All-star Team nominees profiles - part 1Article
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OVERVIEW: Profiles of the nominees for the VELUX EHF Champions League 2017/18 All-star Team in the categories: goalkeepers, left wings, left backs, centre backs, line players

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All-star Team nominees profiles - part 1

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 closer look at the nominees in the categories: goalkeepers, left wings, left backs, centre backs and line players.


Tibor Ivanisevic (SRB) – Skjern Handbold

• Joined Skjern from Hungarian league club Gyöngyösi KK in January 2017
• Originally signed until the summer of 2017, but Skjern extended his contract for two more years. He will move to HSG Wetzlar after the current season
•  Played a crucial role in Skjern winning the Danish Cup and reaching the final of the Danish championship last season, and in their historic Last 16 victory over Veszprém
• Joining Skjern also kickstarted his career with the Serbia national team
• Has made a name for himself as a ‘penalty killer’ this season

Niklas Landin (DEN) – THW Kiel

• Transferred to Kiel in the summer of 2015 after three seasons with Rhein-Neckar Löwen
• Successor of legendary Kasper Hvidt in the Denmark national team. Broke through
during the World Championship 2011
• Also played for Gudme in Denmark, where he was the starting keeper at the age of 20
• Named best goalkeeper at the World Championship 2013, EHF EURO 2014 and 2016 Olympic Games, as well as for the Champions League 2013/14

Arpad Sterbik (ESP) – HC Vardar

• One of the world’s best goalkeepers who holds Hungarian, Serbian and Spanish citizenship
• Moved from Barcelona in 2014 after 10 seasons spent in Spain and signed a four-year contract with the Macedonian powerhouse
• Has received dozens of international awards, including 2005 IHF World Handball Player of the Year, MVP of the VELUX EHF FINAL4 2017, Hungarian player of the year (2002) and best goalkeeper of the Spanish league five times

Mattias Andersson (SWE) – SG Flensburg-Handewitt

• Already a regular member of All-Star teams in the younger age categories, before becoming a member of the senior national team
• Has played for Kiel (2001-2008) and TV Großwallstadt before signing with Flensburg in 2011
• Awarded “best player of the Bundesliga” for the 2011/12 season
• His saves at the FINAL4 2014 were key for Flensburg to win the one European cup trophy missing from their collection
• Is known as a preparation perfectionist – no other keeper has a bigger video archive of top players

Vincent Gerard (FRA) – Montpellier HB

• Developed in Montpellier, then moved to Istres and Dunkerque before returning to the south of France in 2015. His signing with PSG for 2019 has already been announced
• Named All-star goalkeeper at the World Championship 2017
• Became number one goalkeeper for France after Thierry Omeyer’s retirement
• His exuberant celebrations instantly made him a fan favourite


Uwe Gensheimer (GER) - Paris Saint-Germain Handball

• Joined Paris in the summer of 2016 after playing for German side Rhein-Neckar Löwen for 13 seasons
• Finished the 2016/17 season as top goal scorer in both the French league and the CL and made the CL All-star team
• has been top scorer of the CL twice, and on both occasions his team booked a place at the FINAL4 in Cologne. Aside from 2016/17, the other season was 2010/11

Valero Rivera (ESP) - FC Barcelona Lassa

• Returned to Barcelona, where he played until 2005, in summer 2016 after six years with Nantes
• Top scorer of the EHF EURO 2016 (48 goals), voted WCh 2015 best left wing and MVP in French League in 2012; also best left-wing in the French League 2012 & 2013
• His father, also named Valero Rivera, currently coaches Qatar

Timur Dibirov (RUS) - HC Vardar

• In 2013 he joined Vardar, just the second club in his career
• First was Chekhovskie Medvedi, with whom he reached the FINAL4 in 2010
• Key player of the Russian national team; voted best left wing of at the 2013 WCh
• Fast breaks specialist and also key in defence
• Married to one of the greatest Russian players - Irina Poltoratskaya, who steered Vardar’s women’s team to the CL final in 2017 as coach

Manuel Strlek (CRO) - PGE Vive Kielce

• His arrival in Kielce in 2012 represented his first steps abroad after leaving his boyhood club Zagreb, whom he made his CL debut for in 2006
• Fast player and lethal on counter attacks
• All-Star Team left wing at the EHF EURO 2010 & 2016 and in CL 2015/16
• After the 2017/18 season, will leave Kielce for Veszprém

Dominik Klein (GER) - HBC Nantes

• In 2016, after ten seasons in THW Kiel, the left winger decided to give himself a new challenge by moving to France and will retire at the end of this season
• His wife Isabell has moved with him and plays for the women's club in Nantes• Scored 1,071 goals in his 15 seasons in the Bundesliga, won 8 Bundesliga titles and 6 German cup trophies
• In his homeland played also for Obernburg, Wallau-Massenheim and Grosswallstadt


Markus Olsson (SWE) - Skjern Håndbold
• Just like Norwegian goalkeeper Magnus Dahl, joined from Swedish club IFK Kristianstad ahead of the 2015/16 season
• Has thrived with Skjern in the CL, top scoring for them in 15/16 and this season
• Will move to French side Toulouse next season

Michal Jurecki (POL) - PGE Vive Kielce

• Kielce’s powerful left back returned to Poland in 2010 after a three-season stint in Germany and spells at HSV Hamburg and TuS N-Lübbecke
• All-Star Team Left back of the EHF EURO 2016
• Under his steel covering the Polish tank hides a cheerful nature and a volcano of energy exploding in the most thrilling moments of the game
• Captain of the team since 2015/16 will move to Flensburg in 2019

