Handball Esch set for historic encounter
Handball Esch, the Luxembourgish Cup winner, qualified for the quarter-finals of the EHF Challenge Cup by defeating RK Spartak Vojput. By doing so, Esch wrote sport history since no Luxembourgish team has ever made it that far in a European competition.
On 17 February, Esch won their home game 34:26. At the away game in Subotica, they lost by seven goals, which was good enough to qualify for the next round.
Both matches were very hard for the Luxembourgish team, especially the game in Subotica where Spatrak Vojput lead during the whole game and Esch had to reduce a 10 goal advantage that their opponents had in the first half.
After their qualification, about 100 fans welcomed Handball Esch at Luxembourg Airport. A delegation from the community of Esch and the Luxembourgish Handball Federation joined the fans to celebrate the victory.
Next up for Esch is a Benelux derby against Initia Hasselt, who scraped through to the quarter-finals on away goals after drawing 50:50 on aggregate against Polish side KS Azoty-Pulawy.
Handball Esch have been very successful over the past years. They won several titles in Luxembourg and have played well in the Benelux League, as well as in European competitions.
The team from Esch consists of mainly Luxembourgish players.
Belgian international Wouter Sas and French goalkeeper Sedin Zuzo are the only foreign playing for the Luxembourgish cup winner.
On top of that, Esch can count on many Luxembourgish internationals like, Christian Bock, Jeff Decker, Max Kohl, Andy Mauruschatt, Martin Muller, and Sacha Pulli.
The first leg on Sunday, 17 March is very much an all-Benelux affair, with the referees coming from the Netherlands.
Esch will hope that they can stay in the tie and give themselves a chance in the second leg at home, where they expect that the support they received when coming home after the last round will be replicated for the historic encounter.
TEXT: Jil Welter / cor