Veszprem eager to taste the success againArticle
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VELUX EHF Champions League countdown, part 20: MKB-MVM Veszprém KC added even more international firing power to their roster before the new season.

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Veszprem eager to taste the success again

When you have tasted good food for the first time, you want to taste it again and again – MKB-MVM Veszprém KC have tasted the success of being part of the VELUX EHF FINAL4 in Cologne this year, and now they want to go all the way again.

Several times they were highly close to the final destination of the VELUX EHF Champions League and failed on the last step, in the 2013/14 their time had come.

And despite finishing on the fourth position, the Hungarian record champions had given THW Kiel and FC Barcelona a great fight, honoured and cheered by hundreds of Veszprém fans in the LANXESS arena.

And to reach this goal, Veszprém have bolstered their strong squad by two former Champions League winners. Left handed hammer shooter Christian Zeitz (three times winner) arrives from Kiel, Swedish powerful line player Andreas Nilsson from Hamburg (2013 winner).

Additionally Veszprém changed their goalkeeper from Nandor Fazekas to Roland Mikler – so like in the national team the former Szeged stopper and EHF Cup winner with Pick now is the successor of Fazekas also on club level.

Their shopping spree led the Hungarians also to their upcoming group opponent Celje, signing Hungarian playmaker Mate Lekai and Slovenian goal machine Gasper Marguc.

Due to those big names, who have arrived at Veszprém, the aim is to go all the way in all competitions: Defending the Hungarian championship title for 23rd time, the Hungarian Cup for the 24th time – and to make it again to Cologne in the VELUX EHF Champions League.

But on the way to Cologne, Veszprém – traditionally – got a handful of stumble stones already in the group phase like the last season’s quarter-finallists Rhein Neckar Löwen and Vardar, 2003 Champions League winner Montpellier, 2004 Champions League winner Celje or 2010 VELUX EHF FINAL4 participants Medvedi.

“We were for sure drawn in the strongest group of this season’s Champions League,” says club director Csaba Hajnal, adding: “In our opinion there is not even one weak opponent among our competitors.”

But team captain Laszlo Nagy hopes for “this special atmosphere” to come for all Champions League matches in their every time sold-out arena, but also agrees that “we are in a very strong group”.

The preparation of the Balaton based team was anything but free of problems: Iman Jamali, Mirko Alilovic and newcomer Mate Lekai needed to undergo surgeries – and will miss some more weeks.

Three questions to coach Carlos Ortega:
What are your expectations for the upcoming season of the VELUX EHF Champions League -  regarding your objectives and your group opponents?

Carlos Ortega: We still haven’t forgotten those day we spent in Cologne, so we will do our best to return to Cologne in this season. But we will have to play very strong at first to qualify for the knock-out stage in a good position.
What does the participation in the VELUX EHF Champions League mean to you and your club?

Carlos Ortega: For us participating in the Champions League means the highest level of handball, as it is a real prestige if you can play in this competition.

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

Carlos Ortega: As usual Barcelona, Kiel and Flensburg are very strong, but also the Macedonian teams can cause a surprise.

MKB-MVM Veszprém KC (HUN)
Qualification for the 2014/15 VELUX EHF Champions League season: Hungarian Champion

Coach: Carlos Antonio Ortega (since 2012)

Newcomers: Mate Lekai (Celje Pivovarna Lasko), Gasper Marcuc (Celje Pivovarna lasko), Roland Mikler (Pick Szeged), Andreas Nilsson (HSV Hamburg), Christian Zeitz (THW Kiel)

Left the club: Nandor Fazekas (El Jaish Doha), Tamas Ivancsik (Balatonfüredi KSE), Uros Vilovski (Balatonfüredi KSE)

VELUX EHF Champions League records:
Participations (including 2014/15 season): 20
Final (1): 2001/02
Semi-final (3): 2002/03, 2005/06, 2013/14
Quarter-final (9): 1997/98, 1998/99, 1999/2000, 2003/04, 2004/05, 2006/07, 2008/09, 2009/10, 2012/13
Last 16 (2): 1993/94, 2010/11, 2011/12
Group Phase (3): 1994/95, 1995/96, 2007/08

Other EC records:
Cup Winners' Cup:
Winner 2007/08
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, 2013/14

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, 2013/14

TEXT: Björn Pazen / br