World-class arrivals as Veszprém aim to end FINAL4 curse
Telekom Veszprém HC will yet again try to conquer Europe in the upcoming season, however, they may be title holders after the group phase, as the Hungarian powerhouse are set to attend the EHF FINAL4 in Cologne in December 2020.
- the five-time EHF FINAL4 participants welcome five big arrivals for the upcoming season: current world champion Nikolaj Markussen, two-time Champions League winner with Vardar Daniil Shishkarev, current European champions Jorge Maqueda and Rodrigo Corrales, and 24-year-old Hungarian prospect Patrik Ligetvari
- Veszprém were represented three times in the EHF Champions League 2019/20 All-star Team: David Davis as best coach, Manuel Strlek as left wing and Blaz Blagotinsek as best defender
- due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Veszprém did not defend their domestic title in 2019/20, as the Hungarian Handball Federation ended the league without a winner
- legendary goalkeeper Arpad Sterbik retired while Slovenian EHF EURO 2020 semi-finalist Borut Mackovsek transferred to rivals Szeged. Three others also departed over the summer
- Veszprém are one of the sides scheduled to contest the EHF FINAL4 2019/20 in December
Under the spotlight: Jorge Maqueda
EHF EURO 2020 champion and All-star Team member Jorge Maqueda moved to Veszprém from Szeged during the summer. With his presence, the world-class defensive line can level up and, as he is always able to score even in the toughest seconds of the game, the squad’s attack has also evolved.
The newcomer has the experience to go all the way, as he was a member of the HC Vardar team that clinched the title in 2017.
How they rate themselves
It is no secret that Veszprém want the trophy and no less. The club have not only contested the EHF FINAL4 five out of the last six editions, they have reached the final three times since 2015 without winning the title.
As coach David Davis says, with a line-up such as theirs, finally securing the trophy can be the only goal for a club like Veszprém:
“Our objective, like always in the EHF Champions League, is to reach the EHF FINAL4. All teams, when they start the season and have a team like us, only want to reach the top tournament in the end of May. Once we arrive there, we want the trophy of course.”
“The biggest motivation for this season is to reach the biggest goal of Veszprém and myself personally, to win the Champions League,” adds team captain Mate Lekai. “We will definitely have one chance to do that in December, but I really hope that we can reach Cologne next May in the new format of the EHF Champions League.”
Did you know?
Telekom Veszprém HC is a very multicultural club. Altogether, 14 nationalities can be found on the roster: Macedonian, Egyptian, Hungarian, Brazilian, Norwegian, Serbian, Swedish, Danish, Slovenian, Croatian, Russian, French, Spanish, and Montenegrin. Hungary is represented by the most players, with three.
What the numbers say
Veszprém have played the EHF FINAL4 five times but have never claimed the title. In December, it is going to be their sixth attempt and Veszprém also have every chance to re-book their tickets to Cologne at the end of the 2020/21 season.
However, the Hungarian record champions are the only team to have participated in the EHF FINAL4 four or more times without ever winning the trophy.
Newcomers and left the club
Newcomers: Nikolaj Markussen (Bjerringbro-Silkeborg), Patrik Ligetvari (La Rioja – back from loan), Daniil Shishkarev (HC Vardar 1961), Rodrigo Corrales (Paris Saint-Germain HB), Jorge Maqueda (MOL-Pick Szeged
Left the club: Borut Mackovsek (MOL-Pick Szeged), Dragan Gajic (Limoges Hand 87), Mirsad Terzic (Orlen Wisla Plock), Pawel Paczkowski (HC Meshkov Brest), Arpad Sterbik (retired)
- EHF Champions League
Participations (including 2020/21 season): 26
Final (4): 2001/02, 2014/15, 2015/16, 2018/19
Semi-final (5): 2002/03, 2005/06, 2013/14, 2016/17, 2019/20
Quarter-final (9): 1997/98, 1998/99, 1999/00, 2003/04, 2004/05, 2006/07, 2008/09, 2009/10, 2012/13
Last 16 (4): 1993/94, 2010/11, 2011/12, 2017/18
Group Phase (3): 1994/95, 1995/96, 2007/08
Cup Winners’ Cup: 2 titles (1992, 2008)
SEHA League: 2 titles (2015, 2016)
Hungarian league: 26 titles (1985, 1986, 1992-1995, 1997-1999, 2001-2006, 2008-2017, 2019)
Hungarian Cup: 27 titles (1984, 1988, 1989-1992, 1994-1996, 1998-2000, 2002-2005, 2007, 2009-2018)
We will definitely have one chance to do that in December, but I really hope that we can reach Cologne next May in the new format.