EHF Cup countdown, part 11: Füchse Berlin (GER)
Fond farewell for coach and captain?
Füchse Berlin are aiming to continue their impressive recent record in European competition having squeezed through to the EHF Cup Group Phase.
The German cup winners made it all the way to the VELUX EHF FINAL4 in their maiden Champions League campaign back in 2012 before reaching the EHF Cup Finals in the German capital last season.
Berlin lost to eventual winners Pick Szeged (HUN), but will hope to go one better this term with the final tournament returning to the Max-Schmeling Halle.
They almost did not make it this far, however. Dagur Sigurdsson’s men required the away goals rule to come through their qualification tie with HBC Nantes.
Füchse's desire to take the title is heightened by the fact that captain Iker Romero and coach Sigurdsson will leave the club at the end of the campaign.
Romero is set to retire in June while Sigurdsson will focus on his work as German national team coach with his successor, Erlingur Richardsson, already identified.
Sigurdsson can once again call on a talented squad, but has had to adapt following injury problems, leading to the signing of Serbian star Petar Nenadic ahead of entering Group C, where they will face Porto (POR), Vojvodina (SRB) and Skjern (DEN).
Bob Hanning, Managing Director of Füchse Berlin, is looking forward to the return of the EHF Cup Finals to Berlin: ”We are extremely proud that the EHF has placed its trust in us once again and are looking forward to offering the handball world another great event.
"We are of course hoping to fare better on court this year, though we first have to concentrate on the group phase. It is a tough group with good teams.
"But being part of this competition is again a good opportunity to promote Füchse and the whole of German handball,” said Hanning
For Spaniard Romero it would be a dream come true to finish his career at the EHF Cup Finals.
“We have strong opponents,” he said.
“But we were in the EHF Cup Finals last year and we want to reach this stage again. We live for our dream of a European title.”
Three questions for coach Dagur Sigurdsson:
eurohandball.com: What are your expectations for the EHF Cup Group Phase - regarding your objectives and your group opponents?
Dagur Sigurdsson: “First we are in a very strong group. Our aim will be to progress, but we expect the opponents to be very strong. Hopefully we will have good matches.”
eurohandball.com: What does participation in the EHF Group Phase mean to you and your club?
Dagur Sigurdsson: “As we finished in the third place last season, we would like to go even further. To do so we need to be in a good form in February and March.”
eurohandball.com: Which teams are your personal favourites to reach the EHF Cup Finals?
Dagur Sigurdsson: “This is difficult to say. We know that the German clubs are all quite strong and will have good a chance.”
Füchse Berlin (GER)
The road to the group stage:
Qualifying Round 3: Berlin vs HBC Nantes 23:18, 23:28
Newcomers: Willy Weyhrauch, Angelo Grunz (all from Füchse Youth Academy), Petar Nenadic (Wisla Plock)
Left the club: Sven-Sören Christophersen (TSV Hannover-Burgdorf), Markus Richwien (Kadetten Schaffhausen), Jonas Thümmler (HC Erlangen)
Dagur Sigurdsson (since 2009)
EHF European Cup competitions records:
German champions: N/A
TEXT: Björn Pazen / jh
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