EHF Cup countdown, part 11: Montpellier Agglomeration (FRA)
Aiming for a new trophy
First they had missed the direct qualification for the VELUX EHF Champions League in the last second of the French championship 2012/13 against Dunkerque.
Then they were eliminated by Polish runners-up Wisla Plock in the wild card play-offs for the Champions League – so Montpellier MAHB will be part of a competition, which they had not been part of since 1997: the EHF Cup.
After an overall of 37 titles including the Champions League trophy in 2003 and 14 times winning the French league, Montpellier are now facing new challenges, but as usual the objective of the club is clear: Winning the competition!
By signing their old and new goalkeeper Thierry Omeyer, who led France to win the EHF EURO 2014 in Denmark, Montpellier made a huge coup, additionally they transferred two Slovenians (Dolenec and Gaber from Velenje) and an Argentine player (Simonet) to improve their quality and to raise their chances in domestic and international competitions.
Montpellier will face Skjern, Zomimak and Sporting in the Group Phase, and coach Patrice Canayer (leading the team since 1994) is expecting a top duel for the first position.
“There are two favourites, Montpellier and Skjern. It is our clear first objective to win the group, then to proceed to the EHF Cup Finals in Berlin and finally to win the trophy,” he says.
Newly crowned European champion and Montpellier team captain Michael Guigou shares those hopes.
“The objective is definitely to qualify for the quarter-finals and to finish on the first position of our group. This rank would be important to avoid a top team like Szeged in the quarter-finals. It will not be easy, but I am confident that we can continue the progress we made during this season,” Guigou says.
Three questions to coach Patrice Canayer:
What are your expectations for the EHF Cup Group Phase - concerning your objectives and your group opponents?
Patrice Canayer: We hope to enter the next stage of the competition, then we will see.
What does the participation in the EHF Cup Group Phase mean to you and your club?
Patrice Canayer: We look forward to this competition in particular to find this rhythm of two matches a week by alternating the EHF Cup and the French championship.
What teams are your personal favourites to reach the EHF Cup Finals?
Patrice Canayer: Skjern Handbold, Füchse Berlin, Montpellier Agglomération Handball, Pick Szeged
Montpellier Agglomeration (FRA)
The road to the Group Phase:
Round 3: Montpellier Agglomeration – HC Kaustik 38:26, 35:29
Newcomers: Thierry Omeyer (THW Kiel), Diego Simonet (US Ivry), Jure Dolenec (Gorenje Velenje), Matej Gaber (Gorenje Velenje)
Biggest successes in EHF European club competitions:
VELUX EHF Champions League
Cup Winners’ Cup:
TEXT: Björn Pazen / br
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