German sides ready for throw-offArticle
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The Main Round of the CL starts this weekend with four German teams. summarises the latest information on the four.

German sides ready for throw-off

The Main Round of the Men’s EHF Champions League starts this weekend – and four German teams are still participating. summarises the latest information on the four.

THW Kiel

Karabatic came back as MVPThe most important news for coach Noka Serdarusic was that all his players returned safe and sound from the Euro in Norway including the Most Valuable Player of the tournament, Nikola Karabatic. The French star has just been voted “2007 German Player of the Year”.

Someone else is looking forward of the restart of the CL too: Czech international Filip Jicha will be back after four months. His already played his first game after his meniscus injury at the 33:30 Kiel victory in the Toyota Bundesliga in Magdeburg.

Serdarusic has all his players in the backcourt positions again. Unlike other European top clubs, Kiel did not sign a top star during break.

“Our planning for next season has finished,” said manager Uwe Schwenker. Kiel signed Swedish goalkeeper talent Palicka in December after Mathias Anderson confirmed that he would change Kiel for Großwallstadt next season.

Kiel will play against Ivry, Leon and Chekhov in the CL Main Round. “We are lucky about this opponents,” Schwenker said after the draw.

SG Flensburg-Handewitt

Marcin Lijewski wants to play with his brother...Four players of SG played at the Euro 2008 Final and three celebrated the title. The Major of Flensburg awarded special honorary plates to the Euro medallists: Danish Michael Knudsen, Lars Christiansen, Kasper Nielsen and Croatian Blazenko Lackovic.

On the other hand, SG Flensburg had to confirm that back court player Marcin Lijewski will leave the club at the end of the season. He signed with HSV Hamburg (until 2011), where his brother Krzysztof also plays.

Sebastian Schneider from the second division club ASV Hamm signed for Flensburg and Frank von Behren left the club during the Euro break. The national player moved to GWD Minden. Sören Stryger fights hard for his comeback after a knee operation in September.

HSV Hamburg

...Krzysztof, in HSV since 2006The Hamburg management had a lot of work during the Euro break: at first HSV signed German national player Oleg Velyky from Rhein-Neckar Löwen Mannheim. Originally he should have come to Hamburg after this season, but the change was arranged earlier. But then came the shock for Hamburg and Velyky: in the first German game in Norway, the Ukrainian born centre back was injured, his knee ligament had to be operated and now he will miss the season.

HSV then signed former German national player, Heiko Grimm, and Marcin Lijewski (from the end of the season). In their first Bundesliga match HSV Hamburg won in Großwallstadt by 31:26.

In the same Main Round group with Flensburg, Hamburg will meet Zagreb and Portland.

VfL Gummersbach

Coach Gislasson will focus on Gummersbach entirelyAs coach Alfred Gislasson quits his “double-role” as the national coach of Iceland and club coach, he can fully concentrate on Gummersbach now.

His team signed one new player and extended another contract: left winger Adrian Wagner, who was signed at the start of the season from Dormagen, prolonged until 2010 and the Croatian international Drago Vuckovic from the current CL opponent Velenje, will join the club in 2009.

Another Croatian player, Vedran Zrnic, who missed the Euro due to a knee injury, will not be able to play at the start of the CL Main Round either.

Velenje, Ciudad Real and Montpellier will face Gummersbach in the Main Round.

TEXT: Björn Pazen