Big names change clubs; France attracts top starsArticle
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NEWS FEATURE: A lot of transfer news in the women’s handball scene ahead of the knock-out stage of Women’s EHF Champions League and for the upcoming 2017/18 season

Big names change clubs; France attracts top stars

The latest big news in the Women’s EHF Champions League was a change on the bench, when Irina Dibirova (formerly known as Poltoratskaya) took over Vardar Skopje last week from David Davis - but the number of players changing their clubs ahead of next season is extremely high. has put together an overview of some big names, but it does not claim to be a complete breakdown.

The current and a former IHF World Handball Player of the Year top this list - and both return on home ground: The transfer of Cristina Neagu from Buducnost to CSM Bucuresti boosts the hopes of the defending EHF Champions League winners ahead of next season.

Heidi Löke will not return to Györi Audi ETO after her maternity leave, but will play for Norwegian club Storhamar in future. Instead, another Norwegian will make their way to the Győr-Moson-Sopron County and keep the number of players from the EURO record champions’ country equal; Stine Oftedal arrives at Györ from Paris Issy.

She will be replaced at the French capital by Austrian international Sonja Frey, who currently plays for Dijon in France. And Oftedal will be accompanied by another Scandinavian new arrival at Györ, Danish international Anne Mette Hansen (Kobenhavn) will join the two-time Champions League winners. One former Champions League top scorer will leave Györ instead, but the new destination of Zsuzsanna Tomori is currently unknown.

Besides Neagu, some more big names have already announced or are supposed to leave 2012 and 2015 Champions League winners Buducnost: Serbian line player Dragana Cvijic will join Vardar Skopje, while Montenegrin right back, EHF Player of the Month February and four-time Champions League winner Katarina Bulatovic has had an offer from Russian powerhouse Rostov-Don.

Former Buducnost player Jelena Despotovic, who currently plays for Hungarian side Debrecen, will transfer to Krim Mercator in Slovenia. On the other hand, French line player Laura Kamdop will leave Krim to return to her former club Fleury.

This transfer is only one of a huge number of players, who make it to France, as the French league is becoming more and more interesting and attractive. Perfect examples for this are Spanish wing Carmen Martin and Swedish left back Linnea Torstensson. Both leave defending Champions League winners CSM Bucuresti to enjoy the sun and the handball at OGC Nice at the Cote d’Azur.

The Swedish duo Filippa Idehn (Esbjerg) and Louise Sand (Sävehof) will join big names such as Allison Pineau or Marta Mangue at EHF Cup quarter-finalist Brest Bretagne Handball. And tall Spanish line player Elisabet Chavez will become their “neighbour”, when she starts playing for Loire Atlantique Nantes from next season onwards.

Goalkeeper Idehn will be replaced at current Danish champions Esbjerg by Danish international Sandra Toft, who will leave the 2011 Champions League winners Larvik HK. Besides that, Serbian international Kristina Liscevic will join Esbjerg after one year at Kisvarda. Dutch EURO and World Championship silver medallist Laura van der Heijden will make her way to Hungarian runners-up and Champions League quarter-finalist Ferencvaros.

Another player, who is searching for a new club is Serbian left back Sanja Damnjanovic, who will leave Vardar after this season. Others, like two German internationals currently signed by HC Leipzig have already found their new destination: Shenia Minevskaya will join her former club, 2016 EHF Cup finalist TuS Metzingen, while Anne Hubinger signed for current German champions Thüringer HC.

TEXT: Björn Pazen / bc