Hypo: out but not downheartedArticle
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The Austrian club fail to reach the semi-finals and the focus is already on a brighter next season.

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Hypo: out but not downhearted

Despite some great results over the last few years, this season Hypo-NÖ didn’t make it to the semi-finals of the Champions League. The last time this happened was in the season of 2005/2006, where the Austrians were defeated by Danish team Aalborg HK in the quarterfinals.

Rotis-Nagy brought experience inside the teamHungarian Coach András Németh left the club during the summer, together with Tímea Tóth, the top scorer of 2007/2008, and some new talented players were recruited. "We have gained several reinforcements, but it was obvious that with our two new back players, Marion Limal and Fran Carraro, we’d not be as strong as our opponents," analysed Karin Prokop. "They´re both gifted players, but as it’s their first CL season, it was clear that they would not have the continuous top performance that the CL demands. This often happens when you try to incorporate new talents," continued Prokop.

With the signing of Gabriela Rotis, Hypo-NÖ had more variations in attack, which helped to defeat Viborg HK, but even this was not enough last weekend to surprise the strong Oltchim Valcea. "We did a nice job in our game plan, and kept the match open for a long time, but we also made some unnecessary mistakes. The Romanians capitalized on these to defeat us," commented Secretary General Dieter Heger.

The last-round match against Russian Dinamo Volgograd will be the farewell game from Champions League for both left wingers, Erika Kirsner and Daly Mesquita. The Hungarian player is quitting handball after this season, whilst her Brazilian team mate’s future is currently undecided, and she may even return to her native country.

In other news, coach Feri Kovács is occupied at the 2010 School Handball World Championship in Portugal, so he’ll be replaced by Martin Matuschkowitz in the coach position. "Martin has been at Hypo-NÖ for many years and he knows our team very well. He often visits the training sessions and he’s at every game. He’s not an option as a trainer for next season though," commented the club.

This year, Hypo-NÖ was not as strong as in previous seasons, although they possess the current EHF CL top scorer in 29-year-old right winger Alexandra Do Nascimento. She has a good chance to retain her number one position at the end of the competition. If she scores a minimum of 9 goals against Dinamo, she’ll have scored 100 times in 12 games.

Meanwhile, Karin Prokop and HYPO-NÖ are already planning for the future: "With this young team, we think the result we achieved this season is great, and we can say that we have achieved our aims. We’re now looking for new sponsors in order to have a bigger budget available for next season. We want to strengthen the team and our goal for next season is to reach the CL Final."

TEXT: Márk Hegedüs