Learning from a challenging adventureArticle
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EHF Cup countdown, part 4: Pfadi Winterthur Handball (SUI)

Learning from a challenging adventure

For more than a decade Pfadi were the leading force in Swiss handball, becoming domestic champions nine times until 2004 and making it at least to the quarter-finals of all EHF European Cup competitions (Champions League, EHF Cup, Cup Winners’ Cup, City Cup and Challenge Cup). In 2001 Winterthur even managed to reach the final of the Challenge Cup.

Now Pfadi is the first Swiss team to reach the group phase of the “new” EHF Cup after eliminating Nis (SRB) and Topolcany (SLK) in the two qualification rounds. The team of head coach Adrian Brüngger will face Haslum, Hamburg and Velenje in Group A.

The club’s best known new arrival is highly experienced Lithuanian goalkeeper Arunas Vaskevicius, who had been part of Kadetten Schaffhausen Champions League squad in the past. Now Pfadi will start their international adventure and at the same time hope to raise a trophy in domestic competition.

Manager Bruno Schenk is eagerly looking forward to the maiden voyage in the group phase: “We are very proud, having reached this stage of competition. This will be a big sporting and financial challenge, but with the great passion we have within our club, we will take this hurdle in a good manner.”

Team captain Marcel Hess hopes that the European journey will continue after the group phase: “The team of Pfadi Winterthur is thrilled to have reached the next step in the EHF Cup. Regardless of the competitive opponents we are dedicated to show our best handball to let the great adventure continue.”

Three questions to coach Adrian Brüngger:

eurohandball.com: What are your expectations for the EHF Cup Group Phase - regarding your objectives and your group opponents?

Adrian Brüngger: We have a young and relatively inexperienced team. Our objective is to learn from each game and to adapt quickly to the international level. Of course we also want to win games, especially when playing at home.

eurohandball.com: What does participation in the EHF Group Phase mean to you and your club?

Adrian Brüngger: It is a big challenge and honour to represent Pfadi Winterthur and Switzerland in Europe. Pfadi has a long tradition and big history. In the nineties Pfadi qualified three times for the Champions League quarter-finals. The EHF Cup group phase is a big chance to relive those glory days.

eurohandball.com: Which teams are your personal favourites to reach the EHF Cup Finals?

Adrian Brüngger: The German teams are favourites in each group but maybe we will experience a big surprise.

Pfadi Winterthur (SUI)

The road to the Group Stage:
Round 2: Winterthur vs. Zelesnicar Nis 35:26, 30:29
Round 3: Winterthur vs. Topolcany 28:26, 32:25

Newcomers: Milan Corovic (Qatar), Arunas Vaskevicius (Kadetten Schaffhausen)

Left the club: Martin Pramuk (HSC Suhr/Aarau), Robert Konecnik (HSC Suhr/Aarau)

Coach: Adrian Brüngger (since 2007)

EHF European Cup competition records:

VELUX EHF Champions League :
Quarter-finals : 1996/97, 1997/98
Last 16: 1994/95, 2003/04
Group Phase/Champions League :  1995/96, 1998/99, 2004/05
Qualification : 2002/03

Quarter-finals: 2002/03
Round 3: 2011/12
Round 2: 2013/14
Round 1: 2012/13

EHF Cup Winners’ Cup
Quarter-finals: 1993/94
Round 3: 2010/11
Round 2: 2005/06

EHF Challenge Cup
Finalist: 2000/01
Semi-finalist: 2007/08

Semi-finalist: 1999/2000

Swiss champions: 1992, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2002, 2003, 2004

Swiss cup winners:  1958, 1998, 2003, 2010

TEXT: Björn Pazen / cor