Berlin hope to go all the way home
Berlin hope to go all the way home
Five times have Füchse Berlin made it to the EHF Cup Finals, and twice they actually lifted the trophy.
In the 2019/20 season, Füchse will stage the four-team event in the Max-Schmeling-Halle for the third time after 2014and 2015. And the hosts are eager to make it to the finals again.
Three questions before the Men’s EHF Cup group phase:
- Will Füchse, like previous EHF Cup Finals hosts, be able to skip the quarter-final?
So far, all hosts of the EHF Cup Finals (since 2013) have skipped the quarter-finals as they won their respective group or were among the three best second-ranked teams. Füchse Berlin are obviously not planning to become the first exception to this rule, and being drawn into what appears to be not the toughest of the four groups, the 2015 and 2018 champions should soon be able to prepare for their home tournament.
- Will the injuries have an impact on Füchse?
Right backs Fabian Wiede and Mattias Zachrisson are out with shoulder injuries. Despite having two more right backs - Marko Kopljar and Michael Müller - Füchse signed Javier Munoz Cabezon, a Spanish back coming from Tatran Presov and joining PAUC Handball after the season. He shall support Hans Lindberg as right wing.
- Will the team hand over another trophy to their outgoing coach?
Velimir Petkovic has won the EHF Cup three times as a coach, with Frisch Auf Göppingen (2011 and 2012) and Füchse Berlin (2018). After three and a half years at Berlin, he will leave Füchse after the 2019/20 season and will be succeeded by 26-year-old Jaron Siewert, a former Füchse player and Füchse junior team coach. The players will want to hand over the EHF Cup trophy as a final gift to Petkovic - it is their last chance to win a title this season.
Under the spotlight: Dejan Milosavljev
Last season, Dejan Milosavljev was the big hero at Cologne, when the Serbian goalkeeper was a key element in Vardar’s sensational run to their second trophy at the VELUX EHF FINAL4. Now he aims for his second international title within a year. At Füchse he became No. 1, leaving German goalkeeping legend Silvio Heinevetter behind, who will transfer to Melsungen next season. Milosavljev easily adapted to the Bundesliga level and wants to become a cornerstone for Berlin’s third EHF Cup trophy.
Of course, Berlin hope to go all the way, not only to the EHF Cup Finals on home ground, but up on the winners’ podium in the end. “Playing the EHF Cup is a big reputation for us, and we aim for the final tournament,” says manager Bob Hanning, while team captain Hans Lindberg has respect for the three group phase opponents: “French teams such as PAUC are always strong, and with La Rioja we had tough matches in the previous season.”
At 2.10m, Croatian right back Marko Kopljar is the tallest player of the competition. Due to the injuries to several left-handed players, the defence ace will get more playing time in attack.
What the numbers say
When Berlin have made it to the group phase in the past, they went all the way to the EHF Cup Finals each time. Only in 2015/16, as defending champions, they missed qualification for the group phase. In their five appearances at the EHF Cup Finals, they won the trophy twice and finished runners-up twice.
Füchse Berlin (GER)
Qualified for Men’s EHF Cup group phase: HK Malmö (SWE) 34:27, 27:26 (R3)
Newcomers: Michael Müller (MT Melsungen), Tim Matthes (Füchse youth team), Dejan Milosavljev (Vardar Skopje), Martin Ziemer (TSV Hannover-Burgdorf)
Left the club: Erik Schmidt (SC Magdeburg), Malte Semisch (GWD Minden), Christoph Reißky (GWD Minden)
Coach: Velimir Petkovic (since December 2016)
Team captain: Hans Lindberg
European Cup records:
EHF Champions League records:
VELUX EHF FINAL4 (1): 2011/12 (fourth)
Last 16 (1): 2012/13
Winners (2): 2014/15, 2017/18
Finalists (2): 2016/17, 2018/19
Finals (1): 2013/14 (third)
German league: -
German cup: 2014