EHF Cup club countdown, part 7: Frisch Auf Göppingen (GER)
Residing between tradition and future hopes
They were the last winners of the old version of the EHF Cup, they were participants in the first ever EHF Cup Finals and they are one of the most traditional handball clubs in Germany: Frisch Auf Göppingen, home club of Bernhard Kempa (95), inventor of the Kempa trick (in-flight goal).
After winning the EHF Cup in 2011 and 2012 and making it to Nantes, where they finished fourth ranked at the premiere of the EHF Cup Finals in 2013, Göppingen had missed out on the qualification for international competition for two years.
Now they are back – and even had bid to host the final tournament. But the EHF awarded Nantes with the hosting right - one of Göppingen’s opponents in Group B besides Holstebro and OCI Lions.
Before the season, two players returned to where they had played before: 2007 World Champion Lars Kaufmann arrives from 2014 VELUX EHF Champions League winner SG Flensburg-Handewitt and goalkeeper Bastian Rutschmann from German runners-up Rhein-Neckar Löwen.
In addition - and thanks to the in-depth knowledge of Scandinavian handball of their coach Magnus Andersson -Göppingen signed Swedes (Niclas Barud, Andreas Berg) and a Norwegian (Thomas Kristensen).
In January, former German international Adrian Pfahl (from bankrupt HSV Hamburg) and Hungarian goalkeeper Peter Tatai (from Baia Mare) arrived at Göppingen.
Stars of the eleven-time German champions (between 1954 and 1972) are playmaker Michael Kraus (2007 World Champion), Serbian international Zarko Sesum and Slovenian goalkeeper Primoz Prost, who had missed the EURO in Poland due to an injury.
After Frisch Auf were the first to qualify for the group phase by two clear wins over Polish side Gornik Zabrze (39:29 and 38:29), they will also be the first to start the next stage of the competition - in their home match against Holstebro on 10 February.
Three questions to coach Magnus Andersson:
What are your expectations for the group phase of the EHF Cup - regarding your objectives and your group opponents?
What does the participation in the group phase of the EHF Cup mean to you and your club?
What teams are your personal favourites to reach the EHF Cup Finals?
Newcomers: Andreas Berg (Önnereds HK), Niclas Barud (Aalborg HB), Lars Kaufmann (SG Flensburg-Handewitt), Marco Rentschler (SG BBM Bietigheim), Bastian Rutschmann (Rhein-Neckar Löwen), Thomas Kristensen (Ademar Leon), Adrian Pfahl (HSV Hamburg), Peter Tatai (HCM Baia Mare)
VELUX EHF Champions League records:
Winner 2011/12, 2010/11
EHF Cup Finals: 2012/13 (fourth ranked)
TEXT: Björn Pazen / bc
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