All-star Team nominees profiles - part 2Article
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OVERVIEW: Profiles of the nominees for the VELUX EHF Champions League 2017/18 All-star Team in the categories: right backs, right wings, defenders, young players, coaches

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All-star Team nominees profiles - part 2

It is your choice again: we have selected 45 players and five coaches and the fans have a voice in who is going to be the best of the best of the VELUX EHF Champions League 2017/18.

Divided in 10 categories fans will get to vote for best player of each position as well as best defender, best young player and best coach. Players from 16 clubs and 15 nations from the current season have been nominated.

The VELUX EHF Champions League All-star Team will be announced during the VELUX EHF FINAL4 in Cologne on 26/27 May 2018. The vote will be open until Tuesday 22 May at midnight.

Fans participating in the vote can win some interesting prizes including an official semi-final match ball, a signed jersey from one FINAL4 team by the fan’s choice and Salming official merchandise for the event.

Before voting here take a look at the nominated right backs, right wings, defenders, young players and coaches.


Dika Mem (FRA) – FC Barcelona Lassa

• Joined Barcelona from French side Tremblay in 2016
• Shone this season after Lazarov’s departure, top scoring for his club in the CL with 73 goals
• At the age of 20 has already captured a WCh gold and EURO bronze with France

Albin Lagergren (SWE) - IFK Kristianstad
• One of the few IFK players, who have been present for all three of their CL campaigns
• Was the outstanding player in their run to the Last 16, top scoring with 69 goals
• Leaving IFK for German side SC Magdeburg in the summer of 2018

Alex Dujshebaev (ESP) - PGE Vive Kielce

• Son of coach Talant Dujshebaev, joined Kielce at the beginning of the 2017/18 season
• Just finished a four-year stay in Vardar, winning the first CL trophy in the history of the club at the end of 2016/17
• Named in the EHF EURO 2018 All-star team as a part of the gold medal winning Spain team

Holger Glandorf (GER) - SG Flensburg-Handewitt

• Left-handed shooter and the last remaining German 2007 world champion in the Flensburg roster
• Has overcome injury problems to deliver high levels of performance this season
• Has the full set of three major European Cup competitions titles with Nordhorn and Flensburg

Valentin Porte (FRA) - Montpellier Handball

• Arrived in Montpellier in 2016 and played his first CL matches, reaching the quarterfinals in his debut season in the competition
• Played on the right wing until 2014, when former national team coach Claude Onesta decided to place him on the back court, with great success
• Rose to prominence during the EHF EURO 2014, where he scored 16 goals in the semi-final and the final
• Golf aficionado, having taught a lot of his teammates, including FC Barcelona goalkeeper Gonzalo Perez de Vargas


Rene Rasmussen (DEN) - Skjern Handbold

• Playing his 9th season in succession for Skjern after joining from third league club Raekker Moelle
• Highly reliable wing with a great take-off from the right wing position, fast in counter attacks
• Made his national team debut for Denmark in April 2018
• his twin brother Joergen is also a handball player, but on the opposite wing, playing for league rivals and neighbours HC Midtjylland

Niclas Ekberg (SWE) - THW Kiel

• Tall wing from Ystad has large variety of shots, also effective on counterattacks
• These qualities have also earned him more than 90 internationals for Sweden
• Joined Kiel in 2012 after after his first VELUX EHF FINAL4 with AG Kobenhavn, who spotted and signed him in 2010
• Top scorer of the London Olympics 2012 (50 goals), but missed the 2016 Games due to injury

David Balaguer (ESP) - HBC Nantes

• The 26-year-old followed in the footsteps of Valero Rivera, formed in Barcelona and joined Nantes in 2015
• Barcelona tried to sign him back in the summer of 2016, but he chose to extend his contract in France instead
• Made his debut with the Spanish national team at the World Championship in 2017

Blaz Janc (SLO) - PGE Vive Kielce

• One of the biggest talents in Slovenian handball; top scorer for Slovenia at the Rio 2016 Olympics, with 28 goals in six matches
• Joined Kielce last summer, replacing Tobias Reichmann, who returned to the Bundesliga after three successful years at the club
• Playing his sixth season in the CL, after debuting at just 15 and scoring over 100 goals in the competition when he was still a teenager
• Primarily a wing player, but was the best right back at the M20 EURO 2014 (alongside players two years older than him)

Lasse Svan (DEN) - SG Flensburg-Handewitt

• One of the fastest wing players in the CL, great on counter-attacks and has a high scoring efficiency
• Second best Danish scorer at Rio Olympics 2016 another task in his team: motivation and relaxing – as his business is mental coaching
• After four seasons at GOG Svendborg he moved to Flensburg in 2008
• Was also a billiard’s champion in his home region Seeland


Luka Karabatic (FRA) - Paris Saint-Germain Handball

• Was a national-level tennis player until the age of 19, before choosing handball
• Began in Montpellier, moved to Aix then joined PSG in 2015
• PSG is the third club where he plays alongside his brother, Nikola
• Received scepticism at the beginning of his career with suggestions he was only there because of his brother, but has well proved his value since and was voted the Best Defender in last season’s CL

