From La Mancha to MadridArticle
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VELUX EHF Champions League countdown, part 11: BM Atletico Madrid

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From La Mancha to Madrid

It was one of the biggest news in international handball in June: Three times EHF Champions League winners BM Ciudad Real would relocate to have a new name and a new home.

New name, new home

After long discussions and negotiations, the five times Spanish champions now are named BM Atletico Madrid, which means the end of the era Ciudad Real, but the new life of the era of top handball under the umbrella of Atletico.

The team will still have their training sessions in the Don Quichote Arena in Ciudad Real, but will play their matches in Palacio Vistalegre in Madrid.

Improved conditions in Madrid

"It was not an easy decision to leave our home in the La Mancha Region, but financial reasons forced us to move to the capital," said manager Luis Miguel Lopez during a press conference in June.

The club hopes for new spectators and sponsors in the Spanish capital – and that their traditional fans from Ciudad Real will travel to their matches. It is planned to have a special fan ticket for the AVE high speed train between both cities.

For goalkeeper Jose Hombrados the re-start in Madrid means something special, as he started his long career at Atletico.

Two reinforcements

From the sportive point of view the team did not change that much. Defence ace and back court player Viran Morros changed to FC Barcelona Intersport.

He will be replaced by Edu Fernández, coming from Cuatro Rayas Valladolid. Second newcomer is tall Danish pivot Nikolaj Markussen (Nordsjaelland Handbold).

To win all competitions

Despite the new name and the new location, the objectives have remained the same for last season’s finalist at the VELUX EHF FINAL4 in Cologne.

Manager Luis Miguel Lopez: "We want to win all competitions – because last year despite reaching all finals we did not win one big title."

In the 2010/2011 season Ciudad Real won all three Spanish Cups, but missed the Spanish Championship and the VELUX EHF Champions League title – both against their old rival from Barcelona.

"We try to do our best to give our new fans and the city of Madrid as many titles as possible this season. We will fight for all of them, but the objective number one is the most important competition: the VELUX EHF Champions League", said Luis Miguel Lopez.

Dinart dreams of Cologne

Defence specialist Didier Dinart is ambitious, but also knows the tough opponents which Atletico Madrid will have in the Group Stage, like Veszprem, Berlin or Medvedi.

"Even as we have the most difficult group in the first stage, our goal is to reach the first place, because we need this position to have advantages in the upcoming rounds.

I am sure that we can reach the Last 16, but our major objective is to go further. We want to play at the VELUX EHF FINAL 4 – and to win the title.

For the last two years we were in Cologne, but did not win the competition. But we know that the way is difficult and we will have to work hard to reach the final destination Cologne."

Three questions to coach Talant Dujshebaev What are your expectations for the upcoming season of the VELUX EHF Champions League – concerning your objectives and your group opponents?

Talant Dujshebaev: It is obvious that we have to play in the most difficult group and we will have to fight hard to reach the first position. As usual it is our great objective to reach the VELUX EHF FINAL 4 and to go for the title in Cologne. What does the participation in the VELUX EHF Champions League mean to you and your club?

Talant Dujshebaev: The VELUX EHF Champions League is the most important competition in handball and we are very motivated to win this most prestigious title in the world of handball. What teams are your personal favourites to reach the VELUX EHF FINAL4 and for winning the title this season – and why?

Talant Dujshebaev: It is too early to valuate these, as no match has been played up to now. Currently all teams are favourites to go to the VELUX EHF FINAL4.

Club facts – BM Atletico Madrid (ESP)

Newcomers: Edu Fernández (Cuatro Rayas Valladolid), Nikolaj Markussen (Nordsjaelland Handbold)
Left the club: Viran Morros (FC Barcelona Intersport)
Coach: Talant Dujshebaev, since 2005

Qualification for the 2011/2012 VELUX EHF Champions League season: Spanish runners-up

VELUX EHF Champions League records:
Participations (including 2011/2012 season): 9
Winner (3): 2005/2006, 2007/2008, 2008/2009
Final (2): 2004/2005, 2010/2011
Semi Final (1): 2003/2004'
Quarter Final (1): 2006/2007

Cup Winners Cup records: Winner 2001/2002, 2002/2003
City Cup records: Finalist 1998/1999

Spanish champion: 2004, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010
Spanish Cup winner: 2003, 2008, 2011

Further information

Find more information on BM Atletico Madrid HERE.

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TEXT: Björn Pazen