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VELUX EHF Champions League countdown, part 1: FC Barcelona Intersport (ESP)

Fight for all titles

It was along and winding road to be on top again: Six years after their last title in the EHF Champions League, FC Barcelona Borges (now Intersport) were on the throne again in Cologne end of May.

By beating Renovalia Ciudad Real in the final of the VELUX EHF Champions League, the Catalans took their seventh triumph in the premier European club handball competition and increased their record series.

Two weeks before that, Barcelona ended another series of Ciudad Real by winning the Spanish championship – with only one loss in their 30 matches.

The hunted team

With the start of the new season, FC Barcelona Intersport will be the hunted team in those major competitions. Still, their hunger for trophies is not stilled, as manager Enric Masip mentioned: "Our main objective is to repeat the successful last season. We know that is very, very difficult, but we have the squad to reach that goal, as it did not change."

The only player who left is Iker Romero (now Füchse Berlin/Germany). Barca signed two Spanish internationals from top opponents: Defence specialist Viran Morros arrived from BM Ciudad Real and Mikel Aguirrezabalaga from Reale Ademar León.

"Our defence block will be stronger, which is the key part of our tactics. Interceptions, fast breaks, goals," Masip says.

Respect for group opponents

In his opinion the Group Stage is not easy to play: "We have a hard group. Chambery beat us last season on their home soil, Zagreb is always difficult to play, Kadetten have good players – and Sarajevo will be a strong opponent, especially when they play at home."

Team captain Laszlo Nagy shares this opinion: "We have to respect those opponents. I guess the VELUX EHF Champions League is the hardest competition in the world and all the teams deserve our respects. We need to go step by step, as we do not face easy rivals in the Group Stage."

For the Hungarian Nagy – the first ever Non-Catalan team captain – the objectives for this season are clear: "It is always the same: to win. But after winning the VELUX EHF Champions League and the Spanish ASOBAL league everybody expects that we will repeat this success. But I guess it will be difficult because winning again is much more difficult than winning the first time."

Good preparation results

In the preparation phase FC Barcelona Intersport won the infamous international tournament in Doboj (Bosnia-Herzegovina) and several test matches on home turf.

This evening (4 September) will be the first "clash of the titans" for the team of coach Xavi Pascual. Barcelona face their old enemy with the new name Atletico Madrid (formally known as Ciudad Real) in the Spanish Super Copa.

Three question to Barcelona’s coach Xavi Pascual What are your expectations for the upcoming season of the VELUX EHF Champions League – concerning your objectives and your group opponents?

Xavi Pascual: At FC Barcelona it is mandatory to win. We educate our players in youth categories to play under this pressure. After winning the VELUX EHF Champions League last season all eyes are on us. On our way we will face the best teams in the world and it will not be an easy way to get to the top again. What does the participation in the VELUX EHF Champions League mean to you and your club?

Xavi Pascual: To be part of the VELUX EHF Champions League means to play the best club competition around the world. For us it is an obvious obligation to play VELUX EHF Champions League and to reach great goals in this competition, as all the people expect it from us. Which teams do you think will reach the VELUX EHF FINAL4 and who do you think will emerge victorious this season – and why?

Xavi Pascual: The VELUX EHF Champions League is an open competition, where great clubs with great squads compete. So it is difficult to say exactly what teams will reach the VELUX EHF FINAL4.

Club facts – FC Barcelona Intersport (ESP)

Newcomers: Viran Morros (BM Ciudad Real), Mikel Aguirrezabalaga (Reale Ademar León)
Left the club: Iker Romero (Füchse Berlin)
Coach: Xavi Pascual since February 2008

Qualification for the 2011/2012 VELUX EHF Champions League season: Spanish champions

VELUX EHF Champions League records

  • Participations (including 2011/2012 season): 15
  • Winners (7 times): 1995/1996, 1996/1997, 1997/1998, 1998/1999, 1999/2000, 2004/2005, 2010/2011
  • Final (2 times): 2000/2001, 2009/2010
  • Semi Final (1 times): 2007/2008
  • Quarterfinal (2 times): 2005/2006, 2006/2007
  • Last 16 (1 times): 2003/2004
  • Main Round (1 times): 2008/2009

Other EC records


  • Winner: 2002/2003
  • Finalist 2001/2002

Cup Winners’ Cup

  • Winner: 1993/1994, 1994/1995

Spanish champions: 1968/69, 1972/73, 1979/80, 1981/82, 1985/86, 1987/88, 1988/89, 1989/90, 1990/91, 1991/92, 1995/96, 1996/97, 1997/98, 1998/99, 1999/2000, 2002/03, 2005/06, 2010/11

Spanish Cup winners: 1968/69, 1971/72, 1972/73, 1982/83, 1983/84, 1984/85, 1987/88, 1989/90, 1992/93, 1993/94, 1996/97, 1997/98, 1999/2000, 2003/04, 2006/07, 2008/09, 2009/10

Further information

Find more information on FC Barcelona Intersport HERE.

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TEXT: Björn Pazen