Sport likes surprises, Wlodek warnsArticle
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Women’s EHF Champions League countdown, part 8: MKS Selgros Lublin enters the new season with two ambitious new coaches, two Brazilian transfers and the hopes to proceed to the main round of the Women’s EHF Champions League.

»EHF CL Channel »2014-15 Women's News

Sport likes surprises, Wlodek warns

Polish champions MKS Selgros Lublin made their Women’s EHF Champions League comeback last season following a ten-year absence from the group phase of the competition. After a year of learning and re-building, the team now hope the time has come to climb the ladder one step further.

When the era of Edward Jankowski as MKS coach ended last season, his former assistant coach Sabina Wlodek took over the position and Monika Marzec was appointed assistant coach. Both were previously players at Lublin and know the club inside-out.

In addition to this young and ambitious duo, Lublin have signed two Brazilian players: left back  Patricia Diane De Jesus, arriving from Sao Jose dos Campos, and right wing Jessica Da Silva Quintino from Polish club Vistal Gdynia.

The two Brazilians have been brought on to fill the gaps left by Alina Wojtas (pictured below), who signed with Lublin’s second group phase opponent: Larvik, and retired Malgorzata Majerek, who remains part of the club as youth coach.

After being eliminated in the group stage of the 2013/14 season, Lublin now want to take advantage of the new playing system; in particular the fact that three teams from each of the groups – as oppose to the previous two under the old system – progress to the main round. Along with Larvik, Lublin will face two other tough opponents during the group phase: Romanian champions Baia Mare and French title holders Metz.

With those opponents in mind, team manager Edyta Danielczuk is optimistic the team can qualify for the next stage.

“The purpose of this season for our team is primarily to proceed to the main round. This will not be an easy task because we have a group of tough opponents, but we are counting on strong performances in the elite competition from our team,” said Danielczuk.

Team captain Dorota Malek hopes the team can surprise its opponents.

“This year our group is very difficult. I hope our team will show its best side. We want to fight to the bitter end,” Malek said.

Three questions to coach Sabina Wlodek:

Concerning your objectives and your group opponents, what are your expectations for the upcoming season of the Women’s EHF Champions League?

Sabina Wlodek: Our group is very challenging but still, we would like to put our best foot forward. We hope that we will manage to get close to all our opponents, though we are aware that those teams can count on players widely known as top stars. Nevertheless, sport likes surprises.

What does the participation in the Women’s EHF Champions League mean to you and your club?

Sabina Wlodek: The Champions League is a prestigious competition, so we are glad that, thanks to our performances in the domestic league, fans from Lublin will get the opportunity to watch our matches against the best European teams. For the team it is a great honour and challenge; for me it will be an indication of our current position in Europe and a chance to gain experience.

What teams are your personal favourites to reach the FINAL4 tournament of the Women’s EHF Champions League season – and why?

Sabina Wlodek: Larvik – a team with vast international experience and a whole bunch of stars on its side. Their play is very consistent and pleasant to watch. As pre-season games proved, they will fight for the FINAL4.

Buducnost – a team with charisma, playing aggressively in defence. An additional advantage is undoubtedly the return of Katarina Bulatovic. Vardar – a team with great potential and a powerful squad. Györ – for years they have been reaching out for the most important European trophies. A team with great experience and the superb Anita Görbicz.

Qualification for the Women’s EHF Champions League 2014/15 season: Polish champions

Patricia Diane De Jesus (Sao Jose dos Campos)
Jessica Da Silva Quintino (Vistal Gdynia)

Left the club:
Alina Wojtas (Larvik)
Malgorzata Majerek (end of career)
Katarzyna Wojdat (end of career)

Coach: Sabina Wlodek (since 2014)

Women’s EHF Champions League records:
Participations (including 2014/15 season): 17
Quarter-finalist (2): 1999/00, 2001/02
Main Round (4): 1995/96, 1997/98, 1998/99, 2000/01
Group Phase (3): 2002/03, 2003/04, 2013/14
Qualification (6): 2005/06, 2006/07, 2007/08, 2008/09, 2009/10, 2010/11

Other EC records:

EHF Cup:
Winner (1): 2000/01
Quarter-finalist (2): 2007/08, 2009/10
Last 16 (2): 2005/06, 2008/09

Polish league: 17 titles (1995-2002, 2005-2010, 2013, 2014)
Polish cup: 10 titles (1996, 1997, 1998, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2006, 2007, 2010, 2012)

TEXT: Björn Pazen / cg