FEATURE: Romanian international hungry to take home the EHF Cup trophy as the perfect end to his first season away from home
Epic journey sees Simicu back in Berlin
This season has been a remarkable journey for Alexandru Simicu. Touted for big things after winning the Romanian player of the year award in 2013, Simicu left HCM Constanta for his maiden experience outside his country in 2014.
With three consecutive doubles – the Romanian championship and cup – won with Constanta, Simicu transferred to one of Germany’s powerhouses, HSV Hamburg.
“I thought it would be very hard, because I had never played outside Romania,” said Simicu.
But the Romanian giant, who stands at 202cm, adjusted beautifully. He scored 87 goals in the German Bundesliga to be Hamburg’s third top scorer and help his team reach the Men’s EHF Cup Finals in Berlin.
“I got to Hamburg with only two weeks before the start of the season and I needed some time to gel, but my teammates helped me a lot and I settled quickly. Bundesliga is a difficult championship – every team is at its best,” continued the 25-year old left back.
“It’s an incredible feeling to be in a team with players I watched in the biggest tournaments. I learned a lot from them and, for me, it means I am exactly where I needed to be.”
Max-Schmeling-Halle, where the EHF Cup Finals between Hamburg, Rk Gorenje Velenje, Fuchse Berlin and Skjern Handbold will be played on 16/17 May, is familiar territory for Simicu. This will be his second consecutive appearance at the event.
Last year, the Romanian back was one of HCM Constanta’s stalwarts in Berlin, though they lost both their games: 36:32 in the semi-final against Montpellier Agglomeration HB, and 29:28 against Fuchse Berlin in the 3/4 Placement match.
This season, Simicu has bigger ambitions:
“Last year, with Constanta, we lost both our matches, but now I feel confident before the tournament.
“This season was a challenge, but we are winners and we came out on top. We had 10 matches a month and it was a tiring season. But we had our eyes set on the prize and nobody could have knocked us out.”
Simicu is hoping for his first ever title in a European competition – and the draw is to his liking. HSV Hamburg will meet Skjern Handbold in the semi-final.
“I am glad we did not draw Fuchse Berlin. I want an all-German final, with Hamburg crowned the winners.
“The trophy would mean so much to me and I am hungry to win it.”
TEXT: Adrian Costeiu / cg
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