Ambitious Rostov aim to lift the trophy
In Russia, Rostov-Don win title after title, but they still dream of success on the highest level and will do their best to reach that goal in the new DELO EHF Champions League season.
- won their fourth straight Russian champion title last season – the sixth in club history
- reached the quarter-finals of the EHF Champions League 2019/20 before the competition was interrupted due to the COVID-19 pandemic
- Anna Vyakhireva was voted the best right back of the continental top flight in 2019/20
- after two seasons at Rostov’s helm, Ambros Martin stepped down over the summer
- Rostov announced their new coach at the end of August: Per Johansson, also current coach of the Montenegro women’s team
- Rostov welcome newcomers Grace Zaadi, Katarina Krpez Slezak, Anna Lagerquist and Victoria Kalinina to the squad for 2020/21
Most important question: Can Rostov finally win the Women’s EHF Champions League?
In recent years, Rostov have established themselves as a true European powerhouse. In addition to their strong Russian backbone, the club have invested in signing top foreign players and coaches but, so far, have never won Europe’s premier club competition. In 2019, Rostov were just one step from the triumph, but could not make it, losing to Györ by one goal in the final.
Now, the ambitious side have set big goals again, but with a new coach – after two years at Rostov, Ambros Martin stepped down for family reasons. He has been replaced by Per Johansson, former coach of CSM Bucuresti and current coach of the Montenegro women’s side.
Johansson can rely on a wide range of quality players, such as the experienced Russian internationals Anna Vyakhireva, Anna Sen and Vladlena Bobrovnikova, or the foreign newcomers Grace Zaadi and Katarina Krpez Slezak – and he is aware of that fact.
“During the past few years, I had the chance to coach some of the best players in the world, both at CSM Bucuresti and in the Montenegrin national team. The chance to build upon that experience with some of the finest players in the world at Rostov is a motivating thought,” Johansson told eurohandball.com following his appointment.
The Russian champions will certainly fight for the highest places.
Under the spotlight: Grace Zaadi
After 10 years at Metz Handball, the French centre back decided to change environment and signed a contract with a foreign club for the first time in her career. 27-year-old Zaadi, who was the captain at Metz and has won the World and European Championships with the France national team, is expected to become one of the key players at Rostov.
How they rate themselves
As usual in recent years, Rostov’s players are full of ambition ahead of the new season.
“We really want to win the Champions League this season. Last season, we did not have a chance to do it because final games were cancelled due to the pandemic. Now, we want to present the trophy to our fans, city and sponsors. Of course it won’t be easy, as the level of our opponents is increasing every year,” says team captain Iuliia Managarova.
Did you know?
Rostov’s leader Anna Vyakhireva holds a record, as she has been elected EHF Player of the Month as many as five times – in June, October and December 2018, and September and December 2019.
Vyakhireva has also been chosen in the Champions League All-star Team right back in the last two seasons.
What the numbers say
In 2020, Rostov-Don celebrate a 55-year anniversary, as the club was founded in 1965 under the name Rostselmash. The club changed to their current name, Rostov-Don, in 2002.
Newcomers and left the club
Newcomers: Grace Zaadi (Metz Handball), Katarina Krpez Slezak (Erd), Anna Lagerquist (Nykøbing Falster Håndboldklub), Viktoriya Kalinina (Kuban)
Left the club: Ana Paula Rodrigues Belo (Chambray), Lois Abbingh (Odense), Marina Sudakova (CSKA Moscow), Anna Sedoykina (CSKA Moscow), Irina Nikitina (Astrakhanochka), Valeriia Maslova (Buducnost), Julia Behnke (FTC-Rail Cargo Hungaria), Regina Kalinichenko (retired), Maya Petrova (retired)
- EHF Champions League
Participations (including 2020/21 season): 9
Runners-up (1): 2018/19
Semi-final (1): 2017/18
Quarter-final (2): 2015/16, 2019/20
Group matches (1): 2016/17
Qualification (3): 2011/12, 2012/13, 2013/14
EHF Cup: 1 title (2016/17)
Russian league: 6 titles (1994, 2015, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020)
Russian Cup: 11 titles (1980, 1982, 2007, 2008, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019)