New energy boost for the long trip to CologneArticle
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VELUX EHF Champions League countdown, part8: KS Vive Tauron Kielce's little changed squad is keen for a big improvement in Europe and see no reason why a trip to Cologne can't be achieved

»EHF CL Channel »2014-15 Men's News

New energy boost for the long trip to Cologne

A new sponsor in the name, the same hopes and dreams as the year before and the first “full” season for coach Talant Dujshebaev.

Vive Tauron Kielce aim for the top once again this season, which means reaching Cologne, a place where Dujshebaev has been several times before and the Polish champions have arrived once, in 2013, when they narrowly lost their semi-final against Barcelona, then beat Kiel to finish third.

In the previous season, right after the arrival of Dujshebaev as the successor to Bogdan Wenta, Kielce were unlucky to be eliminated in the Last 16 by German side Rhein Neckar Löwen.

Their group is not as tough as last season’s but still challenging, as Kielce are regarded as favourites among Dunkerque, Szeged, Aalborg, Schaffhausen and Zaporozhye.

Besides a new name in the team, energy company Tauron, Kielce’s squad has not changed all that much, only two positions have to be more precise: Marin Sego from their domestic rivals Wisla Plock replaced goalkeeper Venio Losert, who moved to Montpellier, and German international Tobias Reichmann is new on the wing position, replacing Thorir Olafsson, who returned to his home country Iceland.

The only minor problem in the preparation was the injury of Krzysztof Lijewski, but the right back managed to return in time for the first league match last Saturday.

Sports director Radosław Wasiak is humble prior to the new international season: “Of course all participants of the VELUX EHF Champions League fight for the top spot in their groups. We really have strong opponents like French champions Dunkerque, Szeged and Aalborg. We must show respect to all of them, as every game in this group will be tough.”

Team captain Grzegorz Tkaczyk is looking forward to “an interesting group”.

“We know all the teams, because of their previous results in Europe. For example last season we lost at Dunkerque, so now we want to have some revenge. Of course, I’m happy that we will face Kadetten Schauffhausen, because of my friend Leszek Starczan.

“I was playing with him in Poland, in Warszawianka, and now we will meet again after some years apart.

“Every team in our group is really strong. Szeged, for example, are the defending EHF Cup champions and a team which made some good signings this summer.”

Three questions to coach Talant Dujshebaev:

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

Talant Dujshebaev: We want to be better than last season and we want to reach the VELUX EHF FINAL4, but it will be very hard. If we want to go there, we must reach the first position in our tough group. All of us must have respect for Dunkerque, they are French champions and they played really well last year. Pick Szeged won the EHF Cup; all Danish teams are really dangerous like Aalborg with their strong defence. So our first game against Schaffhausen will be very important, we treat this team now like the best team in the world.

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

Talant Dujshebaev: The VELUX EHF Champions League is the most important competition in the world. To be at the VELUX EHF FINAL4, attended by 20.000 spectators, is the best thing ever for club players.

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

Talant Dujshebaev: Year by year we have more teams who have the chance to make it to Cologne. I think Barcelona, THW Kiel, Flensburg-Handewitt, MKB Veszprem, Vardar Skopje, Metalurg Skopje, Paris Saint Germain and KIF Kolding with Kim Andersson are supposed to be the strongest teams.

KS Vive Targi Kielce (POL)

Newcomers: Tobias Reichmann (HSG Wetzlar), Marin Sego (Orlen Wisła Płock)

Left the club: Venio Losert (Montpellier HB Agglomeration), Thorir Olafsson (UMF Stjarnan)

Coach: Talant Dujshebaev (since January 2014)

Qualification for the 2014/2015 VELUX EHF Champions League season: Polish champions

VELUX EHF Champions League records:

Participations (including 2014/2015 season): 12

Semi Final (1): 2012/13 (third ranked in VELUX F4)

Last 16 (5): 1993/94, 1994/95, 2009/10, 2011/12, 2013/14

Last 32 (2): 1996/97, 1998/99

Group Matches (3): 1999/2000, 2003/04, 2010/11

Other EC records:

11 participations in other ECs

Polish champion: 1993, 1994, 1996, 1998, 1999, 2003, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2014

Polish Cup winner: 1985, 2000, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

TEXT: Björn Pazen / cor