Countdown, part 7: Thüringer HCArticle
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After improving their squad with several top international players, the German champions are hoping for better luck than in their debut season in the Women’s EHF Champions League.

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Countdown, part 7: Thüringer HC

With just one point from six matches in their debut season, 2011/12 was disappointing for Thüringer HC in the Women’s EHF Champions League.

But this year the German champions are aiming for more, although they have a tough task ahead with matches against defending champions Budućnost and the former Women’s EHF Champions League champions Viborg and Zvezda.

But coach Herbert Müller, who has much experience in European competitions having worked with Nuremberg and  Braşov  in the past, has strengthened his squad with top international players, including two times Champions League winner Anja Althaus, arriving from Viborg, and the Danish international Mie Augustesen, arriving from CL participant Randers. On top of that, Ana Gros has signed from Women´s EHF Champions League 2012 finalist Györi and goalkeeper Katarina Tomašević joins from Serbian champions Zaječar.

Two big names have left Thüringer HC: former trophy winner Nora Reiche has returned to her home club HC Leipzig and Brazilian wing player Idalina Borges Mesquita has retired.

And as well as the squad looking different, THC will now play home matches at Nordhausen after being based at Erfurt last season.

Just as they did in 2011, THC became German champion by the closest possible margin, with just one goal giving them the play-off final verdict against Buxtehuder SV, who have also booked their ticket for the Women’s EHF Champions League Group Matches, by winning the qualification tournament in Trondheim.

The international objective of THC sounds easy, but is hard to reach: to win their first ever match in the Champions League. Meanwhile, on home turf they are aiming to become German champions and participant of the German cup final four tournament.

The aims of club president Dr. Karsten Döring look further down the road: "We want to improve the picture of German women’s handball in this competition and we want to be on a par with the top European teams."

Meanwhile, the hopes of team captain Kerstin Wohlbold are nearly the same: "We want to give a better account of ourselves than in last season, and we want to get closer to the tough opponents we have to face – and under any circumstance we are going to fight for our first ever victory."

Three questions to coach Herbert Müller: What are your expectations for the upcoming season of the Women’s EHF Champions League?
Herbert Müller: We are really looking forward to compete with the strongest European teams. We are aiming to compete well against the current and former Champions League winners Podgorica, Viborg and Zvezda. The Champions League was a big adventure for us last season, but now we want to gain some points and want to be a match with our opponents. What does participating in the Women’s EHF Champions League mean to you and your club?
Herbert Müller: This competition is the pinnacle for our club, which has very little international experience. The Champions League is an extraordinary competition. Our main aim is to represent German women’s handball in the best possible way on international court. What teams are your personal favourites to win the Women’s EHF Champions League season – and why?
Herbert Müller: There is only one major favourite, the strongest and star-studded team of Oltchim  Vâlcea . Györi will be able to play a good role, and one has to count on Larvik and Krim.

Thüringer HC
Qualification for the 2012/2013 EHF Women’s Champions League season: German champions
Coach: Herbert Müller, since 2010
Newcomers: Anja Althaus (Viborg HK), Mie Augustensen (Randers HK), Katarina Tomašević (Zaječar/SRB), Sonja Frey ( MGA Fivers Wien), Ana Gros (Györ)
Left the club: Nora Reiche (HC Leipzig), Ulrike Jahn (retired), Idalina Borges Mesquita (retired), Katrin Schröder (retired), Dagmara Stuparičová (Halle-Neustadt/GER)

Women’s EHF Champions League records:
Participations (including 2012/13 season): 2
Group Matches: 2011/12

Other EC records:

Challenge Cup:
Finalists: 2008/09

German champions: 2011, 2012
German Cup winners: 2011

Further information

Find more information about Thüringer HC HERE
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TEXT: Björn Pazen