EHF Cup countdown, part 3: RK Gorenje Velenje (SLO)
Experience vital to Velenje’s success
As finalists in the old format of the EHF Cup, two Slovenian championships in the past three seasons and two consecutive appearances at the Last 16 stage of of the VELUX EHF Champions League, Gorenje Velenje are without a doubt among the most experienced sides in the EHF Cup Group Phase.
Already in the qualification Ivan Vajdl’s team proved their strengths and ambitions, beating Russian side Permskie Medvedi twice in a clear way. In Group A Velenje will face Hamburg, Haslum and Winterthur.
The upcoming stage is only an intermediate part of their grand scheme to reach the EHF Cup Finals, as manager Tomaž Juršič says: “We are glad that we reached the group phase, but this is not our final goal. We are aiming much higher.
“We have an interesting group. In addition to us there are also our “old friends” Hamburg and Winterthur. The German team we know from the last year’s Champions League and the Swiss we met in a friendly match last year.
“It will be hard but I think we have the quality to proceed to the quarter-finals. That is our goal for now but much more will be known after the completion of this stage.”
Team captain Niko Medved goes one step further: “Our goal is to be part of the EHF Cup Finals. Hamburg is the strongest team in our group and if they play at 100% then I think the first place in the group is reserved for the German team. For the second place it’s hard to say. My opinion is that it’s going to be decided between Gorenje and Winterthur.”
Three questions to your coach Ivan Vajdl:
eurohandball.com: What are your expectations for the EHF Cup Group Phase - regarding your objectives and your group opponents?
Ivan Vajdl: In every match we will go for a win, no matter if the opponent is Hamburg or Haslum. Our goal is to get as far as we can and if we want to be participating in the EHF Cup Finals we have to get first or second from the group phase and then win every match.
eurohandball.com: What does participation in the EHF Group Phase mean to you and your club?
Ivan Vajdl: Participating in the group phase for my team means six strong games and for our fans it means three good matches in our arena.
eurohandball.com: Which teams are your personal favourites to reach the EHF Cup Finals?
Ivan Vajdl: I think the German and Danish teams but also other smaller teams have a chance to go all the way.
RK Gorenje Velenje (SLO)
Road to the group phase:
Newcomers: MichaŁ PaweŁ Szyba (Azotov), Miloš Božović (Valladolid), Klemen Ferlin (Trimo Trebnje),Blaž Kleč (Maribor), Aleksander Špende (Maribor)
Left the club: Darko Cingesar (Loka), Klemen Cehte (Aix), Emir Taletovič (Maribor), Nejc Brglez (Sevnica)
Coach: Ivan Vajdl (since 2012)
EHF European Cup competition records:
VELUX EHF Champions League:
Last 16: 2005/2006, 2009/2010, 2012/13, 2013/14
Slovenian champion: 2008/09, 2011/12, 2012/13 (runners-up: 2003/04, 2004/05, 2009/10, 2010/11, 2013/14)
Slovenian Cup winner: 2002/03
TEXT: Björn Pazen / cor
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