Women's EHF Cup countdown: Part 8: Brest Bretagne Handball (FRA)
A maiden voyage with exceptional playmakers
In their first ever appearance in EHF European Cup competitions, Brest have already left their footprints in the qualification for the group phase. Thanks to top signings, such as former IHF World Player of the Year Allison Pineau, former French international goalkeeper Cleopatre Darleux and Romanian international Melinda Geiger, the club from the west coast of France managed to eliminate both the former EHF Champions League FINAL4 participant Dinamo Sinara (Russia) and the Spanish champion Bera Bera to proceed among the top 16.
Thanks to the Pineau transfer, the team of coach Laurent Bezeau can count on two of the best playmakers in the world of women’s handball, as the Spaniard Marta Mangue (currently injured) is also part of the squad. But, being on their maiden international voyage, Brest remain humble, as they set their goal of making it to the quarter-final, despite this high-quality line-up.
In the group stage, the 2014 French champions will face other top names in Leipzig, Krasnodar and Fehervar in Group B. “It’s the first time that we will compete in the European Cup competitions. So we are happy to participate in the group phase. Now, we would like to go as far as possible by displaying good matches in our arena for our amazing audience. All opponents are formidable, so it will be an incredible experience,” says Bezeau on the upcoming tasks.
He expects a lot of contenders for the first-ever trophy in the merged competition. “My favourite teams for the finals are the Russian sides like Rostov, but also the Hungarian club Erd, the Swedes from Sävehof and the Danes of Nykobing.”
For his side, Bezeau expects to learn many things in the new environment. “We take great pride in being able to participate in such a beautiful and tough competition and to be part of Europe’s top 28 teams.”
Qualification for the 2016/2017 EHF Cup Group Phase: Round 1: 30:16, 31:18 against Madeira Andebol (POR), Round 2: 29:25, 31:26 against Dinamo Sinara (RUS), Round 3: 25:20, 23:19 against Super Amara Bera Bera (ESP)
Newcomers: Pineau Allison (Baïa Mare), Melinda Geiger (Baïa Mare), Astride N’gouan (Toulon), Marie Prouvensier (Dijon), Cleopatre Darleux (Nice)
Left the club: Daniela Pereira (St Amand les Eaux), Lea Marie Joseph (Rennes St Grégoire), Nely Carla Alberto (Chambray), Juliette Le Maire (retired)
Team captain: Stephanie N’Tsama Akoa
EHF Women’s Champions League records:
Other EC records:
French champion: 2014
TEXT: Bjorn Pazen/tm
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