Countdown part 16 : Gorenje Velenje (SLO)Article
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The young Slovenians are flying high and are hope for success

Countdown part 16 : Gorenje Velenje (SLO)

For the sixth time Gorenje Velenje have qualified for the VELUX EHF Champions League, but it is only the second time they were crowned Slovenian champions.

In passing out RK Celje in the final stages of the season Velenje took the title and left VELUX EHF Champions League 2011/12 quarter-finalist Cimos Koper behind them.

The “wasps” will need to replace one of their best defence specialists: Nikola Manojlovic who left to play for Koper. However, what they lost in Manojlovic they gained in the signing of Slovenian international Luka Dobelšek.

Like in 2010 Velenje is aiming to make it to the knock-out stages of the VELUX EHF Champions League. On home ground the team of coach Branko Tamše want to defend their title against strong opponents.
The new club manager Tomaž Juršič is “glad to be part of the European Handball elite in the VELUX EHF Champions League,“, however, Juršič is weary of their opponents: “We have a tough group with strong opponents like  Chambery, Kielce, St. Petersburg, Bjeringbro and Metalurg. We will do everything in our power to qualify for the Last 16, which would be a big achievement.”

For the team captain Marko Bezjak the team spirit and the support from the stands in their Rdeča dvorana are decisive in helping them to go on and win big matches: “We have a good team which gets along well with each other on and off the field. We will never surrender and especially we will not allow ourselves to lose points in front of our home fans.”

Three questions to coach Branko Tamše:

What are your expectations for the upcoming season of the VELUX EHF Champions League?
Branko Tamše: We will do everything in our power to qualify for the Last 16, which would be a huge achievement for all of us.

What does the participation in the VELUX EHF Champions League mean to you and your club?
Branko Tamše: All participants in this competition are great teams. Considering the fact that we played the whole last season on a high level, we will also be a tough opponent for the other teams.

What teams are your personal favourites to reach the VELUX EHF FINAL4 and for winning the title this season?
Branko Tamše: Kiel, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid. Those are teams which are at the top of European Handball for many years and very few teams can compete with them.

RK Gorenje Velenje (SLO)
Qualification for the 2012/2013 VELUX EHF Champions League season: Slovenian Champion
Coach: Branko Tamše, since 2010
Newcomers: Darko Cingesar (Jeruzalem Ormož), Luka Dobelšek (Wisla Plock), Mitja Nosan (RD Ribnica)
Left the club: Nikola Manojlović (Cimos Koper), Rok Šimič (RK Maribor Branik)

VELUX EHF Champions League records:
Participations (including 2012/2013 season): 6
Last 16 (2): 2005/2006, 2009/2010
Main Round (1): 2007/2008
Group Phase (1): 2004/2005
Qualification (1): 2010/2011

TEXT: Björn Pazen / bc