Motor up and running but far from homeArticle
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VELUX EHF Champions League countdown, part 23: HC Motor Zaporozhye have reached the group phase for the second consecutive season and are determined to overcome a number of difficulties to reach the Last 16 once again

»EHF CL Channel »2014-15 Men's News

Motor up and running but far from home

With home games over 500 km away from home in Kiev’s Palace of Sport, the situation is far from ideal for Zaporozhye this season.

Nevertheless, coach Sergey Bebeshko is pleased to be part of this competition after winning the qualification tournament in Hard (Austria), beating Portuguese champions Porto in the final.

“This win was very important for our further development. This season we have no fixtures in the Ukrainian championship. I’m proud of our players. they fought like gladiators,” Bebeshko said after the final.

This gives last season’s debutants another chance to leave their mark on the European handball map.

In their first VELUX EHF Champions League season the Ukrainian champions made it to the Last 16 after a sensational home win against Veszprem in the final group match.

Facing THW Kiel in the Last 16 meant the end of their journey, but Motor gained enormous experience and confidence in going so far, supported by the fact that Motor won all 20 matches of the Ukrainian league to finish on top again.

After signing two players from Dinamo Minsk and Motor ZNTU, Bebeshko strengthened his squad and account for departures such as Alexey Kamanin (end of career) and back court shooter Vladislav Ostroushko, who transferred to Hungarian side Csurgoi.

Bebeshko can still count on his tall and powerful back court shooters like Onufryienko or Burka, who was the decisive factor at the qualification tournament in Hard.

In the group phase Motor will face Polish champions KS Vive Targi Kielce, French champions Dunkerque HB Grand Littoral, as well Swiss title holders Kadetten Schaffhausen, plus two runners-up from their national leagues last season: Hungarian side Pick Szeged (current EHF Cup winners) and Denmark’s Aalborg Handball – and just like in their maiden voyage last season, the Ukrainians hope to reach the Last 16 again.

Three questions to coach Sergey Bebeshko

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

Sergey Bebeshko: I would like to repeat last year’s success and hope that my team will reach the Last 16 again. In our group there are three major forces: KS Vive Targi Kielce, Dunkerque HB Grand Littoral and MOL-Pick Szeged. But our team is able to compete with those rivals to proceed from the group stage.  

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

Sergey Bebeshko: Nowadays the remaining Ukrainian clubs are very weak but our team is prepared to participate in the Champions League. Our main goal this season is a good performance in the Champions League. All best players from the Ukrainian handball school have come to our club. The catastrophic political situation in Ukraine does not allow us to play the Champions League in our home arena. We will have to play in Kiev, our fans need to cover a large distance to follow our games. We really want to justify their trust and present them a real feast of handball. 

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

Sergey Bebeshko:  KS Vive Targi Kielce, THW Kiel, FC Barcelona, SG Flensburg-Handewitt, MKB-MVM Veszprém, Montpellier. Veszprém assembled the best of the best and this club is able to surprise. Kielce have European and world champions in their squad and they have very high ambitions. I think that these clubs and will make it to the FINAL4 this season.

HC MOTOR Zaporozhye (UKR)

Qualification for the 2014/2015 VELUX EHF Champions League season: Ukrainian champions, winner of qualification tournament 2

Newcomers: Vladyslav Dontsov, Stanislav Zhukov (both HC Motor ZNTU ZAS), Dmytro Doroshchuk, Mykola Stetsyura  (both HC Dinamo Minsk), Artem Kozakevych (HC Portovik)

Left the club: Vitaliy  Gorbachov (HC Motor ZNTU ZAS), Pavel Gurkovsky (Handball Club Dunarea Calarasi), Alexey Kamanin (no club), Vladislav Ostroushko (HC Csurgoi), Alexander Semikov (no new club), Yuriy Shamrylo (HC Zaglebie Lubin), Mykhaylo Tsap (Handball Club Dunarea Calarasi)

Coach: Sergey Bebeshko (since 2013)

VELUX EHF Champions League records:
Participations (including 2014/2015 season): 2
Last 16 (1): 2013/14

Other EC records:

EHF Cup:
Group Phase: 2012/2013
Cup Winners‘ Cup:
Quarter-finalist 2011/2012

Ukrainian league champions: 2012/2013, 2013/2014
Ukrainian cup winner: 2012/2013

TEXT: Björn Pazen / cor