Third time lucky for Polish champions?Article
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Women’s EHF Champions League club countdown: 5 days to go - MKS Selgros Lublin (POL)

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Third time lucky for Polish champions?

Times are changing at Lublin, but the goal remains the same: After the Polish champions belonged to the rare group of Women’s Champions League participants with a female coach - Sabina Wlodek - now they have a new female manager, Marta Daniewska.

And also the club leadership has changed as the appointed a new president in Marcin Lipiec.

With Dorota Matek ending her active career a new team captain was needed. Goalkeeper Weronika Gawlik is now the person taking on that role.

Gawlik is back between the goal posts after an injury break in the previous season.

Lublin narrowly failed to qualify for the main round, crucially drawing with Metz.

But the Polish champions continued quite successfully in the Cup Winners’ Cup, making it to the quarter-finals.

But FC Midtjylland, the eventual champions, ended their dreams.

Lublin’s squad since then did not change that much.

Most famous arrival from Gdynia is Polish international Iwona Niedzwiedz, who will add more experience to the nearly all-Polish squad, in which Brazilian Jessica da Silva Quintino, Alesia Mihdaliova (Belarus) and Ekaterina Dzhukeva (Bulgaria) are the only players from abroad.

In Group D, Lublin will face two powerhouses in the group matches, defending champions Buducnost and uprising Romanian champions Bucuresti.

So the Polish champions are seen to be fighting for the third spot and thus the qualification for the main round against rejuvenated Swedish champions Sävehof.

From the composition of the group, it is nearly the same as in the 2014/15 season, when Lublin were drawn with Larvik, Baia Mare and Metz.

“We hope for perfect performances in our home matches,” says new manager Marta Daniewska.

But she is aware of the class their opponents in the group matches represent:

“It will be an honour for us to host the defending champions from Buducnost; after a few transfers Bucuresti will be a tough opponent, as well as Sävehof.

“Those matches are a great opportunity not only for the players, but also for the club.

“We are proud to be part of this prestigious competition again and to face some of the best teams in the world.”

“We hope to proceed from the main round in our third straight appearance in these group matches.

“Those two previous seasons hopefully provided us with the experience to achieve this goal,” says new team captain Weronika Gawlik, adding: “We will fight until the end, mainly in our home matches, but we all know that in a competition like the Champions League there are no weak teams.”

MKS Selgros Lublin (POL)

Qualification for the 2015/16 EHF Women’s Champions League season: Polish champions

Newcomers: Iwona Niedzwiecz (Vistal Gdynia), Edyta Charzynska (MKS AZS Lublin)

Left the club:  Dorota Matek (end of career), Valentina Nestsianuk (Energa AZS Koszalin), Alexandra Baranowska (Sachsen Zwickau), Dagmara Vacuk (on loan to Olimpia Novi Sacz)

Coach: Sabina Wlodek

Team captain: Weronika Gawlik

Opponent in the group phase: Buducnost, Bucuresti, Sävehof in Group D

EHF Women’s Champions League records:

Participations (including 2015/16 season): 18
Quarter-finals: 1999/00, 2001/02
Last 16: 1995/96
Group Matches/Champions League: 1996/97, 1997/98, 1998/99, 2000/01, 2002/03, 2003/04, 2013/14, 2015/16
Qualification: 2005/06, 2006/07, 2007/08, 2008/09, 2009/10, 2010/11

Other EC records:

EHF Cup:
Winner 2000/01
Quarter-finals: 2007/08, 2009/10

Cup Winners’ Cup:
Quarter-finals 2014/15

Polish champion: 18 times (1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2013, 2014, 2015)
Polish Cup winner: 10 times (1996, 1997, 1998, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2006, 2007, 2010, 2012)

TEXT: Björn Pazen / bc