FTC players driven to get over disappointing campaignArticle
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NEWS STORY: Hungarian runners-up hoping that a successful qualification tournament will act as a springboard to success in Europe this season
 

FTC players driven to get over disappointing campaign

After winning the Cup Winners’ Cup two times in recent years, Ferencváros are eager to make a statement in the Women’s EHF Champions League this season, for which the Greens first have to get over a tough test represented by a quite even qualification tournament.

New players, venue and hopes for Fradi

Gábor Elek was happy to take his team on the road and travel from one friendly tournament to another, as day by day matches are the best way to prepare for the Champions League qualifiers.

The core of last year’s team is intact, with the exception of Szandra Zácsik who is having a baby, and notable reinforcements were added by the arrival of Serbian goalkeeper Katarina Tomasevic, and Viktoria Soós from Győr.

From November Ferencváros will host their most important matches in the soon-to-be-finished 4,000 seater Tüskecsarnok, while lower profile opponents will be taken on in the small arena of Ferencváros which is named after the father of present coach.

“Thanks to the directed draw for the Hungarian championship we had enough time to get fully prepared for the qualification tournament,” said Elek, who achieved mixed results in the pre-season and lost the Hungarian Super Cup to Champions League holders Győri Audi ETO.

“The results do not bother me, the only important thing is to reach peak form by the time we need to,” added coach Elek.

A season to forget

The Hungarian runners-up started last year with the main round set as target in Europe but were drawn to the strongest group and finished third behind two to-be FINAL4 participants Buducnost and Midtjylland. Due to a drop of form and injuries, Ferencváros went down against Viborg in the quarter-finals of the Cup Winners’ Cup.

Elek believes it will be different this year: “The squad of Ferencváros is the second best in Hungary and we shall see where our place is in the great handball map of Europe.

“(Katarina) Tomasevic is a great goalkeeper while, (Viktória) Soós is a two-time Champions League winning right back, so we can say that our hope of reaching the group matches is well-founded.”

Fitness is key

Although Ferencváros have a bigger and more versatile squad this year, fitness remains an issue. Former Champions League top scorer Zsuzsanna Tomori, Nerea Pena, Laura Steinbach and Orsolya Vérten all missed big chunks of the previous seasons and the green faithful hope this season will finally be luckier fitness-wise.

“It would be a huge blow to miss out on Champions League action but we are confident we can reach our goal. I believe Ferencváros can rightfully claim a place among the best,” concluded Elek.


TEXT: Bence Martha / cor
 
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