Countdown, part 16: FTC Hungaria Rail CargoArticle
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For the thirteenth time FTC is participating in the Women’s EHF Champions League – and after winning the Cup Winners’ Cup twice the next step should be qualifying for the Main Round.

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Countdown, part 16: FTC Rail Cargo Hungaria

After a four-year absence, FTC Rail Cargo Hungaria is back in the Group Matches of the Women’s EHF Champions League. Eleven years after their biggest international success – becoming Champions League finalists – the Hungarian runners-up had no problems in qualifying as the winner of both play-off matches against Slovak champions Michalovce.

The 2011 and 2012 EHF Cup Winners’ Cup winner, coached by Gábor Elek since 2008, have a well-balanced and well-rehearsed squad with a large number of Hungarian national team players in their 13th participation in the Women’s EHF Champions League.

Three new players, including Orsolya Vérten from their main rival Györ, arrived at the Ferencváros club in Budapest, and as well as Vérten they signed Spanish international Nerea Pena (from 2011 finalists Itxako) and the most exciting talent Luca Szekercés, Hungary’s top scorer at the Youth World Championships 2012 in Montenegro.

In the Group Matches FTC face 2011 Champions League winner Larvik HK, Swedish champions Sävehof and Russian champions Dinamo – but despite those top class opponents they hope to proceed to the next stage. Club manager Beatrix Kökény said: “It is not an easy group but we would like to get into the Main Round, or the minimum objective for us is to go to the Cup Winners’ Cup after the Group phase.”

Team captain Zita Szucsánszki highlights the special experience she and her team mates will bring to the Women’s EHF Champions League: “For most of our players this is the first Champions League season which is a big challenge for us. We will have strong opponents, but we will do our best to get to the Main Round.”

Three questions to coach Gábor Elek: What are your expectations for the upcoming season of the Women’s EHF Champions League?
Gábor Elek: We have very strong opponents in the group but as a team we have already shown that we are strong too, so we would like to step forward to the Main Group. What does participating in the Women’s EHF Champions League mean to you and your club?
Gábor Elek: We are among the top teams in Europe again after winning the Cup Winners’ Cup twice. We have been building up the team step by step from year to year. It is a big step forward and we would like to prove that our place is here. What teams are your personal favourites to win the Women’s EHF Champions League season – and why?
Gábor Elek: Győr.

FTC Rail Cargo Hungaria (HUN)
Qualification for the Women’s EHF Champions League 2012/13 season: Winners of play-off matches vs. Michalovce, runners-up in Hungary
Newcomers: Orsolya Vérten (Győri Audi ETO KC), Nerea Pena Abaurrea (Itxako Navarra), Luca Szekercés (Szekszárd)
Left the club: Krisztina Szádvári (Váci NKSE), Jelena Živković (Budućnost Podgorica)
Coach: Gábor Elek, since 2008

Women’s EHF Champions League records:
Participations (including 2012/13 season):
Finalists: 2001/02
Semi-finalists: 1996/97, 2000/01
Quarter-finalists: 1999/2000, 2002/03, 2003/04
Group Matches/Champions League: 1994/95, 1995/96, 1997/98, 2006/07, 2007/08
Qualification: 2009/10

Other EC records:

EHF Cup:
Semi-finalists: 2004/05

Cup Winners’ Cup:
2010/11, 2011/12
Semi-finalists: 2006/07

Hungarian champions: 1966, 1968, 1969, 1971, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2002, 2007
Hungarian cup winners: 1955, 1967, 1970, 1972, 1977, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 2001, 2003

Further information
Find more information about FTC Hungaria Rail Cargo HERE
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Photo: Štefan Madaras




TEXT: Björn Pazen