It’s all about playing attractive handballArticle
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Women’s EHF Champions League Countdown - 15 days to go: HC Leipzig (GER).

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It’s all about playing attractive handball

Three times in their club’s history, HC Leipzig proceeded to the main round of the EHF Champions League - and to continue this series is the next goal for the German record champions.

The team of head coach, Norman Rentsch, finished the previous German Bundesliga season ranked third and then to follow, the current German Cup winner successfully applied for a Champions League wild card.

In the qualification tournament at San Sebastian, HC Leipzig defeated Belorussian champions, Gomel and then overcame Champions League record winners, Hypo Niederösterreich.

The German squad came out on top, thanks to a thrilling end game and the crucial goals netted from their Polish super star, Karolina Kudlacz-Gloc, who was shortlisted for the IHF World Handball Player of the Year 2015.

For the ninth time, Leipzig are participating in the group matches, following a one-year absence from Europe’s top competition and after failing last season in the EHF Cup quarter-final against their national rivals, TuS Metzingen, who were Cup finalists.

Now, HCL will face Vardar, Astrakhanochka and FTC in the demanding Group B.

Leipzig’s squad did not change that much, as the club continued to rejuvenate the team. One Icelandic international arrived (Hildigunnur Einarsdóttir) as another left (Thorgerdur Anna Atladóttir).

“We want to prove that we deserve to be among the best European teams. With our young squad, we want to develop and we want to give a performance of attractive handball,” says manager, Kay-Sven Hähner.

By having six German internationals on their squad, HCL can also deliver a great promotion for the 2017 World Championship in Germany, when the Leipzig Arena will host the Team Germany in the preliminary round.

One of those national team players is goalkeeper, Katja Kramarczyk (Schülke), who is a team captain alongside Kudlacz-Gloc. In Kramarczyk’s opinion, their participation in the EHF Champions League is a “great platform to develop the team. Although it will not be that easy, we are aiming to proceed to the main round.”

In general, Hähner is sure that “playing in the Champions League is highly important for all the players, the sponsors and the entire environment of the club”.

HC Leipzig (GER)

Qualification for the  Women’s EHF Champions League 2016/17 season: Winner of the qualification tournament 2; runners-up in Germany

Newcomers: Tamara Bösch (LC Brühl Handball), Hildigunnur Einarsdóttir (Vulkan Ladies Koblenz), Julia Weise (HC  Leipzig Junior team)

Left the club:  Kaya Diehl (SC Herrenberg), Helena Hertlein (destination unknown), Thorgerdur Anna Atladóttir (UMF Stjarnan)

Coach: Norman Rentsch (since 2014)

Team captain: Katja Kramarczyk (Schülke) and Karolina Kudlacz-Gloc

Opponents in the group matches: Vardar, Astrakhanochka, FTC in Group B

Women’s EHF Champions League records:

Participations (including 2016/17 season): 12
Main round (3): 2009/10, 2010/11, 2014/15
Group matches/Champions League (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: 1996/97
Semi-finalist: 2011/12

EHF Cup:
Finalist: 2008/09
Semi-finalist: 2004/05
Quarter-finalist: 2015/16

German league: 21 titles (1953, 1957, 1965, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1976, 1978, 1984, 1988, 1991, 1998, 1999, 2002, 2006, 2009, 2010)
German cup: 9 titles (1983, 1987, 1996, 2000, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2014, 2016)

TEXT: Björn Pazen/tm