30.04.2013, 12:00
Men's Challenge Cup to be handed over in Esch

The draw at the EHF Office in Vienna defined the home right in the Men's Challenge Cup Final between Handball Esch and SKA Minsk

Men's Challenge Cup to be handed over in Esch

The final match of this season in the Men's Challenge Cup will be played on 25/26 May in Esch, Luxembourg, as the draw at the EHF Office in Vienna on Tuesday defined the home right for the two final legs between SKA Minsk and Handball Esch.

The first leg will take place one week earlier (18/19 May) in Minsk.

While Handball Esch are writing history not only of their club, but also for Luxembourgish sport as the nation's first team ever in the final of any European Cup competition, SKA Minsk could add the sixth major trophy to their cabinet.

The club from the Belarusian capital won three times the European Champions Cup (predecessor to the EHF Champions League) in 1987, 1989 and 1990 and also twice the Cup Winners' Cup (1983 and 1988).

"We would have preferred to play the second leg at home what would have given us an option to move the match into the arena for 15,000 people. However, we were not lucky enough," manager of SKA, Oleg Lebedev, said to eurohandball.com.

"Despite this fact I still think we are the favourites to win the trophy. If we win by at least five goals at home, I would be satisfied, but we have to be aware that Esch are a good team, too, as no weak side could make it that far.

"Our coach, Spartak Mironovich, who is at the helm of our team since 1976 will celebrate his 75th birthday this year and a trophy could be a nice present for him," Lebedev added.

The run to the final of Esch boosts the interest for handball in the grand duchy remarkably.

"It is huge in Luxembourg as we are the first team to reach this stage of a European Cup competition and people in Luxembourg have taken huge interest in us and our sport, it is a dream for us," President of the club, Marc Fancelli, revealed to eurohandball.com after the draw.

"We managed to get some good results in Europe over the last few years and this is a continuation of that good work with the same group of players.

"Having the second leg at home will be an advantage for us, there was a fantastic atmosphere at the home games in the quarter and semi-finals and the fans helped us to qualify.

"If we can keep the score close in Minsk, then we will have a lot of fans pushing us to cause an upset," Fancelli added.

TEXT: EHF / br

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