Countdown part 24: Dinamo MinskArticle
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Major changes in the team of Sergiy Bebeshko and hopes of reaching the knock-out stage

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Countdown part 24: Dinamo Minsk

12 players from last season, plus eleven newcomers - Dinamo Minsk start the season with a renewed team heading into the VELUX EHF Champions League Group Phase – and this season is a jubilee season for the club, as they celebrate their fifth anniversary.

In their debut year 2010/11 they nearly reached the VELUX EHF Champions League Last16, in the previous season the Belarusian champions failed in the qualification stage, but then reached the quarter-finals of the EHF Cup losing against FA Göppingen, who went on to lift the trophy.
Now hopes are high of making it to the knock-out stage thanks to an improved team.

The list of newcomers gives hopes for a bright future: Both goalkeepers are new - Vadim Bogdanov came from St. Petersburg HC and Serbian Dimitrije Pejanovic from Spanish side BM Torrevieja.

The club also welcomes new key players like Olexandr  Shevelev (former club AaB Handball in Denmark) and Oleg Skopintsev, arriving from Chekhovskie Medvedi. Together with remaining top stars Onufryienko and Atman, Dinamo now have more alternatives in all positions.

And Minsk have already shown their class in the qualification, when they easily beat  Besiktas Istanbul twice (30:22, 31:24) in the play-off matches for the Group Stage. Apart from dominating the top of the Belarusian league, now the Last 16 of the VELUX EHF Champions League is their target as Sports director Andrei Parachtenko hopes:

"Dinamo aim to proceed from the Group Phase. The favorites of our group are Barcelona, they need no introduction, and Berlin, top Bundesliga team and participant of last season’s VELUX EHF FINAL4.

"Zagreb, despite not having the same quality team as they did last season, are still a serious rival. So think it will between Kadetten and Pick and us for the last remaining ticket of the Last 16."

Team captain Dzmitry Nikulenkau is looking forward to the development of the new Dinamo team: "I respect all our opponents whether they are considered a weak or a strong side. We will approach every match in the same concentrated manner. We have already played against Barcelona in a preparation tournament in Doboj – and we were defeated 22:33, we didn’t have our best game.

"Now we know what to expect from the Catalonians. They are definitely one of the best teams in the world, though we will do our best. Many people have predicted that we will take the fourth place in the group. However, it won’t be easy and we will struggle in every single match to reach this objective.”

Three questions to coach Sergiy Bebeshko:
What are your expectations for the upcoming season of the VELUX EHF Champions League?
Sergiy Bebeshko
: Barcelona and Berlin are my favourites to top our group, and I would put Zagreb up there too. It doesn’t matter that the club has reduced its budget and that many of the good players left the club, the young team will be able to hold their own. Pick and Dinamo are the teams which are on approximately the same level as us and we will be fighting with them for the fourth place spot in the group. The three top teams should qualify from the group with no serious difficulties.
What does the participation in the VELUX EHF Champions League mean to you and your club?
Sergiy Bebeshko
: The Champions League is the most prestigious tournament on club level. Qualifying for the VELUX EHF Champions League is the main achievement of any coach on club level. It is definitely a big step in my career. It is not the first time that Dinamo are participating in the Champions league. I hope that we will perform better this season than we did in the past two years.

What teams are your personal favourites to reach the VELUX EHF FINAL4 and for winning the title this season?
Sergiy Bebeshko
: It is hard to estimate the strength of our competitors because the first matches have not been played yet and the national leagues have just begun. Barcelona and Kiel seem to be favourites; plus two additional contenders in Chekhovskie Medvedi and Montpellier. 

HC Dinamo Minsk (BLR)
Qualification for the 2012/2013 VELUX EHF Champions League season: winner of the play-off matches against Istanbul, Belorussian Champion
Coach: Sergiy Bebeshko, since December 2009
Newcomers: Vadim Bogdanov (St. Petersburg HC), Dimitrije Pejanović (BM Torrevieja), Dmytro Doroshchuk (ZTR Zaporozhye), Harbuz Hleb (Dinamo-Minsk II), Aliaksandr Markelau (Dinamo-Minsk II), Stanislav Nakhaenko (Dinamo-Minsk II), Vladislav Ostroushko (HC Motor-ZNTU-ZAS), Vasko Ševaljević (Amaya Sport San Antonio), Olexandr Shevelev (AaB Handball), Oleg Skopintsev (Chekhovskie Medvedi), Mykola Stetsyura (Saint Raphael Var Handball)
Left the club: Egor Evdokimov (Chekhovskie Medvedi), Yauhen Kamarou (SKA Minsk), Vitali Kazhaneuski (HC Victory Regia Minsk), Valentyn Koshovy (HC Motor-ZNTU-ZAS), Ivan Martinovic (HC Vardar PRO - Skopje), Viktar Nedaliuka (HC Victory Regia Minsk), Mikhail Niazhura (St. Petersburg HC), Barys Pukhouski (SKA Minsk), Siarhei Shylovich (SKA Minsk), Aliaksandr Tsitou (SKA Minsk), Mikalai Zianko (HC Victory Regia Minsk),  Enrique Plaza Lara (Spain)

VELUX EHF Champions League records:
Participations (including 2012/2013 season): 4
Group Phase (1): 2010/2011
Qualification (2): 2009/2010, 2011/2012

Other EC records:
Quarter-final 2011/12

Belarusian Champion: 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012
Belarusian Cup winner: 2010
Baltic League Champion: 2009

Further information

Find more information on Dinamo Minsk HERE
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TEXT: Björn Pazen / bc