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EHF European League

Minaur Baia Mare targeting EHF Finals berth

Jamie Whittington

Under their previous name, HCM Baia Mare, CS Minaur Baia Mare reached the EHF Champions League quarter-finals in 2014/15 and 2015/16.

After five years away from the European stage, Minaur Baia Mare want to make up for lost time and reach the EHF European League Finals.

Main facts

  • qualified for the group phase directly after finishing third in the Romanian league
  • made 10 signings ahead of the new season
  • last played in Europe in the 2015/16 season of the EHF Champions League
  • will face Astrakhanochka, Storhamar Handball Elite and Thüringer HC in group C

The burning question – Can CS Minaur Baia Mare achieve their objective of reaching the EHF Finals?

CS Minaur Baia Mare’s return to European competition after a five-year absence does not come with any reduced ambition ahead of their matches in group C of the EHF European League.

Baia Mare’s clear goal is to reach the EHF Finals Women. “We want to be in the last four. The EHF European League is a very important competition for us, with very valuable teams,” said team manager Liviu Bala.

Baia Mare’s transfer activity over the summer demonstrated their desire to bridge the gap from finishing third in the Romanian league to competing in the latter stages of the EHF European League.

The Swedish trio of Filippa Idehn, Linn Blohm and Mikaela Mässing, who were all at different clubs prior to signing for Baia Mare, were among the 10 additions, while Serbian internationals Jelena Lavko and Jovana Kovacevic joined from Hungarian club Érd.

However, with Mässing and Helena Rysankova suffering injuries in training matches in August, the team’s back-court depth might not be what was originally envisaged prior to this season.

Although Baia Mare’s expectations are high, team captain Yaroslava Burlachenko believes that the team will seek to grow through the group phase journey.   

“It is totally different to play in the domestic championship compared to the European level. We grow from match to match and we will do our best to reach the last four,” said Yaroslava Burlachenko.

When new signings are made, finding cohesion in a team to produce consistent performances and results is a challenge that is often underestimated.

As Thüringer HC, one of Baia Mare’s group C opponents, have also had many personnel changes, whichever team can adapt the best may emerge from the group in first place and ready to contend for the biggest prize in the knockout stages. 

Signature players

International star – Linn Blohm

Linn Blohm is one of the best line players in the world and a tremendous addition for Baia Mare. While Sweden only placed 11th at the Women’s EHF EURO 2020, Blohm – who was part of the All-star team at the 2019 IHF Women’s World Championship – still scored at an 80 per cent rate.

Pivotal playmaker – Cristina Laslo

Still only 24 years old, Cristina Laslo is familiar with the big stage and has played for Romania at multiple major championships. Laslo’s experience with Buducnost in the EHF Champions League and alongside Cristina Neagu for Romania can only serve Baia Mare well in the EHF European League.

Familiar face – Ana Maria Tanasie

Left wing Ana Maria Tanasie scored 14 goals for Baia Mare in their EHF Champions League 2015/16 season, before playing for a host of different Romanian clubs: SCM Craiova, SCM Ramnicu Valcea, Dunarea Braila and Magura Cisnadie. Now back at Baia Mare, Tanasie will be hoping to build on her scoring exploits for Cisnadie in the EHF Cup last season.

A night to remember

In the EHF Champions League 2014/15 season, HCM Baia Mare reached the quarter-finals for the first time. Facing Dinamo-Sinara in front of a capacity crowd of 2,080 in the first leg, a Baia Mare side featuring Lois Abbingh, Camilla Herrem and Alexandra Do Nascimento were behind for large parts of the match.

Trailing 23:22 after 59 minutes, Baia Mare scored three goals in under a minute to claim a sensational 25:23 win, sparking scenes of delight among the home crowd as the match finished.

Although Baia Mare’s win in the first leg did not provide enough of a cushion for the second leg, the Romanian side showed that scoring three goals in the final minute is not impossible.  

Newcomers and departures

Newcomers: Filippa Idehn (Silkeborg Voel KFUM), Jelena Lavko (Érd), Jovana Kovacevic (Érd), Linn Blohm (Kobenhavn Håndbold), Asuka Fujita (BV Borussia 09 Dortmund), Cristina Laslo (CSM Corona Brasov), Ana Maria Tanasie (Magura Cisnadie), Angela Cioca (CB Salud Tenerife), Larissa Araujo (CSU Cluj-Napoca), Mikaela Mässing (Thüringer HC)

Departures: Ana Maria Mazareanu (Gloria Bistrita), Sylwia Lisewska (Magura Cisnadie), Marija Shteriova (SCM Gloria Buzau), Oana Roxana Cirstea (SCM Gloria Buzau), Paulina Masna (CSU Cluj Napoca), Larisa Tamas (CSM Slatina), Roxana Daniela Szolosi (Retired), Camelia Hotea (Retired), Madalina Conache (CSM Galati), Oana Bondar (Retired)

Past achievements

EHF Champions League:
Quarter-finals (2): 2014/15, 2015/16
Group matches (1): 2013/14

EHF Cup:
Last 16 (1): 2008/09
Round 4 (1): 2009/10
Round 3 (1): 2007/08

Challenge Cup:
Runners-up (1): 2002/03
Last 16 (1): 2004/05

Romanian league: 1 title (2014)
Romanian Cup: 3 titles (2013, 2014, 2015)
Romanian Super Cup: 3 titles (2013, 2014, 2015)

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