Winterthur out for more winsArticle
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EHF Cup countdown, part 15: Pfadi Winterthur Handball (SUI)
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Winterthur out for more wins

In the previous season, when Pfadi were the first Swiss team ever to be part of the group phase, they were drawn into a tough group with two eventual participants of the EHF Cup Finals (Hamburg and Velenje), now the most traditional Swiss handball club had a bit more luck.

Winterthur will face Minsk, Bjerringbro and Saint Raphael in Group C after a much more favourable draw.

The nine-time Swiss champion had to travel long distances before they finally arrived in the group phase: first they duelled with Estonian side Pölva Serviti, then with the Polish club Azoty-Pulawy in qualification, but left no doubt lingering in both rounds as they won all four qualification matches.

Coach Adrian Brüngger can count on a well-rehearsed squad despite two key players leaving Pfadi before this season: Young shooter Luka Maros, who signed for Swiss champions and Champions League participant Kadetten Schaffhausen, and Julian Krieg, who transferred to German side Balingen.

Still, the 42-year-old goalkeeper titan Arunas Vaskevicius is one of the stars in Brünger’s team, which became domestic cup winner last season after five years without any trophy. After winning only one single group match in the 2014/15, Pfadi are out for more this time.

Parallel to their on-court development, Winterthur is working hard on their facilities: at the end of 2017 the new arena complex “WinCity” including a sport hospital, sport school, business-park, hotel and training facilities is planned to be launched.

Three questions to coach Adrian Brüngger:

What are your expectations for the EHF Cup Group Phase regarding your objectives and your group opponents?
Adrian Brüngger: We played in a top group last time. I hope that this time my team can establish themselves and and develop throughout the course of the group phase. Of course, we want to win every match, but we know that we are still the underdogs in this group.

What does the participation in the EHF Cup Group Phase mean to you and your club?
Adrian Brüngger: This participation has a huge significance for our club, as it grants us extraordinary matches on top level in a sold-out arena. It is very important for Pfadi Winterthur to be present on the international stage. We want to celebrate this group stage and want to throw a handball-party for each and every match.

What teams are your personal favourites to reach the EHF Cup Finals?
Adrian Brüngger: Silkeborg, Magdeburg, Göppingen, Chambery

Pfadi Winterthur Handball (SUI)

Newcomers: Pascal Vernier (Lakers Stäfa), Filip Gavranovic (Bregenz), Michelin Celestin (Stiinta Municipal Dedeman Bacau), Filip Maros (Lakers Stäfa)

Left the club: Luka Maros (Kadetten Schaffhausen), Julian Krieg (HBW Balingen), Simon Kindle (Fortitudo Gossau), Goran Cvetkovic (youth coach Pfadi), Dino Bajram (end of career)

Coach: Adrian Brüngger (since 2008)
Team captain: Marcel Hess

Qualification for the EHF Cup Group Phase:  Round 2, 31:24 & 21:20 against Pölva Serviti. Round 3, 29:25 & 30:23 against KS Azoty-Pulawy

Past achievements

VELUX EHF Champions League records
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

EHF Cup records
Quarter-finals: 2002/03
Group Phase: 2014/15
Round 3: 2011/12
Round 2: 2013/14
Round 1: 2012/13

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

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

City-Cup records
Semi-finalist: 1999/2000

Swiss champions: 1992, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2002, 2003, 2004
Swiss cup winners:  1958, 1998, 2003, 2010, 2015

TEXT: Björn Pazen / bc