The "Students" have learnt their lessonArticle
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VELUX EHF Champions League countdown, part 20: Bosna BH Gas Sarajevo

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The "Students" have learnt their lesson

When you reach all your objectives, satisfaction is huge – Bosna BH Gas Sarajevo could feel that after the last season.

Not only did they win the Bosnian championship and the Bosnian cup, but proceeded to the Last 16 of the VELUX EHF Champions League, too.

By beating their direct opponents from Constanta and St. Petersburg on home ground after a tie with Zagreb they qualified for the knock-out stage, but there the wall was too high to climb against Chekhovskie Medvedi.

But thanks to this result the club from Sarajevo, nicknamed the Students, qualified directly for the Group Stage again.

Coach gone and back again

Despite successful coach Irfan Smajlagic resigned, after some negotiations with the club the former Croatian international will now remain on the sideline.

Last 16 as the goal

So the objectives for the upcoming season are clear: "We want to repeat the success from last season," says club board member Rusmir Jurak.

But by looking at their group opponents Barcelona, Zagreb, Schaffhausen or Chambery, Bosna do not expect an easy way to the Last 16.

Difficult schedule

Manager Kenan Magoda says: "It will be much harder than last season. In the previous season we had a much easier schedule because the teams which were direct competitors to qualify for the Last 16 had to play the return match in Sarajevo. This has changed."

Last season Bosna took all their points on home ground.

Participation in the SEHA

Key player Sandro Uvodic expects a hard season also due to other factors: "This year we play additionally in the SEHA Regional Championship of Balkan countries, which will bring an even greater amount of games.

But therefore we have increased the number of players and we had a good preparation – so we hope to adequately respond to all the ambitions set."

Six new players and a new president

As three players, including former key player Petar Kapisoda left, six newcomers arrived at Bosna – same as new club president Muhamed Pilav.

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

Irfan Smajlagic: As we are a club with a compared to other participants much smaller budget, so we believe that any victory in the VELUX EHF Champions League is a huge success.

We hope to achieve the same success this season like last season.

This would justify the trust of the EHF to give Bosnia and Herzegovina a directly allocated place in the Group Stage since the reorganization of the VELUX EHF Champions League. What does the participation in the VELUX EHF Champions League mean to you and your club?

Irfan Smajlagic: The participation in the VELUX EHF Champions League is a big thing for us.

It is also big for our city, as our fans have the chance to see a huge number of the world’s best players and teams like FC Barcelona Intersport, Atletico Madrid or HSV Hamburg. What teams are your personal favourites to reach the VELUX EHF FINAL4 and for winning the title this season – and why?

Irfan Smajlagic: AG Kobenhavn, THW Kiel, FC Barcelona and HSV Hamburg.

Club facts – HC Bosna BH Gas Sarajevo (BIH)

Newcomers: Izudin Mujanovic (Prevent Slovenj Gradec/SLO), Goran Gorenac (Cimos Koper/SLO), Predrag Vujadinovic (HC Steaua/ROU), Andrea Basic (RK Pula/CRO), Faruk Halilbegović (RK Borac), Edin Tatar (RK Bosna Visoko)

Left the club: Peter Pucelj (HC Red Star Belgrade/SRB), Petar Kapisoda (no new club), Dragan Marjanac (HC Bern/SUI)

Coach: Irfan Smajlagic, since 2009

Qualification for the 2011/2012 VELUX EHF Champions League season: Bosnian Champion

VELUX EHF Champions League records:
Participations (including 2011/2012 season): 7
Last 16 (1): 2010/2011
Group Phase (5) 2003/2004, 2006/2007, 2007/2008, 2008/2009, 2009/2010

Other EC records:
Cup Winners Cup semi-finalist 2006/2007

Bosnian champion: 2003, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011

Bosnian Cup winner: 2003, 2004, 2009, 2010, 2011

Further information

Find more information on HC Bosna BH Gas Sarajevo HERE.

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TEXT: Björn Pazen