/00, 2001/02, 2002/03, 2003/04, 2004/05, 2006/07, 2008/09, 2009/2010, 2010/11
Find more information on MKB Veszprém KC HERE.
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TEXT: Björn Pazen
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