EHF Cup countdown, number 8: RK Cimos Koper (SLO)
They were one of the biggest surprises in last season’s VELUX EHF Champions League. After becoming Slovenian champions for the first time, Cimos Koper marched through to the quarter-final and were close to beating Atlético Madrid BM.
The previous year, Cimos won their first ever European Cup title as they beat S.L. Benfica in the final of the EHF Challenge Cup.
They were part of the wild card tournament in the VELUX EHF Champions League season 2012/13, but missed out on qualification for the Group Phase after losing 28:23 to Saint-Raphaël Var Handball in the semi-final.
But thanks to victories against Volendam and Porto, the Slovenian club made it to the Group Phase of the EHF Cup, though top players like Bojan Skoko or Sebastjan Skube have left the club, weakening the squad somewhat.
For club manager Aleš Koršič, the newly formed EHF Cup is an ideal competition for the Adriatic team.
“It is more competitive, attractive and on a higher level than in the previous years. We want to produce good matches, a fantastic atmosphere in Koper and results like in last seasons in European Cup competitions,” said Koršič.
Team captain Uroš Rapotec hopes to get very far in the EHF Cup, but understands that it will not be simple in the tough group.
“We compete in a very tough group with quality teams from top handball nations. We will give our best in every game and try to go as far as possible,” said Rapotec.
Three questions to coach Fredi Radojkovič:
What are your expectations for the Group Phase of the EHF Cup, concerning your objectives and your group opponents?
Fredi Radojkovič: We play in a group with high quality teams, which will bring the highest level of handball, comparable with the level of the VELUX EHF Champions League. Every match will be difficult, but our goals are always high.
What does the participation in the Group Phase of the EHF Cup mean to you and your club?
Fredi Radojkovič: It is interesting to be part of this newly formed European competition. This also means we keep close to highest level of club competition.
What teams are your personal favourites to reach the EHF Cup Finals?
Fredi Radojkovič: Rhein Neckar Löwen, Frisch Auf Goppingen, Orlen Wisla Plock, Cimos Koper
RK Cimos Koper (SLO) – Group A
The road to the Group Phase:
VELUX EHF Champions League wild card qualification: 28:23 against Saint-Raphaël Var Handball
Round 2: 32:31, 27:25 against HV Kras Volendam
Round 3: 29:23, 22:27 against FC Porto Vitalis
Coach: Fredi Radojkovič, since 2009
Newcomers: Nikola Manojlović (Gorenje Velenje/SLO), Gašper Hrastnik (Ormož/SLO), Novak Bošković (Maccabi Tel Aviv/ISR), Nejc Poklar (Celje Pivovarna Laško/SLO), Filip Gavranović (Poreč/CRO)
Left the club: Matjaž Mlakar (Branik Maribor/SLO), Matevž Čemas (Ribnica/SLO), Bojan Skoko (Croatia Osiguranje Zagreb/CRO), Sebastjan Skube (Celje Pivovarna Laško/SLO), Nikola Džono
Biggest successes in EHF European Cup competitions:
VELUX EHF Champions League: 3 appearances – quarterfinalists 2011/12, Group Matches 2008/09, wildcard qualification 2012/13
EHF Cup: 3 appearences – semi-finalists 2007/08, Round 3 2004/05, 2005/06
EHF Cup Winners’ Cup: 1 appearance - Round 4 2009/10
EHF Challenge Cup: 1 appearance - winners 2010/11
Slovenian league: winners 2011
Slovenian Cup: winners 2008, 2009, 2011
Born on 20 July 1966
Former clubs as a coach: Izola (SLO), Trieste (ITA)
Biggest successes: Slovenian league champion, Slovenian cup winner and EHF Challenge Cup winner in 2011, quarter-finalist in the 2011/12 VELUX EHF Champions League.
Born on 23 December 1982,
Former clubs: Mobitel Prule, Celje Pivovarna Laško,
Biggest successes: More than 140 matches for Slovenian national team, with more than 380 goals
EHF Champions League Winner 2004 with Celje
EHF Challenge Cup Winner 2011 with Koper
Slovenian Champion: 2002, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2011, Slovenian Cup Winner: 2008, 2009, 2011
The right winger has scored 22 goals so far in the EHF Cup this season.
Born on 11 July 1977
Former clubs: Gorenje Velenje, Celje Pivovarna Laško, RK Zagreb
The Goalkeeper has played 140 matches for Slovenian national team and won a silver medal at the EHF EURO 2004.
At club level, Škof won the EHF Champions Trophy in 2007 and has won multiple Slovenian league and cup titles.
Find more information on RK Cimos Koper here
The schedule of the Men´s EHF Cup Group Phase can be found here
TEXT: Björn Pazen / cor