Tobias Karlsson (SWE) - SG Flensburg-Handewitt

• Classic powerful Scandinavian defence specialist; best defence player at the EHF EURO 2014; awarded best Bundesliga defender in the 2015/16 season
• Team captain, a great honour after legendary Lars Christiansen left SG
• Swedish champion three times with Hammarby IF, retired from the national team justbefore the 2016/17 season
• Founded an insurance company with some other former players in Sweden

Viran Morros (ESP) – FC Barcelona Lassa

• Named best defender in the Spanish league for the last five seasons
• Has won the CL three times: in 2008 and 2009 with Ciudad Real and 2015 with Barcelona
• Started out as a young player at Barcelona and left in 2003. Returned in 2011 after stints at Teucro, Ademar Leon and Ciudad Real
• Will join PSG next season

Timuzsin Schuch (HUN) - Telekom Veszprem HC

• Three-time CL All-star, voted as the best defender in 2013, ‘14 and ‘16
• Began his career in Veszprém, but left for spells in Györ and Romania before returning in 2011
• Hungarian international, but has roots in Mongolia, where his mother and the name Timuzsin come from

Ilja Abutovic (SRB) - HC Vardar

• The tall Serbian has been with Vardar since 2011, before their CL days
• Began his senior career in 2007 with Partizan Belgrade
• The defensive specialist scored one CL goal this season against Rhein-Neckar Löwen, who he will join next season


Dmitrii Santalov (RUS) - Chekhovskie Medvedi

• Born and raised in Blagoveshensk, a town in the far east of Russia
• At the age of 16 he moved to Chekhov, which is about 7,700 km from his home town and joined the handball academy of Medvedi
• Promoted to the main team of Medvedi in 2014 and at the time was the youngest player in the squad
• Studies at university in Moscow and is expected to get a diploma in ecology

Halil Jaganjac (CRO) - HC Metalurg

• Moved from PSG last summer
• The outstanding player for Metalurg in the CL this season with 52 goals
• Top scorer of the SEHA league this season

Bence Banhidi (HUN) - MOL-Pick Szeged

• Second CL season after joining Szeged from Balatonfured in 2016
• Tallest and heaviest player on the Szeged squad
• Already has over 40 appearances for Hungary at the age of 23

Romain Lagarde (FRA) - HBC Nantes

• Breakthrough season for the 21-year-old centre back, reaching double figures in goals in his fourth European Cup season
• Came into his own deputising for the injured Nicolas Claire
• Won bronze with France at EHF EURO 2018, his first major tournament appearance at senior level

Nikola Bilyk (AUT) - THW Kiel

• Born in Tunis, when his father Serhij was goalkeeper of the Esperance club. Later on, both played together for Fivers WAT Margareten in Vienna
• Youngest of all players at the 2015 WCh at Qatar at the age of 18
• Awarded MVP, top scorer and best centre back at the 2014 U20 EHF EURO in Austria
• Could choose between the offers of FC Barcelona and THW Kiel after the 2015 WCh
• Top scorer of the Austrian league in the 2015/16 season at the age of 19, netting in 210 times for Fivers, already scored 125 goals for the Austrian men’s national team


Patrice Canayer (FRA) - Montpellier Handball

• Currently in his 23rd season at the head of Montpellier, in which he has won over 40 trophies
• In 1994 he started his coaching career and coached players like Nikola Karabatic, Thierry Omeyer, Jerome Fernandez and Didier Dinart
• In his active career played for Bordeaux and Racing Paris

Ole Norgaard (DEN) - Skjern Handbold

• Joined Skjern in the summer of 2012 debuting as the coach of a senior team
• Previously head of development of talents under the Danish Handball Federation
• In his first season he led Skjern to the bronze medals in the Danish league and a ticket in the EHF Cup
• Calm and analysing coach who is good at making his players understand his plans and ideas

Raul Gonzalez (ESP) - HC Vardar

• Former stalwart of BM Valladolid and a member of the Spanish national team
• Started his coaching carrier in Atletico Madrid and Ciudad Real working in team with Talant Dujshebaev
• Replaced Zoran Kastratovic early in the 2013/14 season at Vardar
• Successor of Lino Cevar at the helm of the Macedonian national team
• Voted as best coach for the 2016/17 CL All-star team
• Won the CL in his first participation in the VELUX EHF FINAL4

Maik Machulla (GER) - SG Flensburg-Handewitt

• Took over from Ljubomir Vranjes, who left Flensburg after 11 years to join Veszprém
• Has been Vranjes’ assistent since 2013 after finishing his playing career at Flensburg
• Started his professional career for SC Magdeburg (1997-2002), where he won three European Cup trophies
• Later played for Nordhorn (already with Vranjes), Hameln and Ahlen-Hamm before arriving at Flensburg in 2012
• Stepped in as a player again several times when Flensburg had to deal with too many injuries

Thierry Anti (FRA) - HBC Nantes

• Arrived in 2009 as they just promoted to the French first lLeague
• Steered them to one trophy, the League cup in 2014/15
• Previously coached Créteil and Paris and reached the IHF Cup Winners’ Cup final with Créteil in 1989
• Reached EHF Cup Final twice but Nantes lost in both cases
• Trusts his young players and helps them develop


TEXT: EHF / cor