Europe’s elite shine in Doha, part 1Article
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FEATURE: presents a list of the ten VELUX EHF Champions League stars that set the 2015 World Championship alight, beginning with positions ten to six

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Europe’s elite shine in Doha, part 1

Now that the 2015 World Championship in Qatar is over, focus for many of the participating players - including eight who won gold with France - shifts to the final stages of the VELUX EHF Champions League group phase, which will begin on 11 February. We take a look at the ten players that impressed most in Doha and will be in fine form for their clubs, starting with the positions ten to six.

10. Tobias Karlsson (SG Flensburg-Handewitt/Sweden)

Sweden were brilliant in the preliminary round, but then sensationally lost their opening knockout match against Poland. However, until this early exit, the defence was the key to Sweden’s success.

Just like in Flensburg, Tobias Karlsson was the clear boss of the “Tre-Kronor-Team”. He was the organiser and the main defender, and even the absence of long-term defensive partner Magnus Jernemyr didn’t hamper his performance.

9. Gonzalo Perez de Vargas (FC Barcelona/Spain)

When the Spanish Federation announced that world champion Arpad Sterbik had to miss Qatar 2015 due to a knee injury, a huge number of experts expected a clear weakening of the team. But the opposite was proved true.

Young Gonzalo Perez de Vargas stepped in brilliantly, recording the same percentage of saves as world champion Thierry Omeyer (37%) and was awarded player of the match on four occasions. Since his return to Barcelona (as successor of Sterbik, who transferred to Skopje) the talent has clearly improved and was pivotal to Spain’s run to the semi-finals.

8. Mikkel Hansen (Paris Saint-Germain Handball/Denmark)

After a weak start in Doha, the former World Handball Player of the Year’s displays on the court improved dramatically.

Although Hansen did not enjoy as outstanding a tournament as he did at the 2012 and 2014 EHF EURO events, the left back was the catalyst of the Danish attack alongside Mads Christiansen. As well as his stellar defence, Hansen was the 11th best scorer and the clear number one in terms of assists.

7. Kiril Lazarov (FC Barcelona, FYRO Macedonia)

With 45 goals in only six matches, Kiril Lazarov again proved his incredible significance for the Macedonians. In addition to his high number of goals the Barcelona right back always opened gaps for his teammates and forced many opposing teams to deploy two defenders to stop him.

In the preliminary round he was outstanding, but unfortunately missed too many shots in the crucial game against Slovenia, leading to his side’s exit from the competition and his scoring run coming to an end.

6. Uwe Gensheimer (Rhein-Neckar Löwen/Germany)

The German team captain was there when it counted and played his best international tournament to date. The Löwen left wing clearly improved his scoring efficiency on counter attacks, was cold as ice from the penalty line and finished the event as the third highest scorer with 54 goals.

Gensheimer was the leader of the young German pack, together with the goalkeepers and right back Steffen Weinhold, and was responsible for implementing coach Sigurdsson’s ideas on the court.

The top 5 VELUX EHF Champions League players at the World Championship will be published on Wednesday.

TEXT: Björn Pazen / cor