EHF Cup countdown, part 6: Beşiktaş JK (TUR)
After winning the Turkish league and cup double four times in a row since 2009, Beşiktaş have reached the Group Phase of the EHF Cup and aim to go even further.
In the EHF Cup third round, the Turkish champions caused a huge upset in the second leg. After losing the first leg against Norwegian champions Haslum HK 20:31, the chances of progressing appeared to be slim to none, but on their home court, coach Mufit Arin and his team, played one of their best international matches ever, winning 37:25 and securing a place in the Group Phase.
Arin is already a legend at Beşiktaş, with 18 domestic titles won under his leadership since 2004, and the current successful run in the EHF Cup is even more impressive considering the departure of long-term team captain Utku Erguder at the end of last season, when he ended his fantastic career after eight years and 17 trophies with the club.
But despite this loss, the squad is perfectly rehearsed as the majority have played together for the last eight years, and hopes for more international upsets are high in Istanbul, in particular at home where the club is especially strong, as manager Berk Karahan mentions:
“We haven’t lost any game in Istanbul in the last five years of European Cup competitions. Now we want to win all home games in the Group Phase of the EHF Cup.”
Karahan adds: “It is not an advantage to be in the same group with Nantes, as they will do their best to qualify for the Final Tournament at home. Magdeburg will be very strong as well.
“Our club has won 18 domestic trophies in the last eight years and we long for European success. I am sure the spectators will be our eighth player in every home match.”
Team captain Ibrahim Demir counts on the team spirit and their experience to make the dream of victory come true: “We have played together for years. This is going to be a great advantage for us. We will try to do our best and I really trust my teammates, as they are good players.”
Three questions to coach Mufit Arin:
What are your expectations for the Group Phase of the EHF Cup - concerning your objectives and your group opponents?
Mufit Arin: As we made it among the best 16 teams, it proves how good we are. We played amazing matches in the previous rounds, we will practice to do better and we will try to show what experience we gained. We have respect for all other teams but this does not mean that we will surrender. I think the Germans are favourites in our group.
What does the participation in the Group Phase of the EHF Cup mean to you and your club?
Mufit Arin: We’re playing with the same team for the last eight years. New players are coming and our family is growing. I think we have a good team. We gained a lot of experience, positive and negative, in our international matches. But this year is important for us, and also for me. We will do our best in the Group Phase.
What teams are your personal favourites to reach the final tournament of the EHF Cup?
Mufit Arin: I think that at least one German team will be in the final tournament, and of course Nantes will have extra motivation.
Beşiktaş JK (TUR) - Group D
The road to the Group Stage:
VELUX EHF Champions League qualification: 22:30, 24:31 against HC Dinamo Minsk
Round 2: 37:29, 33:40 against Odorheiu Secuiesc
Round 3: 20:31, 37:25 against Haslum HK
Coach: Mufit Arin (since 2004)
Left the club: Utku Erguder (end of career), Ümit Kirkayak (Yeditepe SK)
Biggest successes in EHF European Cup competitions:
VELUX EHF Champions League: Six appearances – qualification 2005/06, 2007/08, 2009/10, 2010/11, 2011/12, 2012/13
EHF Cup: 11 appearances – Last 16 1998/99, 2005/06, 2010/11, Last 32 1997/98, 1996/97, 1993/94, Round 3 2011/12, 2007/08, 2000/01, Round 2 2009/10, 2003/04
EHF Cup Winners’ Cup: Three appearances – Last 32 1999/00, Round 3 2001/02, 2006/07
EHF Challenge Cup: Two appearances – semi-finalists 2008/09, quarter-finalists 2002/03
Turkish league: Winners 2004/05, 2006/07, 2008/09, 2009/10, 2010/11, 2011/12
Turkish Cup: Winners 1998/99, 2000/01, 2004/05, 2005/06, 2008/09, 2009/10, 2010/11, 2011/12
Born on 1 September 1962
Success as coach with Beşiktaş JK; six time Turkish champion, six time Turkish cup winner, six time Turkish Super Cup winner, EHF Challenge Cup semi-finalist 2008/09
Playing achievements: Turkish champion with Arcelik HK in 1983
Born on 10 July 1981
Former clubs: Çankaya Belediyesi, moved to Beşiktaş JK in 2006
Top scorer of the EHF Challenge Cup in 2005/06 with 66 goals in 7 games, top scorer of the Turkish league 2005/06, 2006/07 and 2009/10, awarded the best right back in the Turkish league three times, 153 international matches played for Turkey.
Born on 24 April 1984
Former Clubs: İzmir BŞB SK, moved to Beşiktaş JK in 2010
Awarded best pivot of the Turkish league three times
62 international matches for Turkey
Find more information on Beşiktaş JK here
The schedule of the Men´s EHF Cup Group Phase can be found here
TEXT: Björn Pazen / cor