20200929 FUECHSE 21 43 49
EHF European League

Füchse Berlin’s fate put in young hands

Brian Campion

Füchse Berlin are one of the names you can throw into the “favourites” hat for the EHF European League title. However, in a team scattered with well-known names, there is one name on the bench where people outside of Germany will be scratching their heads after Bob Hanning & Co. have entrusted the job as head coach to the youngest coach in Bundesliga history.

  • 26-year-old Jaron Siewert took over the role of head coach
  • the biggest signing of the summer was Lasse Andersson from Barça
  • the club recruited Stefan Kretzschmar as Sports Director at the start of the year
  • Mandalinic, Heinevetter, Kristopans left Berlin

The burning question – Will Siewert’s youth be a blessing or a curse?

Füchse Berlin have undergone a bit of a facelift off the court over the last few months with German legendary winger Stefan Kretzschmar joining the club as Sports Director and then most recently Jaron Siewert (previously of TUSEM Essen) being given the role as head coach.

The topic of Jaron Siewert age (26) seems to follow him around since it was announced he would take over the wheel.

With players in the squad being up to 13 years his senior (Hans Lindberg), it is difficult to avoid getting dragged into the topic of his age. But it is fair to say this is a very unique situation.

Siewert is a ‘Fox’ through and through, playing for the youth team and even making an EHF Champions League appearance for the club at 19.

Bob Hanning (Managing Director) has had his eye on the new head coach for a while now. Stating in several interviews that Siewert showed potential as a coach even from a young age.

The young trainer got off to a good – but perhaps slightly nervous - start as he won his first international tests in qualification for the European League (25:23 and 36:24 wins over HEDO-B. Braun Gyöngyös) and domestically, 25:20 against HSG Nordhorn Lingen in the German Bundesliga. Their second outing against Magdeburg was one to forget, when they lost 32:22.

Coming up against vastly experienced coaches like Ljubomir Vranjes of Kristianstad or Slavko Goluza of Presov among others in group B of the European League will surely test the young coach’s tactical nous.

Time will only tell if the “Hanning-Kretzschmar” duo’s master plan will pay dividends, but they without doubt get full marks for fearlessness.

Signature players

The creator - Fabian Wiede

Playing mostly at right back, Wiede made his debut for the senior team in the 2012/13 season and since then has been a key character in their backcourt.

The EHF EURO champion and Olympic bronze medallist has just recovered from a shoulder operation and made his first appearance for Füchse in their loss to Magdeburg.

Sporting direct of the club, Stefan Kretzschmar, recently stated that Wiede and Drux could sign a 10-year contract with Füchse if they pleased; going to show how important Wiede is to the club moving forward.

Safe hands - Dejan Milosavljev

The All-star goalkeeper of the EHF Champions League 2018/19 season, moved to Berlin in 2019 after winning the top-flight title with Vardar that year.

Known as a real game-changer, he has turned big ties on their head with his saves for Vardar in the past and continues to do so for Füchse.

But with the exit of Silvio Heinevetter, more pressure will be put on the Serbian international’s shoulders.

Every title-winning side needs a title-winning keeper on top form, he has shown he can do it in the EHF Champions League, now it is his time to shine in the European League.

Captain fantastic - Paul Drux

Moved to Berlin at 16 from Gummersbach and now at 25 is the captain of the team and an indispensable figure.

Drux was remarkably thrown out of his first training with Füchse by Bob Hanning in what must have been a reality check for the budding backcourt player, but since then has gone from strength to strength and never looked back.

He will welcome Fabian Wiede back with open arms, as the two have now been playing almost 10 years together from the Füchse youth to the senior team. The Drux-Wiede connection makes up the backbone of the team.

A night to remember

“The club from the capital rules this place” reverberated around the GETEC Arena in Magdeburg, Germany as the players of Füchse Berlin celebrated on the winners’ podium.

After a massive performance, the ‘Foxes’ won the EHF Cup 2017/18. French side Saint-Raphael Var Handball put up a hard fight but the side from the German capital were too much in the end, winning 28:25 (14:13).

It was Berlin’s second time to take home the trophy after 2015, when they won the final on home court. But for the Berlin players, this one seemed extra sweet – winning it on their rival’s court.

Silvio Heinevetter played out of his skin and was key in their win with an incredible 17 saves.

And after netting six goals in the final, right wing Hans Lindberg was the top scorer of the EHF Cup with 82 goals.

And for the Dane is was especially important having lost two EHF Cup Finals – with Hamburg against Berlin in 2015 and with Berlin against Göppingen in 2017 – it was finally his time to lift the cup.

Arrivals and departures

Arrivals: Lasse Andersson (Barca), Valter Chrintz (IFK Kristianstad), Marian Michalczik (GWD Minden), Milos Vujovic (Grunfos Tatabanya), Nils Lichtlein (Füchse U19), Fredrik Genz (TUSEM Essen), Tim Freihöfer (Füchse U19), Matthes Langhoff (Füchse U19), Robin Heinis (Füchse U19)

Departures: Stipe Mandalinic (RK Pelister Bitola), Michael Müller (-), Silvio Heinevetter (MT Melsungen), Martin Ziemer (HC Erlangen), Kevin Struck (1. VfL Potsdam), Dainis Kristopans (PSG), Javier Munoz (PAUC Handball)

Past achievements

EHF Champions League:
FINAL4 2011/12

EHF Cup:
Winners (2): 2014/15, 2017/18

IHF Super Globe:
Winners (2): 2014/15, 2015/16

German cup: 2013/14

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