Women’s EHF Cup countdown: Part 10: SG BBM Bietigheim (GER)
Big stars and high ambitions for the international debutants
When the former Leipzig and Randers coach, Martin Albertsen, arrived at Bietigheim (close to Stuttgart) in December 2014, the club was close to relegating to the second German division. Since then, a fairy tale with internationally experienced stars has begun, which lifted SSG to the top of the Bundesliga ranking and into the group phase of the EHF Cup in their first international season.
In the previous two years, Bietigheim made some impressive signings, such as the Dutch EURO silver medalists Maura Visser and goalkeeper Tess Wester, former Krim, Randers and Györ player Susann Müller or 2016 Champions League winner, Fernanda da Silva. After de Silva’s pregnancy was announced, the Brazilian World Champion was replaced by Danish international Fie Woller. In autumn, German international Luisa Schulze arrived from Leipzig to bolster the high-quality squad.
It was no surprise that Bietigheim flew through all three qualification rounds, including eliminating former Champions League winner and Croatian record champions, Podravka Vegeta. SSG’s future goals are set high by the qualification for the Champions League and a top position in the newly merged EHF Cup.
“The EHF Cup is a high-level competition. It’s a great honour for our club to play against some of the best teams in Europe and the possibility to show Europe our team in the best light. All the groups will be able to display top handball for the spectators,” Albertsen says.
In Group C, Bietigheim have high hurdles ahead, such as Russian powerhouse Rostov, ÉRD and Byasen. Albertsen is familiar with all of them. “Group C will be very exciting and tough. Rostov were one of the favourites to win the Champions League and are now favourites to win the EHF Cup. ÉRD HC and Byasen Trondheim both have delivered several excellent results in this year's EHF Cup, so we know what awaits us.”
Besides Rostov, the Danish-born coach expects a wide range of contenders for making it to the final. “It is completely open. Teams like Brest Bretagne, ÉRD HC, HC Lada, IK Sävehof, Kuban, TuS Metzingen and Bietigheim may have the best chance to reach the final, but I see a lot of potential aspirants.”
Besides their sportive improvement, Bietigheim are also aiming high on an organisational point of view, as one of the host cities of the preliminary round of the 2017 Women’s World Championship in Germany.
Qualification for the 2016/2017 EHF Cup Group Phase: Round 1: 34:15, 37:19 against Naisa Nis (SRB), Round 2: 37:24, 23:19 against Corona Brasov (ROU), Round 3: 23:16, 24:20 against Podravka Vegeta (CRO)
Newcomers: Kim Naidzinavicius (TSV Bayer 04 Leverkusen), Valentyna Salamakha (Siófok KC), Mia Biltoft (Ringkøbing Håndbold), Fernanda Da Silva (CSM Bukarest), Luisa Schulze (HC Leipzig), Fie Woller (FC Midtjylland)
Left the club: Paule Baudouin (Fleury Loiret Handball), Simone Larsen Poulsen (SG Kirchhof), Fabiana Diniz (retired)
Coach: Martin Fruelund Albertsen (since December 2014)
Team captain: Nina Müller
Women’s Champions League records:
Other EC records:
TEXT: Björn Pazen/tm
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