Countdown, part 1: Budućnost PodgoricaArticle
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After winning the Women´s EHF Champions League title in 2011/12, Budućnost have undergone a complete transformation with most of their star players retiring or leaving the Montenegrin side.

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Countdown, part 1: Budućnost Podgorica

They secured the trophy and successfully finished their major long-term project by winning the Women’s EHF Champions League title for the first time. Many of their players then followed that up with the Olympic silver medal in London – but now everything has changed at defending champions Budućnost Podgorica.

The team for the forthcoming season is completely different to the one which won the title. Top stars Bojana Popović and Maja Savić retired with former becoming the new team manager, back court shooter Katarina Bulatović transferred to Oltchim Vâlcea, and goalkeeper Sonja Barjaktarović and pivot Ana Djokić now play for Rostov.

Coach Dragan Adžić has the challenge of integrating seven new and mostly young players and has to build up a new team, so their objective for the coming season is only to reach the Main Round.

Explaining the changes, club president Predrag Bošković said: “We decided that, after a season in which we achieved all our dreams, we should make a new young team with high quality."

“We signed the best European players from the 1990 generation. And maybe there are still two players who could be of that age and play in Budućnost. I am convinced that Buducnost will secure a lot of top results in the next season and that we will be a most pleasant surprise.”

Already with a few years in the defending champions’ squad, one of those young players is Milena Knežević. The playmaker and national team player is also convinced for the future.

“This is a totally new team, so we will need some time to get into shape,” she said. “I am sure we will have a good time together and we will show a great fighting spirit and a strong defence. The team is young, we cannot suddenly gain a lot of experience but we will do our best.”

Three questions to coach Dragan Adžić: What are your expectations for the upcoming season of the Women’s EHF Champions League?
Dragan Adžić: We know how we won the EHF Champions League last season. I believe that as soon as possible we need to involve new players in this system too, and that we will still be able to compete with quality teams this season. What does the participation in the Women’s EHF Champions League mean to you and your club?
Dragan Adžić: For this young generation, participation in the Champions League means a lot. In the past we have shown what results can be achieved by dedication and continuous hard work. Surely any victory in such a competition will be a big success for us, in the Group Matches we guarantee a big fight to any opponent. What teams are your personal favourites to win the Women’s EHF Champions League season – and why?
Dragan Adžić: Оltchim and Györ are the strongest teams on paper in this season, and therefore anything other than outright Champions League victory would be seen as a failure for both of them. Larvik are still woven from the Norwegian national team, the strongest in the world. Krim have new players and new coaching staff and have very realistic hopes of lifting the trophy.

Budućnost Podgorica (MNE)
Qualification for the 2012/2013 EHF Women’s Champions League season: Montenegrin champions

Coach: Dragan Adžić, since 2010

Newcomers: Claudine Mendy (Metz Handball/FRA), Katarina Ježić (Lokomotiva Zagreb/CRO), Katarina Bralo (HBC Nimes/FRA), Jelena Živković (FTC Hungaria Rail Cargo/HUN), Jelena Trifunović (Crvena Zvezda Beograd/SRB), Biljana Pavičević (Zito Prilep/SRB), Željka Nikolić (Zork Jagodina/SRB)

Left the club: Bojana Popović, Maja Savić (end of careers), Katarina Bulatović (Oltchim Vâlcea/ROU), Ana Radović (KIF Vejen/DEN), Sonja Barjaktarović, Ana Djokić (both Rostov/RUS), Dijana Golubić (destination unknown), Dijana Števin (Erd/HUN), Gabriela Adriana Tacalie (Brasov/ROU)

Women’s EHF  Champions League records:
Participations (including 2012/2013 season):
Winner: 2011/12
Semi-finalist: 1997/98, 1998/99, 1999/00, 2000/01, 2001/02, 2010/11
Quarter-finals: 2002/03, 2003/04
Last 16: 1995/96
Group Phase/Champions League: 1996/97, 2004/05, 2005/06, 2006/07, 2007/08, 2009/10

Other EC records:

Cup Winners Cup:
1984/85, 2005/06, 2009/10

IHF Cup:

Montenegrin champion: 24 times (1985,1989,1990,1992-2012)
Montenegrin Cup winner: 17 times (1984,1989, 1995-1998, 2000-2002, 2005-2012)

Further information

Find more information about Buducnost Podgorica HERE
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TEXT: Björn Pazen