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VELUX EHF Champions League countdown, part 16: MKB-MVM Veszprém KC (HUN). The Hungarian club are ready to put a number of agonising defeats behind them and reach Cologne

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Time to go a step further

The only way is up for MKB-MVM Veszprém after years of near misses. After the Hungarians were eliminated by Spanish teams four years in a row, they came so close to securing a place in the VELUX EHF FINAL4 last season, but were denied by Kiel in the quarter-finals.

There is hope from many around Europe that the Hungarian record champions will bring their rotton form to an end and that Spanish coach Carlos Ortega can lead his team all the way to Cologne.

Ortega increased the number of Spanish players in the squad with Carlos Ruesga, arriving from Leon and added a proven champion, in the form of Momir Ilic, a two time winner with Kiel. In 2014 his former team mate Christian Zeitz will also arrive at Lake Balaton.

Missing from the squad is their mastermind in the playmaker position, Hungarian international Gabor Czaszar, who transferred to PSG Handball, but with the squad now well-rehearsed, some more players should be able to carry the responsibility alongside star player Laszlo Nagy.

For Nagy, reaching Cologne is the clear objective for the international season aside winning both trophies on domestic ground.

“Last season we missed qualification for Cologne very closely. Now we hope to succeed in our plan, though we know that it will not be easy regarding the top opponents we have,” admits Nagy.

MKB-MVM Veszprém will face Rhein-Neckar Löwen, Velenje, Zagreb, St. Petersburg and Zaporozhye in the group phase, opponents which club director Csaba Hajnal finds ideal.

“Very strong teams will come to Veszprém, which are highly attractive for our spectators. We are looking forward to those matches,” says Hanjal.

Three questions to coach Carlos Ortega:

What are your expectations for the upcoming season of the VELUX EHF Champions League - concerning your objectives and your group opponents?

Carlos Ortega: A very difficult and long season lies ahead of us, as we know that we face very strong and difficult teams. We hope to achieve a better result than in the last season.

What does the participation in the VELUX EHF Champions League mean to you and your club?

Carlos Ortega: For us the Champions League is the most important competition, as it represents the highest quality of handball. We are looking forward to our matches.

What teams are your personal favourites to reach the VELUX EHF FINAL4 and for winning the title this season – and why?

Carlos Ortega: THW Kiel, FC Barcelona, PSG Handball and a few more clubs, hopefully also Veszprém among them.

MKB-MVM Veszprém KC (HUN)

Qualification for the 2013/2014 VELUX EHF Champions League season:
Hungarian Champion

Coach: Carlos Antonio Ortega Perez, since July 2012

Newcomers (including former club): Momir Ilic (THW Kiel), Carlos Ruesga (Ademar leon), Seyed Alireza Mousavi (Foolad Mobarakeh Sepahan Sport Club/Iran), Rajko Prodanovic (Pick Szeged).

Left the club (including new club): Gabor Czaszar (PSG Handball), Marco Neto (SC Magdeburg), Rajko Prodanovic (on loan to Rhein-Neckar Löwen).

VELUX EHF Champions League records:
Participations (including 2013/2014 season): 19
Final (1): 2001/2002
Semi Final (2): 2002/2003, 2005/2006
Quarterfinal (9): 1997/1998, 1998/1999, 1999/2000, 2003/2004, 2004/2005, 2006/2007, 2008/2009, 2009/2010, 2012/13
Last 16 (2): 1993/1994, 2010/2011, 2011/2012
Group Phase (3): 1994/1995, 1995/1996, 2007/2008

Other EC records:

Cup Winners Cup:

Winner 2007/2008
Final: 1996/1997

Hungarian champion: 1984/85, 1985/86, 1991/92, 1992/93, 1993/94, 1994/95, 1996/97, 1997/98, 1998/99, 2000/01, 2001/02, 2002/03, 2003/04, 2004/05, 2005/06, 2007/08, 2008/09, 2009/10, 2010/11, 2011/12, 2012/13

Hungarian Cup winner: 1983/84, 1987/88, 1988/89, 1989/90, 1990/91, 1991/92, 1993/94, 1994/95, 1995/96, 1997/98, 1998/99, 1999/00, 2001/02, 2002/03, 2003/04, 2004/05, 2006/07, 2008/09, 2009/2010, 2010/11, 2011/12, 2012/13

TEXT: Björn Pazen / cor