Men’s EHF Cup countdown – part 12: Two years after they went out narrowly in the quarter-finals, German club MT Melsungen returns to the EHF Cup Group Phase
Will it be second time lucky for MT Melsungen?
Two years ago, one single goal was missing for MT Melsungen to crown their first international season with a ticket to the EHF Cup Finals 2015.
But after they had lost 25:20 in the first leg of the quarter-finals, the 28:23 win on home court against Danish side Skjern was not enough to advance.
Two years later, in their second appearance in this competition, the team of head coach Michael Roth is eager to go all the way.
Melsungen ranked fourth in the previous Bundesliga season, their best result in the history of the club which has just celebrated its 90th anniversary. Their biggest domestic successes before had been participations in the German cup final tournament in 1996, 2013 and 2014.
After they beat Croatian side HC Zamet clearly in Round 3 of the qualification, Melsungen will face S.L. Benfica, Cocks and Helvetia Anaitasuna in Group D.
“We are very satisfied with this draw. Looking at the composition of the three other groups, we know that it could have been worse for us,” says Michael Roth.
“Any team which made it to the EHF Cup has to have a certain quality. At the end of the day, I see a good chance of qualifying for the quarter-finals.”
But his side had to face a bit of an injury crisis in recent weeks. Croatian line player Marino Maric will be sidelined for a longer time following a foot surgery.
“This is a profound loss, both in defence and in attack,” says Roth. He sees German competitors SC Magdeburg, Frisch Auf Göppingen and Füchse Berlin as the main contenders for making it to the EHF Cup Finals, but also does not write off “teams with a great international experience such as GOG, Kolding and Granollers”.
In general, all of MT Melsungen are looking forward to playing on the international stage again: “The participation in a European competition is always the confirmation of a good performance in the domestic league.
“We are constantly evolving in sports and in management. After our debut on the European stage in the 2014/15 season, we play the EHF Cup for the second time. This is a good opportunity to raise awareness (of our club) on the international level,” says Roth.
For the next season, Melsungen already announced two major signings. The two German EHF EURO 2016 champions, Tobias Reichmann (arriving from Vive Tauron Kielce) and Finn Lemke (SC Magdeburg) will join the club.
MT Melsungen (GER)
Newcomers: Johannes Golla (MT Melsungen junior team), Svetislav Verkic (ThSV Eisenach), Gabor Langhans (TuS N-Lübbecke) Arjan Haenen (TBV Lemgo), Dener Jaanimaa (THW Kiel)
Left the club: Jan Forstbauer (HSV Hamburg), Christian Hildebrand (TSG Offenbach-Bürgel), Malte Schröder (TV Emsdetten)
Coach: Michael Roth (since October 2010)
Team captain: Michael Müller
German champions: n/a
German cup winners: n/a
TEXT: Björn Pazen / ts
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