Young guns for the collectiveArticle
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VELUX EHF Champions League countdown, part 24: Ademar Reale Leon (ESP)

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Young guns for the collective

Every season it is a tough and intense fight for third position in the Spanish Liga ASOBAL, behind the top guns FC Barcelona Intersport and Atletico Madrid (former Ciudad Real).

Quite often the teams from Valladolid and Leon fight for this position which also means direct qualification for the VELUX EHF Champions League.

Allocated place

Last season Ademar Reale Leon were winners of this battle. Valladolid ranked fourth in the end and failed in the semi-final of the Wild Card Tournament against Kielce.

So Leon will represent the Liga ASOBAL again, for the in total tenth time.

New coach Martinez

Ademar, founded in 1956, will start their tough challenge in the VELUX EHF Champions League with opponents like Kiel, Montpellier or Kobenhavn with a new coach.

Isidoro Martinez took over the squad after he having been coach of the Spanish Juniors National team – and seven players of Ademar were Junior national team players as well.

Focus on young players

Martinez (a professor for handball at the University of Leon) is well known for his strength in developing young players, which is one of the key targets of Ademar: "We are traditionally strong in this," the former assistant coach of Manolo Cadenas says.

Spanish talents signed

The two times European Cup winners have signed some talented Spanish players like pivot Rafa Bena or left back Garcia Ferrer.

"Our team will improve and we will be able to show our spectators an attractive style of handball," Isidoro Martinez is convinced.

French reinforcement

Top newcomer is Adrien di Panda, French international and arriving from Montpellier.

"He is an absolute improvement for our defence, and his individual skills are enormous, also for attack," says Martinez, whose motto is: "The collective is much more important than the individuals."

Spanish top three

It is the great ambition to remain among the top three teams of Spain and to become one of Europeans leading teams, Martinez mentioned during his presentation as the new Leon coach.

Five players left

But one key player of former years has left: Croatian international Dennis Buntic is now playing for VELUX EHF Champions League qualifier Vive Targi Kielce, aside four more players left to other clubs.

Pan American magic

Another newcomer arrived from South America: Brazilian international Felipe Borges comes from Pinheiros, the winners of the Pan American Champions League.

He has ASOBAL experience, as he has played for Aragon and Granollers before.

Jack of all trades

Rafa Baena, arriving from Antequera was top scorer of the ASOBAL league in the last season, but should also strengthen the middle block of the defence.

Club facts – Reale Ademar Leon (ESP)

Newcomers: Adrien Di Panda (Montpellier/FRA), Rafa Baena (BM Antequera), Alvaro Ferrer, Antonio Garcia (both BM Granollers), Felipe Borges (Pinheiros/BRA)

Left the club: Hector Castresana (Jubille), Ricardo Costa (Jubille), Dentis Buntic (Kielce/POL), Danil Chernov (BM Antequera), Javi Ortigosa (BM Torrevieja)

Coach: Isidoro Martinez (since 2011)

Qualification for the 2011/2012 VELUX EHF Champions League season: Third ranked in Spain

VELUX EHF Champions League records:
Participations (including 2011/2012 season): 10
Quarterfinal (3): 1997/1998, 1999/2000, 2001/2002
Last 16 (3): 2003/2004, 2005/2006, 2009/2010
Main Round (2): 2007/2008, 2008/2009
Qualification (1): 2010/2011

Cup Winners’ Cup records: Winner: 1998/1999, 2004/2005, Final: 2000/2001, 2006/2007

Spanish champion: 2001
Spanish Cup winner: Asobal Cup 1998, 2008, Copa del Rey 2003

Further information

Find more information on Reale Ademar Leon HERE.

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TEXT: Björn Pazen