EHF Cup countdown, part 16: Ystads IF (SWE)
Ystad: a breeding ground for Swedish handball talent
The Mankell movies with police inspector Kurt Wallander and handball - those are two most noteworthy things to come from Ystad.
When looking at the former and the current Swedish national team a huge number of top stars had started their career in Ystad, like goalkeeper Mattias Andersson, Olympic Games top scorer Niklas Ekberg or three-time Champions League winner Kim Andersson, who has just returned to his home club prior to this season.
Ystad IF have been playing in Sweden’s highest handball division for 45 years and the club is something like a school for future stars. Now the club has pulled off their biggest international success so far by qualifying for the Men’s EHF Cup group phase.
Luxemburg, Russia and Hungary - Ystad did not exactly have “just-around-the-corner matches” en route to the group phase, but finally they made it as only one of two teams to come all the way from the first qualification round to the current stage.
One key is definitely former THW Kiel star Kim Andersson - one of five (!) players in the squad of coach Sebastian Seifert with the last name Andersson.
Another corner stone is one of the biggest handball talents in Europe at the moment: Lukas Nilsson (19), who currently is the top scorer of the Swedish league and top scorer for his team in the EHF Cup qualification.
Like Niklas Ekberg, Kim Andersson and Mattias Andersson before, he will join the ‘Zebras’ in Kiel after this season.
With the start of the group phase, a new era will begin in Ystad, as they have just moved to the new Ystad Arena, which was opened in January and has a seating capacity for 2000 fans. With the start of the EHF Cup Group Phase, another secret will be unveiled by the club, when the new mascot will be presented.
On court, it is the clear mission to proceed to the quarter-finals, with Chambery, CSM Bucuresti and Anaitasuna standing in their way.
What are your expectations for the EHF Cup Group Phase regarding your objectives and your group opponents?
What does the participation in the EHF Cup Group Phase mean to you and your club?
Which teams are your personal favourites to reach the EHF Cup Finals?
EHF Cup records
TEXT: Björn Pazen / bc
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