World and Olympic champion carries Tatran's hopesArticle
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EHF Cup countdown #5: Handball Team Tatran Prešov (SVK). After missing out on the Champions League Group Phase, the Slovak champions are eager to perform well in the EHF Cup
»2017-18 Men's News

World and Olympic champion carries Tatran’s hopes

For the 18th time Tatran Presov are part of an EHF club competition. Since 2004 the Slovak record champions have been appearing in either the Champions League or the EHF Cup each year.

This season they hoped to qualify for the Champions League Group Phase again. Led by a new coach, former world and Olympic champion Slavko Goluza of Crotia, and hosting the qualification tournament, Presov had their hope shattered in the semi-finals by Austrian champions Hard.

Presov beat Finnish champions Cocks in the 3/4 placement match and continued their European journey in the EHF Cup.

However, they nearly missed out on the group phase of this tournament as well. Only thanks to the higher number of away goals, they beat Icelandic champions Hafnarfjördur.

In the group, Presov face even higher hurdles with Magdeburg, Bjerringbro and Minsk as opponents.

„All teams in our group are of top quality with SC Magdeburg standing out as one of the leading forces in the Bundesliga,” Goluza says. “As for Bjerringbro and Minsk, we believe we can be competitive with these teams. We do not fear them and we will look for our chances to win.”

On club level, the former Croatian national team coach was at the helm of Zagreb in the Champions League twice, now Goluza is having his debut in the EHF Cup.

“To me as a coach, of course, it is a great challenge. As a player and coach I competed in EHF competitions,” he says. “I am sure we will represent the club and the city in the best possible manner and that we will not only be tourists in the competition but will give our best in every match.”

Besides the coach, also the Tatran management changed. Since the start of this season, Miroslav Benicky is the new general manager.

The squad contains players from six countries, with the majority of the foreign players from Croatia and Czech Republic.

Goluza is sure to be competitive in the group, but others are his main contenders for the EHF Cup Finals in Magdeburg: “I favour the teams from strongest European leagues – Germany and France. But I also expect some surprises. So it will be another great competition.”

Goluza and the team are hoping for a comeback of Oliver Rabek at the end of the group phase. He has been out with a shoulder injury since the pre-season.

Handball Team Tatran Prešov (SVK)

Qualification for the EHF Cup Group Phase 2017/18: Round 3: 24:21, 23:26 against Hafnarfjördur (ISL)

Newcomers: Bruno Butorac (RK Dubrava), Mario Cvitković (Karlskrona), Ante Babić (RK Dubrava), Michal Kasal (Granollers), Januš Lapajne (Metalurg Skopje)

Left the club: Viacheslav Sadovyi (Odorheiu Secuiesc), Alexey Peskov (Spartak Moscow), Stefan Janković (without club), Marek Paleš (SC Ferlach),

Coach: Slavko Goluža (since 2017, successor of Rastislav Trtik)

Team captain: Radovan Pekar

Opponents in the group matches: Magdeburg, Bjerringbro and Minsk in Group A

EHF Champions League records:
Last 16 (1): 2004/2005
Last 32 (1): 1993/1994
Group Phase (5): 2005/2006, 2007/2008, 2008/2009, 2010/2011, 2015/16
Qualification (6): 2009/2010, 2011/2012, 2012/2013, 2013/2014, 2014/2015, 2017/18

Other European Cup records:

EHF Cup:
Quarter-finalists: 2011/12
Last 16: 1994/1995, 1995/1996

EHF Cup Winners’ Cup:
Quarter-finalists: 2005/06
Last 16: 2007/08, 2008/09

Slovak champions (13): 2003/04, 2004/05, 2006/07, 2007/08, 2008/09, 2009/10, 2010/11, 2011/12, 2012/13, 2013/14, 2014/15, 2015/16, 2016/17

Slovak cup winners (14): 2001/02, 2003/04, 2004/05, 2006/07, 2007/08, 2008/09, 2009/10, 2010/11, 2011/12, 2012/13, 2013/14, 2014/15, 2015/16, 2016/17

TEXT: Björn Pazen / ew