Zvezda, the rising star of women’s handballArticle
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Coach Evgeni Trefilov built a great team after leaving Lada. Here's the story of the star-studded Russian club.

Zvezda, the rising star of women’s handball

Zvezda in Russian language means “star”. The club raise from the Moscow region to the world of women’s handball like a star.

Trefilov is the main architect of Zvezda's successAll the successes of the club can be associated with the name of Evgeni Trefilov. The Russian national coach who, was in charge of Lada Togliatti before and led Togliatti to several national and international titles, wanted to “come closer” to Moscow because of his work in the Federation.

Trefilov chose Zvezda to become the next “Russian star” in women’s handball. As he went to Zvenigorod in 2006, shortly after winning World Championship title with Russia for the second time, he wanted to invite the best Russian players to return from abroad.

Most of them heard the call of Trefilov: Irina Poltoratskaya, the famous playmaker, or Anna Kareeva, the backcourt shooter, both returned from Denmark and joined Zvezda. Just before them, the tall defence and penalty specialist, Elena Polenova, signed from Volgograd to Zvezda.

Stars, such as Poltoratskaya, returned to Russia to play for Zvezda“In his luggage”, Trefilov brought two pivots, Liudmila Shipilova and Oxana Romenskaya, to his new club. Together with them eight players from the Russian national team –World champions for the third time in 2007 in France – are playing now for the Zvezda.

In fact, there are only Russian players in the club. Three of them (Kareeva, Romenskaya and Poltoratskaya) won World Championship three times (2001, 2005, 2007).

Already in the first year of the Trefilov era, Zvezda was the most successful Russian club. Without a home defeat they became champions in 2006/2007. And with the final victory against Danish Ikast Bording in the EHF Cup they also celebrated their first international title ever.

The club celebrated European Cup success already last yearIn the current season Zvezda started as one of the favourites in the Champions League, although they never played in the “king’s class” before. And after an easy start in the first group phase, they eliminated the CL winners from 2006, Viborg.

In the semi-finals they have beaten the Hungarian top squad Győr despite losing the first leg at home.

So now Zvezda want to make the next big step. A CL title – after losing the domestic championship – would prove that the “star” can rise even higher.

TEXT: Björn Pazen