Counting on the home advantageArticle
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EHF Cup countdown, part 3: HCM Constanta (ROU)
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Counting on the home advantage

It is a tough group, but Romanian champions HCM Constanta hope to go all the way to Berlin.

Already in the group phase they will see the venue of the upcoming EHF Cup Finals as they – besides Chambery and Hlohovec - will face host Füchse Berlin in Group D.

After failing to qualify for the VELUX EHF Champions League by losing the final of Qualification Tournament 4 against Porto, the internationally experienced club from the Black Sea coast made it to the EHF Cup Group Phase easily by two victories in the qualification matches against Danish side Mors-Thy.

So Constanta set high objectives for this season: Not only defending both trophies (championship and cup) on domestic court, but reaching the EHF Cup Finals.

“We are honoured to play in the Group Phase of the EHF Cup, in a strong group against teams like Füchse Berlin, Chambery Savoie Handball and HC Sporta Hlohovec,” manager Ali Nuhran says about the ambitions of the Romanian champions.

“Even as this group is strong with professional teams, our team will play at a high level and we hope to make a spectacular handball show.”
Also team captain Laurentiu Toma expects a tough next stage for his team.

“I’m very pleased to play in a group against experienced teams like Füchse, Chambery and Hlohovec. I’m sure that we’ll make some good games, and by hard work, experience and devotion we can manage to proceed,” Toma says.

A major advantage for HCM will be that they will have their home matches in Constanta, as they had to move to Buzau last season for hosting their Champions League games.

Three questions to coach Zvonko Shundovski:

What are your expectations for the EHF Cup Group Phase - concerning your objectives and your group opponents?
Zvonko Shundovski: My expectations for the upcoming season are very optimistic. We respect all our opponents, but we’ll fight until the last second of each game. And I am 100 per cent sure that our team will be a strong one and we’ll do very good games.

What does the participation in the EHF Cup Group Phase mean to you and your club?
Zvonko Shundovski: The participation in the EHF Cup Group Phase is a new challenge for our team and is an extraordinary feeling to play against some of the best and most professional teams in Europe.

What teams are your personal favourites to reach the EHF Cup Finals?
Zvonko Shundovski: All teams are professional and with a high experience.

HCM Constanta (ROU)

The road to the Group Phase:
Round 3: HCM Constanta – Mors-Thy Handbold 27:26, 32:26

Newcomers:  Ramon Somlea (Cluj), Alexandru Bucataru (Sighisora), Marius Novanc (Dedeman Bacau)
Left the club: Milutin Dragicevic (Serbia), Alexandru Gheorghe Sabou (HCM Baia Mare)

Coach: Zvonko Shundovski (sinde 2012)

Biggest successes in EHF European club competitions:

VELUX EHF Champions League
Last 16: 2009/10
Group Phase: 2004/05, 2006/07, 2007/08, 2010/11, 2011/12, 2012/13
Qualification: 2013/14

Cup Winners’ Cup
Semi-final: 2005/06
Quarter-final: 2006/07, 2008/09
Round 4: 2002/03

Challenge Cup
Semi-final: 2003/2004
Round 4: 2000/01

Romanian champions: 2004, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013
Romanian cup winners: 2004, 2006, 2011, 2012, 2013

TEXT: Björn Pazen / br