Vardar’s extended stopover and Dujshebaev with all luggage – the four teams are in Cologne!Article
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NEWS: All the semi-finalist teams have finally arrived in Cologne, despite the VELUX EHF Champions League 2016/17 winners’ flight being cancelled

Vardar’s extended stopover and Dujshebaev with all luggage – the four teams are in Cologne!

It was almost 22:00 local time in Cologne on Thursday night when boarding for the 2019 edition of the VELUX EHF FINAL4 was finally completed. The last of the four teams to arrive was HC Vardar – much later than expected. 

The VELUX EHF Champions League 2017 winners’ problem? Their second flight from Vienna to Cologne was cancelled, so they had to wait for another, to Düsseldorf.

“In addition to our regular three-hour stopover at Vienna Airport, we had to wait two hours more, so we are quite tired now,” said left back Christian Dissinger, the only German player on court at the VELUX EHF FINAL4 this year. “But now we are here, and we are here to win,” Dissinger added, who had just recovered from a shoulder injury.


By the time the Vardar players had entered the team hotel, Radisson Blu, Barca Lassa had checked in already more than 24 hours ago. Traditionally, the record EHF Champions League winners arrive for European club handball’s pinnacle event at least one day earlier. On Thursday, head coach Xavi Pascual’s team had their first training session in Cologne. “It is fine to be back after last year’s absence,” said Pascual.

The second team to arrive was Telekom Veszprém. The freshly crowned Hungarian champions appeared to be absolutely relaxed. “Easy flight. Great to be in Cologne,” said playmaker Kentin Mahe, who played for two previous Champions League winners before, Hamburg and Flensburg, but was never on court at the VELUX EHF FINAL4. 

The biggest question when PGE Vive Kielce arrived was whether coach Talant Dujshebaev would be fully equipped, as it has become something of a tradition for parts of his luggage to get lost on the way to Cologne. “No problems this time – everything is here,” the five-time Champions League winner said when he entered the hotel lobby.

Kielce wing Blaz Janc was full of excitement: “My teammates who have been here already told me so much about this event. Now I am proud and happy that I will be part of it for the first time”.

TEXT: Björrn Pazen / cg