More success is a must for HypoArticle
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COUNTDOWN: Women’s EHF Champions League countdown, part 3: Hypo NÖ (AUT)

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More success is a must for Hypo

It took 13 long years for Hypo NÖ to raise their next international trophy. In May they won the Cup Winners’ Cup, after they had taken their last EHF Champions League title in 2000.

However, right after this triumph everything changed at the Austrian record champions – starting from the top of the club, where Martin Kweta is the new president.

On the court, the coach changed as well as almost half of the squad – eight players are new, seven left the club.

The successor to coach Andras Németh is Danish born Brazil national team coach Morten Soubak, who will train eight Brazilian players at Maria Enzersdorf at southern outskirts of Vienna.

The appointment is a logical consequence of the cooperation between the Brazilian handball federation and Hypo – with big challenges lying ahead for Soubak and his team as hosts of the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio. Two Brazilians left, two new arrived.

Additionally, two highly experienced Hypo players have returned to the squad: Simona Spiridon and Gabi Rotis-Nagy and the team aim for more success than in previous seasons, when the group matches usually was as far as they got.

Their group is anything but easy, facing defending champions Györ, German champions Thüringer HC and Romanian runners-up Baia Mare.

Alexandra Nascimento, current World Handball Player of the Year and Hypo team captain, is looking forward to a thrilling season.

“Our objective is the same as  before last season – proceeding to the main round. In 2013 we failed, but later won the Cup Winners’ Cup. We prepared well under our new coach, but those positive test results do not guarantee top results in the Champions League.

“Our group is tough – but we do not have to hide our ambitions and maybe we can cause some upsets. Our coaches analysed Baia Mare very closely and Thüringer HC have clearly strengthened their squad, but also our team are stronger compared to last season, so I think we have a good chance to proceed,” says a confident Nascimento.

Three questions to coach Morten Soubak:

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

Morten Soubak: We are in a very strong group and this is confirmed by the fact that our first match is against the defending champions from Hungary. We have observed Baia Mare at the qualification tournament in Romania and they beat classy opponents there.

Our third opponent is Thüringer HC, a team which has improved their squad since last season. Our objectives will remain the same as in the last years, going through to the best eight teams, a goal our club has not achieved in a few years. 

What does the participation in the Women’s EHF Champions League mean to you and your club?

Morten Soubak: It is the finest and strongest competition at club level and with Hypo NÖ we´d like to maintain our place in the Champions League family.

What teams are your personal favourites to win the Women’s EHF Champions League season – and why?

Morten Soubak: Several new teams have joined the Champions League this season, one of them, Vardar, can become very strong. From the previous season, three strong teams Larvik, Krim and Györ may make their way to the semi-finals. One will have to keep an eye open on FCM, the Danish champions, and Buducnost with their reinforced young team.

Hypo NÖ (AUT)

Coach: Morten Soubak, since 2013 (forerunner Andras Nemeth)
Newcomers (including former club): Olga Sanko (back after pregnancy), Anna Hajgató (Hypo NÖ II), Viki Mauler (Hypo NÖ II),  Vera Müller  (SSV Dornbirn/Schoren), Simona Spiridon, Gabi Nagy-Rotis (back after pregnancy), Francielle Gomes da Rocha (ACD/Estrela de Guarulhos-SP/BRA), Carolline Dias Minto (Col. Santa Catarina/Novo Hamburgo/BRA)
Left the club (including new club): Mirela Dedic (Landhaus), Julia Mauler (Atzgersdorf), Mayara Fier de Moura (unknown), Karoline de Souza (Team Tvis Holstebro), Petra Blazek (Mios Biganos), Martina Goricanec (Feldkirch), Bernadett Temes (unknown)

Qualification for the 2013/2014 Women’s EHF Champions League season: Austrian champions

Women’s EHF Champions League records:
Participations (including 2013/14 season):  21
Winner: 1993/94, 1994/95, 1997/98, 1999/2000
Finalist: 1995/96, 2007/08
Semi-finalist: 1996/97, 1998/99, 2004/05, 2006/07, 2008/09
Quarter-final: 2005/06
Group Phase/Champions League: 2000/01, 2001/02, 2002/03, 2003/04, 2009/10, 2010/11, 2011/12, 2012/13

Other EC records:
Cup Winners Cup:

Winner 2012/13
Finalist 2003/04

Austrian champion: 37 times
Austrian Cup winner:  26 times

TEXT: Björn Pazen / cor