Vuko Borozan (MNE) - HC Vardar

• Went through the youth ranks of RK Lovcen, which bred some of Montenegro’s finest
• Made senior debut in 2012 for Croatian side HRK Karlovac, before rising to acclaim at Bundesliga outfit TuS N-Lübbecke
• Towering sharpshooter widely regarded among the finest Montenegrin talents ever; made his EURO debut in 2014, aged only 20
• Won the CL in his first season at Vardar with an exceptional performance in Cologne

Sander Sargosen (NOR) - Paris Saint-Germain Handball

• At 21, Sagosen has already won two major awards at international tournaments: best centre back at the EHF EURO 2016 and All-star left back at the World Championship 2017
• Face of the new Norwegian generation; scouted by many top clubs before signing for Aalborg in 2014; moved to Paris ahead of the 2017/18 season
• Has shone with PSG in his debut season, living up to the hype around his transfer

Rasmus Lauge (DEN) - SG Flensburg-Handewitt

• Started as a youth player at Bjerringbro. Joined THW Kiel in 2013 for two years and won the German Bundesliga both seasons
• Moved to Flensburg-Handewitt in 2015 and was voted the team’s best player in his first year by the club’s own fans despite missing the final part of the season due to a knee injury
• Will make the next step in his career when he joins Veszprém in 2019
• National team player for Denmark since 2010, won gold at EHF EURO 2012 and 2016 Olympics


Andre Schmid (SUI) - Rhein-Neckar Löwen

• Eight-time Swiss Player of the Year, and four straight times (2014-2017) Best Bundesliga Player
• Played for both Zürich clubs Grasshoppers and ZMC Amicitia until 2009, joined Löwen after one season with Bjerringbro-Silkeborg
• Key in attack – both as playmaker and as shooter
• Team captain since Uwe Gensheimer's departure to PSG in 2016

Mate Lekai (HUN) - Telekom Veszprem HC

• Member of Hungarian national team made big impression in his former clubs PLER and Pick Szeged
• Returned to Hungary from Celje where he spent two seasons
• Had a lot of troubles with injuries during his first season with Celje and missed all important matches, but in the league final he scored five and played whole second half with broken finger

• Should get more time on court with Aron Palmarsson questionable at the start of the 2017/18 season

Luka Cindric (CRO) - HC Vardar

• Played football until he was 15, had an invitation to play for the top Croatian club Dinamo Zagreb, but rejected the offer and started playing handball as left wing
• His father is a handball coach
• Played for Ogulin (hometown), Senj, Karlovac and Metalurg
• Scored winning goal against Barcelona in last season’s semi-final

Miha Zarabec (SLO) - THW Kiel

• Joined Kiel from Celje last summer
• Played a larger than expected role this season due to Domagoj Duvnjak’s injury woes
• Shortest player in the CL at 174cm, but makes up for his lack of height with speed and agility on the ball

Nikola Karabatic (FRA) - Paris Saint-Germain Handball

• 2007, 2014 & 2016 World Handball Player of the Year – one of just two players in history to win the award three times
• One of the most complete players with strengths in both attack and defence
• Won the CL with all of his previous teams but has yet to do so with Paris, despite two trips to Cologne with PSG


Bjarte Myrhol (NOR) - Skjern Handbold
• Joined Skjern in the summer of 2015 from Rhein-Neckar Löwen
• In August 2011 diagnosed with cancer, a surgery and chemo therapy changed his life
• Always willing to fight and only two and a half months after the surgery he returned to the court

Patrick Wiencek (GER) - THW Kiel

• Enjoying the form of his life for Kiel so far this season
• Strong defensive player, but has smashed his CL scoring record this season, almost doubling his previous best of 36
• His nickname is Bamm-Bamm, due to the similarity in appearance between him and Bamm-Bamm Rubble from the Flintstones cartoon

Nicolas Tournat (FRA) - HBC Nantes

• Considered by France national team coach Didier Dinart as “one of the brightest hopes in French handball”
• Made his first national team appearance in 2015, but has not been called upon for recent competitions
• Arrived in Nantes when he was 18 and has not played for any other team since
• Seriously imposing presence on the line and difficult to stop once he gets his hands on the ball

Julen Aguinagalde (ESP) - PGE Vive Kielce

• All-Star team line player of the 2013 WCh in Spain, EHF EURO 2014 in Denmark and EHF EURO 2016 in Poland
• Nominated for World Handball Player of the Year 2012
• Joined Kielce from Atlético Mardid in 2013 for his first foreign league experience
• Five times participated in VELUX EHF FINAL4 in 2010-16, scored the deciding penalty in the 2015/16 final shootout against Veszprém

Rastko Stojkovic (SRB) - HC Meshkov Brest

• Joined Brest in December 2013 after spending a few months in Qatar
• The native of Belgrade started his career at RK Crvena Zvezda and moved abroad at the age of 24, spending four seasons in Germany with Pfullingen and Nordhorn
• Played for Kielce between 2009 and 2013 and won three Polish titles as well as four Polish Cups, also reached the VELUX EHF FINAL4 in 2013
• Was joint-ninth top scorer of the 2016/17 CL with 81 goals


TEXT: EHF / cor