Men’s EHF Cup countdown – part 5: Fraikin BM Granollers have been drawn to arguably the toughest group in the Men's EHF Cup, but they look forward to matching themselves with the best
Granollers do not fear their tough group
Like German side SC Magdeburg and their upcoming group phase opponents Frisch Auf Göppingen, Fraikin BM Granollers are one of three teams in the Men's EHF Cup Group Phase that won the competition when it was still played in its old format.
Furthermore, last season the club became the first from Spain to qualify for the EHF Cup Finals. At the tournament in Nantes, they eventually finished third.
Granollers have now reached the group phase for a third time in a row and are eager to make the next step as well and qualify for their second consecutive EHF Cup Finals.
In Round 3 of the qualification, Granollers beat ZTR Zaporozhye and were then drawn to Group B alongside defending champions and hosts of the 2017 EHF Cup Finals, Frisch Auf Göppingen, FC Porto from Portugal and Danish side HC Midtjylland.
Head coach Carlos Viver Arza expects tough matches. “The level of this group, compared to our two previous participations in the EHF Cup, is very high. It looks similar to last season's group phase, but Porto are definitely stronger than our opponents back then.
“It seems that this is the most difficult group of our last three participations at this level. We have some huge challenges ahead, but this is sports and this is precious.”
The team Viver Arza will send to the court looks much different compared to last season: six players left, six new ones arrived. Nevertheless, reaching the EHF Cup Finals is the club's goal.
“For us, being part of the EHF Cup means to be able to compete with the European handball elite. Our presence in the group phase is a reward for the club, the players, the fans and the city of Granollers,” says Viver Arza.
In his opinion, there are many contenders for the title this season, much more than in previous years. “I think any of the German or French teams have the chances to go all the way.”
Fraikin BM Granollers (ESP)
Qualification for the 2016/2017 EHF Cup Group Phase: Round 3: 27:29, 30:28 against ZTR Zaporozhye (UKR)
Newcomers: Jorge De Silva (Anaitasuna De Pamplona), Mikael Kasal (Aix En Provence), Mamadou Gassama (Granollers second Team), Vicente Alamo (FC Benfica), Alvaro Cabanas (BM Huesca), Vladan Loncar (Pick Szeged)
Left the club: Ferran Solé (Fenix Toulouse), Cesar Almeida (IK Arendal), Henrique Teixeira (BM Huesca), Moises Blanxart (H. Les Franqueses), Guillerme Valadao (Brazil), Francisco Pacheco (Sagunto)
Team captain: David Resina Forns
Other EC records:
Winners: 1994/95, 1995/96
EHF Cup Finals: 2015/16 (3rd)
Group Phase: 2014/15
IHF Cup winners: 1975/1976
EHF Cup Winners’ Cup
Spanish champions: 1959, 1960, 1961, 1966, 1967, 1968, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1974
Spanish cup winners: 1958, 1970, 1974, Asobal League Cup 1994
TEXT: Björn Pazen / ts
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