Podravka happy to continue European campaignArticle
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Women's EHF Cup countdown #3: After an unfortunate experience in the continental top flight this season, HC Podravka Vegeta hope to perform well in the Women's EHF Cup.
»2018-19 Women's News

Podravka happy to continue European campaign

After a three-year absence, HC Podravka Vegeta played in the Women's EHF Champions League Group Matches this season, but the Croatian side finished bottom of their group and will now continue their European campaign in Group D of the Women's EHF Cup.

In the summer, the club brought in a number of new players as well as a new coach Zlatko Saracevic, hoping to do well in the continental top flight. After a good start with three points in as many matches, Podravka lost their final three matches and missed the chance to progress to the main round. Finishing level with Thüringer HC on three points, they ended up behind the German team due to an inferior head-to-head record.

Focusing on the next challenge

Despite the obvious disappointment, Saracevic now focuses on the next challenge: "The Women's EHF Cup is also one of the most respectable elite club competitions in Europe. After the group matches of the Champions League, we are glad to have an opportunity to continue the season in European competition. We have a chance to get more experience for our team, especially for young players."

The 24-time Croatian champions HC Podravka Vegeta have been drawn in a strong group with defending EHF Cup champions SCM Craiova along with former Women's EHF Champions League participants Nykøbing Falster Håndbold - NFH and Super Amara Bera Bera.

"Our opponents are strong and respectable teams, and every game will be hard. We will try to finish among the top two teams in the group, and if we do it, then we will go step by step," said Saracevic.

Meeting Craiova again

Notably, Podravka have already met SCM Craiova this season in the Women's EHF Champions League Qualification Tournament. The Croatian side narrowly won (22:21) and progressed to the group matches, but they remain wary of the Romanian team.

"SCM Craiova and Siófok KC are definitely the strongest teams in the EHF Cup," Saracevic said when asked about the favourites for the competition.


HC Podravka Vegeta (CRO)

Qualification for the EHF Cup 2018/19 Group Phase: 4th place in Group C of the Women's EHF Champions League.
Newcomers: Maria Holesova (IUVENTA Michalovce), Karyna Yezhykava (DVSC-TVP Debrecen), Natalia Chigirinova (Astrakhanochka), Jovana Risovic (Kecskemeti KSE), Selena Milosević (Maccabi Rishonu), Dejana Milosavljevic (ZRK Koka), Nikolina Zadravec (ZRK Bjelovar)

Left the club: Ivana Kapitanoviс (Metz Handball), Dora Krsnik (RK Krim Merkator), Ivana Dezic (SPR Pogon Baltica Szczecin), Marijeta Vidak (SCM Gloria Buzau), Elena Nemaskalo (retired), Ana Toth (RK Tresnjevka), Magdalena Horvat, Lara Pavlović (both ZRK Bjelovar)

Coach: Zlatko Saracevic

Team captain: Dragica Dzono

Opponents in the group phase: SCM Craiova, Nykøbing Falster Håndbold - NFH and Super Amara Bera Bera in Group D

Women's EHF Champions League records:
Winner (1): 1995/96
Runners-up (1): 1994/95
Semi-finals (1): 1997/98
Quarter-finals (1): 1996/97
Main round (1): 2008/09
Group matches (14): 1993/94, 1998/99, 1999/00, 2002/03, 2006/07, 2007/08, 2009/10, 2010/11, 2011/12, 2012/13, 2013/14, 2014/15, 2015/16, 2018/19
Qualification (4): 2003/04, 2005/06, 2016/17, 2017/18

Women’s EHF Cup records:
Runners-up (2): 2000/01, 2005/06
Quarter-finals (1): 2001/02
Last 16 (1): 2003/04
Qualification (2): 2016/17, 2017/18

Other European Cup records:

Champions Trophy:
Winner (1): 1995/96

Cup Winners' Cup:
Runners-up (1): 2004/05
Semi-finals (1): 2007/08

Croatian league: 24 titles (1993-2003, 2005-2013, 2015-2018)
Croatian cup: 23 titles (2003-2005, 2007, 2009-2014, 2016-2017)

Read about the other Group D clubs featured in the Women's EHF Cup countdown series here:
#6 Nykøbing Falster Håndbold - NFH
#13 Super Amara Bera Bera
#16 SCM Craiova

TEXT: Sergey Nikolaev / jw