EHF Cup countdown, part 6: Fraikin BM Granollers (ESP)
Back on the big stage
Granollers is a big name in the history of Spanish, and international, handball.
The club, based close to Barcelona, is the only former EHF Cup winner among the 16 teams that have reached this season’s group phase, with the Catalans lifting the trophy in 1995 and 1996, in the competition’s previous format.
In 2011, Granollers were knocked out of the EHF Cup in the Last 16, but now – after a long absence – they are back in the big time, and have high hopes for this campaign.
Under new coach Carlos Viver Arza, who previously led the club’s women’s team, Granollers eliminated Sporting in qualification on the away goals rule.
The main goal for the club this term is to build on this qualification by securing a spot in next year’s competition through their Liga ASOBAL ranking, and to go all the way to the EHF Cup Finals, in their 21st run on the European stage.
But their Group B opponents will not make life easy for them. St. Petersburg (RUS) and Constanta (ROU) both have VELUX EHF Champions League experience while Holstebro (DEN) recently reached the EHF Cup Finals themselves.
And Granollers’ cause is not helped by the departure of the key South American duo of Argentine goalkeeper Matias Schulz, who left for Nantes, and Chilean Rodrigo Salinas, now with Steaua Bucuresti.
Three questions for coach Carlos Viver Arza:
eurohandball.com: What are your expectations for the EHF Cup Group Phase - regarding your objectives and your group opponents?
Carlos Viver Arza: “Basically we expect to try and get to the next round, but it’s a difficult and very competitive group.”
eurohandball.com: What does participation in the EHF Group Phase mean to you and your club?
Carlos Viver Arza: “It was one of the objectives for the club at the beginning of the season and also I expect to enjoy my first season as a coach of Granollers, and to reach the EHF Cup Finals.”
eurohandball.com: Which teams are your personal favourites to reach the EHF Cup Finals?
Carlos Viver Arza: “Berlin, Hamburg, Skjern – and I hope that our team will be there.”
Fraikin BM Granollers (ESP)
The road to the Group Phase:
Round 3: Granollers vs Sporting Clube de Portugal 25:27, 25:23
Newcomers: Adrià Figueras (FC Barcelona B), Dimitrije Pejanovic (Qatar), Jose Guilherme De Toledo (Aceu Univali Brasil), Guilherme Valadao (Bm. Guadalajara)
Left the club: Matias Schultz (Nantes), Albert Pujol (Benfica), Rodrigo Salinas (Steaua Bucarest), Raul Campos (end of career)
Coach: Carlos Viver Arza (since 2014)
EHF European Cup competitions records:
VELUX EHF Champions League:
Cup Winners’ Cup
Spanish champions: N/A
TEXT: Björn Pazen / jh
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