EHF Cup countdown, part 10: SC Magdeburg (GER)
None of the 16 participants in the Group Phase of the newly formed EHF Cup have been more successful in EHF European Cup competitions than German side SC Magdeburg.
They are the only former winner of the EHF Champions League among the 16 teams in the Group Phase, additionally they won the EHF Cup three times.
Although Magdeburg have only won the German Bundesliga once since the country’s re-unification, they have a long tradition of success, and have undergone a major transition in recent years.
Last season, Magdeburg missed out on the EHF Cup final, after a one goal aggregate loss to Dunkerque HB Grand Littoral in the semi-final.
This season’s goals include qualification for the EHF Cup again, which requires a fifth or sixth place finish in the German Bundesliga, and reaching the EHF Cup Finals in Nantes.
Manager Steffen Stiebler, 2002 EHF Champions League winner as a player, is happy about the draw and the prospect of their away matches.
“We like to face Istanbul, Bacau, and Nantes, it is a challenge for us to play in those countries.”
Team captain and Polish international, Bartosz Jurecki, has his eyes set on a place in Nantes.
“We hope that we can reach the quarter-final, but this is only the next step towards our main goal, to reach the Finals in Nantes.”
However, reaching the Group Phase itself was a real high hurdle to clear for Magdeburg, as their third round tie against Vardar Skodje of FYR Macedonia was decided by a single goal over two legs.
SCM won 30:27 at home, but had to fight to hold on to their lead in the second leg in the Macedonian capital as they lost 26:28.
Three questions to coach Frank Carstens:
What are your expectations for the Group Phase of the EHF Cup - concerning your objectives and your group opponents?
Frank Carstens: We want to qualify for the quarter-final, so we have to solve our challenges in the Group Phase. But we have a chance to achieve this target.
What does the participation in the Group Phase of the EHF Cup mean to you and your club?
Frank Carstens: It is the first time a Group Phase will be played in the EHF Cup. It is a big challenge to play six additional matches in February and March, so we will see what happens.
Which teams are your personal favourites to reach the EHF Cup Finals?
Frank Carstens: Rhein Neckar Löwen, KIF Kolding, HBC Nantes as the host of the final tournament, and Frisch Auf Göppingen as the defending champions.
SC Magdeburg (GER) – Group D
The road to the Group Phase:
Round 3: 30:27, 26:28 against HC Vardar Pro Skopje
Coach: Frank Carstens (since 2010, also assistant coach of German national team)
Newcomers: Stefan Kneer (TV Großwallstadt), Moritz Schäpsmeier (TV Großwallstadt)
Left the club: Damir Doborac (RK Gradačac)
Biggest successes in EHF European Cup competitions:
VELUX EHF Champions League: 4 appearances – winners 2001/02, semi-finalists 2003/04, quarter-finalists 2002/03, Last 16 2005/06
EHF Cup: 6 appearances – winners 1998/99, 2000/01, 2006/07, finalists 2004/05, semi-finalists 2011/12, Last 16 2008/09
EHF Cup Winners’ Cup: 2 appearances – winners 2001/02, quarter-finalists 2007/08
EHF Champions Trophy: winners 1998/99, 2004/05, 2006/07
German Bundesliga: winners 2000/01
German Cup: winners 1995/06
Born on 26 September 1971
As a player Carstens played for German first league club GWD Minden, before he became coach in 2006. After he coached Aurich he became head coach of first league team Hannover-Burgdorf, then he arrived in Magdeburg in 2010. In September 2011 he also became assistant coach of the German national team.
Born on 31 January 1979
The line player, who has been a part of the Polish squad for a number of years and is the SCM captain, moved to Magdeburg in 2006. His biggest success on club level was winning the EHF Cup in 2007. International success includes winning a silver medal at the 2007 World Championship and a bronze at the 2009 World Championship.
Born on 19 December 1985
The German international started his career in Eisenach, before transferring to German Bundesliga clubs Balingen and later-on Großwallstadt. Before the start of the 2012/13 season the left back went to SC Magdeburg. Kneer was part of the German squad at the 2013 World Championship in Spain.
Find more information on SC Magdeburg here
The schedule of the Men´s EHF Cup Group Phase can be found here
TEXT: Björn Pazen / cor