Coaches pick their "dream team"Article
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NEWS: The Women’s EHF Champions League coaches nominated their best seven, their favourite colleagues and arenas ahead of the 2016/17 season; Györ coming out with the best results, finishing on top in five different rankings

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Coaches pick their "dream team"

Right before the start of the 2016/17 season of the Women’s EHF Champions League and like in the premiere one year ago, all coaches were asked to pick their personal dream team, their favoured arena and their favoured coach - like the VELUX EHF Champions League coaches did some weeks ago.

The questions were:

“Who is your favourite player in each playing position this EHF Champions League season except from players in your own team?”

“Which three coaches in the EHF Champions League impress you the most?” and…

“Which arena and fans in the EHF Champions League (not yours) do you enjoy playing in most?”

CSM are now in the fast lane

Nearly all coaches took part in this voting and the “dream team” has nearly the same composition as last season. Only 2015/16 debutants CSM Bucuresti, and to-be Champions league winners are in the fast lane now.

Taking into account the top three of all positions, it is obvious that the concentration of world class players in a lower number of clubs has increased: Only five clubs have two or more nominations among those top three: Rostov, Györ (each 5), Bucurest (4), Vardar (3) and Buducnost (2). Taking in account the “dream team” Rostov, Györ and Bucurest have each two of those players in their squad, Buducnost one.

Löke tops them all

Two of three players with the highest numbers of votes are Norwegian and play for Györ: Top ranked by 13 of 15 votes on the line player position is Heidi Löke, in total third ranked is new arrival Nora Mörk with nine votes in the right back position. In between those Norwegians is current IHF World Player of the Year 2015, Romanian Cristina Neagu (Buducnost), with ten votes on the left back position.

Those three had the biggest gaps in their respective rankings, while other positions were much closer: Spanish right wing Carmen Martin (Bucurest/6 votes) was ahead just by one vote of Iulia Managarova (Rostov/5) and Jovanka Radicevic (Vardar/5). The difference on the left wing and the goalkeeper position were two votes each - and the winners are both from Rostov: French new arrival Siraba Dembele (ahead of Bucurest’s new left wing Majda Mehmedovic) and Norwegian Katrine Lunde (ahead of her country-fellow woman Aari Grimbö/Györ).

Dead race in the centre back

On the centre back position there was even a “dead race” for the top position between Nycke Groot (Györ) and last season’s Champions League top scorer Isabelle Gullden (Bucurest).

Compared to the 2015/16 dream team, Lunde, Dembele, Neagu, Groot and Löke managed to “defend their titles” in their respective positions.

The coaches “Dream Team” for the 2016/17 Women’s EHF Champions League season:

Goalkeeper: Katrine Lunde (Rostov / 6 votes)

Kari Grimsbö (Györ / 4), Sabine Englert (Midtjylland / 3)

Left wing: Siraba Dembele (Rostov / 6)

Majda Mehmedovic (Bucurest / 3), Camilla Herrem (Vardar / 3)

Left back: Cristina Neagu (Buducnost / 10)

Andrea Penezic (Vardar / 3), Eduarda Amorim (Györ / 2)

Centre back: Nycke Groot (Györ) & Isabelle Gullden (Bucurest / 6 each)

Ekaterina Ilina (Rostov / 2), Nerea Pena (FTC / 2)

Right back: Nora Mörk (Györ / 9)

Anna Vyakhireva (Rostov / 3), Katarina Bulatovic (Buducnost / 3)

Right wing: Carmen Martin (Bucurest / 6)

Iulia Managarova (Rostov / 5), Jovanka Radicevic (Vardar / 5)

Line player: Heidi Löke (Györ / 13)

Oana Manea (Bucurest / 2), Marit Malm Frafjord (Larvik / 1)

Coaches and arenas:

Eleven colleagues on the benches were names by the Women’s EHF Champions League coaches. In the end Ambros Martin (Györ, and new Romanian national team coach) was on top with 12 votes, closely ahead of last years winner Dragan Adzic (Buducnost/10) And Danish Kim Rasmussen (7), who sensationally steered Bucurest to the title in May and now is Hungarian national team coach. Jan Leslie (Rostov) and Tor Odvar Moen (Larvik) received four votes each.

In contrast, the voting for the arena with the best atmosphere was a clear one: Like in 2015 - but with a much bigger gap - the Audi Arena in Györ was on top with nine votes, right ahead of another arena in Hungary, the FINAL4 venue Laszlo Papp Arena in Budapest (4). Drawn for third were Podgorica and Skopje.

TEXT: Björn Pazen / bc