Leipzig farewell their biggest star and look to developmentArticle
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Women’s EHF Champions League countdown, part 15: With the departure of star players, HC Leipzig now turn their focus to developing young German talents – and continuing to the main round.

»EHF CL Channel »2014-15 Women's News


Following the biggest transfer in the club’s history – World Championship 2013 top scorer Susann Müller has joined defending Women’s EHF Champions League champions Györ – HC Leipzig chose not make big acquisitions over the summer, instead integrating a number of talents from their youth programme and other German clubs into their squad.

Developing the squad is the task of new coach, Norman Rentsch, who arrived from Leipzig’s neighbour Sachsen Zwickau. Rentsch is assisted by German goalkeeping legend, Wieland Schmidt, the 1980 Olympic Champion with GDR.

Rentsch is the first non-Danish born coach at Leipzig in ten years. He succeeds Thomas Örneborg, who was replaced by an interim duo in February before Rentsch arrived over the summer. 

Despite having a new coach and some injured players – like Icelandic newcomer Thorgerdur Anna Atladottir – HC Leipzig qualified for the group phase of the Women’s EHF Champions League again. 

Just like last season, the German runners-up came to the group phase through the qualification tournament. In the qualification tournament, Leipzig beat Minsk in the semi-final (as they did in the previous season) before facing FTC-Rail Cargo in a sensational final that ended in a penalty shoot-out. 

HCL team captain Katja Schülke is confident ahead of the group stage, during which her team will face Hypo, Krim and Dinamo.

“We have a strong team that should not be unsettled by any opponent. We have proven our strength against top teams like Györ and FTC. Our clear advantage is our will to fight and that we have a well-practised squad. We are ambitious enough to set our goal of making it to the main round,” Schülke said.

For manager Kay-Sven Hähner one of the main objectives of the season, aside from fighting for the German championship and cup, has already been achieved by the team making it to the group phase.

“Now we want to make the next step – to finish this stage among the three best-ranked teams and proceed to the main round,” Hähner says. 

In the 2013/14 season Leipzig did not qualify for the next stage following a series of long-term injuries. 

Three questions to coach Norman Rentsch:

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

Norman Rentsch: In our group, all teams have the potential to proceed to the main round; maybe Dinamo are the favourites. But as usual, in sport, all matches have to be played first and no team should be underestimated if you want to succeed. Our chances of making it to the main round are neither bigger nor smaller than our three opponents. 

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

Norman Rentsch: The Women’s EHF Champions League is a great opportunity to face the best teams in the world. HC Leipzig has a good reputation on the international stage and I am convinced that we belong with these 16 teams in the group phase. For our young players this competition is a great chance for development. 

Which teams are your personal favourites to win the Women’s EHF Champions League season – and why?

Norman Rentsch: Skopje, Larvik, Buducnost and Györ are the strongest teams on paper, but every season one underdog can surprise everyone – otherwise FC Midtjylland would not have made it to the FINAL4 last season.


Qualification for the Women’s EHF Champions League 2014/15 season: winner of qualification tournament Group 1, runners-up in Germany

Kaya Diehl (HSG Bensheim/Auerbach)
Helena Hertlein (HSG Bensheim/Auerbach)
Thorgerdur Anna Atladottir (AL Flint Tonsberg Handball)
Roxana Alina Ioneac (S.C.M. Craiova)
Nicole Roth
Nicole Lederer
Luisa Sturm
Nele Reimer (all HCL youth team)

Left the club:
Natalie Augsburg (Spreefüxxe Berlin)
Debbie Bont (SERCODAK Dalfsen)
Melanie Herrmann (Frisch Auf Göppingen)
Elisa Möschter (SV Union Halle-Neustadt)
Susann Müller (Györi Audi ETO KC)
Julia Plöger (Spreefüxxe Berlin)

Coach: Norman Rentsch (since 2014)


Women’s EHF Champions League records:

Participations (including 2014/15 season): 11
Main Round (2): 2009/10, 2010/11
Group Matches (5): 1998/99, 1999/2000, 2002/03, 2006/07, 2013/14
Qualification (3): 2000/01, 2008/09, 2012/13


Other EC records:

Cup Winners’ Cup: Finalist (1): 1996/97, Semi-finalist (1): 2011/12, Quarter-finalist (1): 2012/13
EHF Cup: Finalist (1): 2008/09, Semi-finalist (1): 2004/05, Quarter-finalist (2): 1997/98, 2000/01

German league: 21 titles (1953, 1957, 1965, 1968-1973, 1975, 1976, 1978, 1984, 1988, 1991, 1998, 1999, 2002, 2006, 2009, 2010)
German cup: eight titles (1983, 1987, 1996, 2000, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2014)

TEXT: Björn Pazen / cg