EHF Cup countdown, part 10: Balatonfüredi KSE (HUN)
Stepping out of Veszprem's shadow
Pick Szeged became Hungary’s first winners of the EHF Cup last season, but having moved on to take part in the VELUX EHF Champions League, it is up to Balatonfüredi KSE to fly the flag this time around.
Balatonfüredi KSE have developed a reputation as something of a farm club for VELUX EHF FINAL4 participants Veszprem, developing players on their way to the top.
But it is two players who have moved in the opposite direction who form the basis of Istvan Csoknyai’s current squad with ex-Veszprem men Tamas Ivancsik and Uros Vilovski, key to the Balatonfüredi KSE’s plans.
Under the guidance of new president Janos Erpel, the club achieved their greatest success in Europe, reaching the EHF Cup Group Phase aftereliminated Astrakhan (Russia) and Hard (Austria) during their qualification campaign.
Csoknyai’s men will compete with two other newcomers to the competition in Group D facing up against Nexe (CRO) and Melsungen (GER) as well as the more experienced Guif (SWE).
Winger Boka Bendeguz is the club’s chief injury concern heading into the group phase, but playing their home games at the famous Veszprem Arena could give the Hungarian side a boost.
Csoknyai is delighted to have made it this far, but hopes to extend the club’s maiden voyage for a while yet.
He said: “I am satisfied with our group, looking at the other groups I must say we were lucky and have a chance to play some great games with excellent teams.
“Our aim for this year was to gain international experience but this does not mean that we will not fight for qualification.”
Three questions for coach Istvan Csoknyai:
eurohandball.com: What are your expectations for the EHF Cup Group Phase - regarding your objectives and your group opponents?
Istvan Csoknyai: “It seems to be a balanced group, except that Melsungen is supposed to be the top team. The other three teams have approximately the same quality. So we expect a tough battle for second place in the group.”
eurohandball.com: What does participation in the EHF Group Phase mean to you and your club?
Istvan Csoknyai: “It is the greatest success for the Balatonfüred team to reach the group phase, every match is a great opportunity for young players to show their skills in Europe.”
eurohandball.com: Which teams are your personal favourites to reach the EHF Cup Finals?
Istvan Csoknyai: “My favourites to win are HSV Hamburg, Füchse Berlin, MT Melsungen and Skjern Handbold.”
Balatonfüredi KSE (HUN)
The road to the Group Phase:
Qualifying Round 2: Balatonfüredi vs Astrakhan 21:23, 25:20
Qualifying Round 3: Balatonfüredi vs Alpla Hard 26:31, 26:18
Newcomers: Tamás Iváncsik, Uros Vilovski, Ádám Borbély, Patrik Ligetvári (all MKB-MVM Veszprém), Péter Kovacsics (Csurgó), Máté Gábori (Váci KSE)
Left the club: István Pásztor, Csaba Tombor, György Kovács (Veszprém Egyetem)
Coach: István Csoknyai (since 2014)
EHF European Cup competitions records:
Cup Winners’ Cup
Hungarian champions: N/A
TEXT: Björn Pazen / jh
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