EHF Cup Group Phase countdown, part 2: Chambery Savoie Handball (FRA)
Three brothers in the Alps
After being part of the VELUX EHF Champions League in the past five consecutive seasons, Chambery Savoie Handball now face new international challenges in their first appearance in the EHF Cup since 2007.
Finishing fourth in the French league they secured the ticket in the EHF Cup. In the Qualification Round 2 they eliminated Turkey's Ankara and in the last knockout round they sailed past Austrian champions Alpla Hard to the top 16 of the competition besides two other French teams Nantes and Montpellier.
Despite strong opponents like EHF Cup Finals hosts Füchse Berlin, Romanian champions HCM Constanta and group stage debutants Hlohovec from Slovakia, the hopes in the French Alps are high that the Group Phase is not the final stage for the team including three Gille brothers (Bertrande, Guillaume and Benjamin).
It is the clear objective of the club management to at least win one trophy this season – regardless if it is on domestic or on international court.
Manager Laurent Munier mainly focuses on their home matches in terms of proceeding to the quarter-finals.
“The favourite of this competition, Berlin, is in our group and there is Constanta, a young team, but with a rich experience in European Cup competitions. Our goal is to win all our home games and to try to win in Slovakia and in Romania to be sure to finish second and in overall to be one of the best two second ranked teams to proceed to the quarter-finals,” Munier says.
Before this season, some well-known names like Bosnian goalkeeper Nebojsa Grahovac or Czech Karel Nocar left Chambery, additionally one of their best shooters, Edin Basic, is out until April due to injury.
Three questions to coach Mario Cavalli:
What are your expectations for the Group Phase of the EHF Cup - concerning your objectives and your group opponents?
Mario Cavalli: Our objective is to qualify for the quarter-final. There is one clearly favoured team in our group, Berlin, but below them everything is possible for us.
What does the participation in the Group Phase of the EHF Cup mean to you and your club?
Mario Cavalli: It is the result and the outcome of our work done in the previous seasons. It is clearly the objective for a player or a coach to be part of a European Cup competition. I have a lot of respect to this.
What teams are your personal favourites to reach the final tournament of the EHF Cup?
Chambery Savoie Handball (FRA)
The road to the Group Phase:
Newcomers: Remi Feutrier, Maxime Diot, Mathieu Merceron
Left the club: Laurent Busselier, Nebojsa Grahovac, Thomas Capella, Yannick Palma, Karel Nocar
Coach: Mario Cavalli (since 2012)
Biggest successes in EHF European club competitions:
French champions: 2001 (runners-up: 1998, 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012)
TEXT: Björn Pazen / br
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