EHF Cup countdown, part 8: Reale Ademar Leon (ESP)
The youngest squad, the highest hopes
Ademar Leon is a well-known name in international competition, not only as the Spaniards have won the EHF Cup Winners’ Cup three times, but in April 2012 only one goal was missing against Füchse Berlin to make it to the VELUX EHF FINAL4 in Cologne. However, Ademar were then hit really hard by the financial crisis.
Leon have since overcome the crisis to an extent and are back on track with a new professional board– still having a great reputation to form talents into later-on world stars, mainly connected with the name Manoel Cadenas. The long-term Ademar coach now is in charge of the Spanish national team and just led them to the bronze medal at EHF EURO 2014 in Denmark. Additionally Cadenas is head coach of Polish VELUX EHF Champions League participant Wisla Plock.
His successor at Ademar is his former assistant coach Daniel Gordo Rios. His job and ambition are still to form stars from talents, as Leon have the youngest squad in the Spanish league. The job is anything but easy, as eight players left and twelve newcomers had to be integrated this season.
After being a perennial participant in the VELUX EHF Champions League (excluding the 2010/11 season, when they made it to the quarter-finals of the EHF Cup), Ademar are now competing in the Group Phase of the EHF Cup as the only Spanish team after beating Croatian side Nexe in qualification.
In the group phase the opponents are Hannover-Burgdorf, Lugi and Csurgo – so the goals are clearly set for proceeding to the quarter-finals despite the long-term injury of Victor Alonso, who has been sidelined since November.
Club manager José C. Ludena counts on the spirit of the team to help them progress: “The objectives are always the same for us, to fight until the end is our character.”
Argentine team captain and line player Gonzalo Carou hopes to make it all the way: “We want to enjoy this competition, but we also want to finish on top, even though we have a very young team.”
Three questions to coach Daniel Gordo Rios:
What are your expectations for the Group Phase of the EHF Cup - concerning your objectives and your group opponents?
Daniel Gordo Rios: We have the youngest squad in the Spanish league and we must learn from the competition, enjoy it and give our best. Our opponents in the Group Phase have greater potential and more experienced players – so it will become a tough competition.
What does the participation in the Group Phase of the EHF Cup mean to you and your club?
Daniel Gordo Rios: It means a big responsibility to maintain our tradition and additionally it is a great experience for me.
What teams are your personal favourites to reach the EHF Cup Finals?
Daniel Gordo Rios: Füchse Berlin, Montpellier, Nantes and Leon can make it to the EHF Cup Finals.
Reale Ademar Leon (ESP)
The road to the Group Phase:
Round 3: Reale Ademar Leon – RK Nexe 29:34, 33:28
Newcomers: Predag Vejin (Metaloplastika Sabac) Victor Alonso (BM. Valladolid), Leonardo Domenech (Sao Leonardo/BRA), Predaj Dacevic (Serbia), Sergio Mellado (BM Alcobendas), Iñigo Jorajuria, Rogelio Llamazares, Mario López, Ricardo Diez, Javier García, Rodrigo Pérez, Alberto Molina (from former club Ademar)
Left the club: Carlos Ruesga (Veszprem), Djorde Golubovic (BM. Gijon), Faruz Vrazalic (Eisenach) Vladimir Vranjes (Pick Szeged), Alvaro Cabanas (Vila de Aranda), Iñaki Malumbres (Skopje), Iosu Goñi (Aix a Provence), Raul Nantes (Tremblay)
Coach: Daniel Gordo Rios (since 2013, before assistant coach of former head coach Manoel Cadenas)
Biggest successes in EHF European Cup competitions:
VELUX EHF Champions League
Quarter-final: 1997/1998, 1999/2000, 2001/2002, 2011/2012
Last 16: 2003/2004, 2005/2006, 2009/2010, 2012/13
Main Round: 2007/2008, 2008/2009
EHF Cup Winners’ Cup
Winner: 1998/1999, 2004/2005
Final: 2000/2001, 2006/2007
Spanish champions: 2001, runners-up: 1997, 1998, 2000
Spanish cup winners: Asobal Cup 1998, 2008, Copa del Rey 2003
TEXT: Björn Pazen / cor
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