Lublin hope for a fresh start in EHF CupArticle
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WOMEN’S EHF CUP COUNTDOWN #4: MKS Lublin S.A. (POL). After an unsuccessful campaign in the DELO WOMEN’S EHF Champions League, the Polish team are determined to be more competitive in the EHF Cup
 

Lublin hope for a fresh start in EHF Cup

MKS Lublin started the European season in the DELO WOMEN’S EHF Champions League, yet they were unable to pick up a win in their six group matches.

Now the Polish side continue the season in the Women’s EHF Cup, and they hope to do a better job in January. 

Three questions before the EHF Cup group phase:

- Will the top flight experience help the team?

The Polish team played in the continental top flight after a four-year absence, and even if they did not claim any points, they got some valuable experience which should help them to improve.

“Despite the defeats, our performances have given us a lot, because we gained more confidence,” says head coach Robert Lis. 

- Will Lublin progress from the group?

In the DELO WOMEN’S EHF Champions League, they had to compete with heavyweights such as Rostov-Don and CSM Bucuresti, so it was always going to be a big ask. But in the EHF Cup, the rivals are more of Lublin’s calibre, so the Polish team will try to fight for the quarter-final spots. 

"We still have a bit of time to have a deeper analysis of our group opponents, however, we all know a very high level of the national leagues in Denmark, Romania and Hungary. We will face really strong players with big experience also in their national teams, but I guess that our recent experience from DELO Women’s EHF Champions League will bring some good results," team captain Weronika Gawlik says. 

- Can the team improve their attack?

In Europe’s premier club competition this season, Lublin scored only 123 goals in six matches, just 20.5 goals on average per game. If they want to be more competitive in the EHF Cup, they certainly have to be more efficient in attack. 

Under the spotlight: Weronika Gawlik

The 33-year-old goalkeeper and team captain is one of the most experienced players in Lublin’s squad. She started her career at GZKS Sosnica Gliwice in her native town, but joined Lublin in 2011 and plays her ninth season with the team. Gawlik is a key figure both at the club and Polish national team, and she will play an important role during the upcoming Women’s EHF Cup games. 

Self-esteem

"We aim to have tight matches against all our group opponents, and we want to win at least our home games in Lublin," club president Mariusz Szmit said. 

Speaking about the importance of playing in the EHF Cup, he added: "The EHF Cup group phase in another test for our team this season after our participation in the EHF Champions League. On the one hand, it gives us the opportunity to face very good teams from Europe, on the other hand, it fulfils our aspirations to be present at international club stage. I believe it is a natural way of development for the team which regularly wins the national league."

In group C, they will face ÉRD (HUN), CS Gloria-2018 Bistrita Nasaud (ROU) and Odense Handbold (DEN).

Fun fact

In October, Lublin celebrated the 25th anniversary of their first match in European Cup competitions. In 1994, Montex Lublin made their debut in the Women’s City Cup, playing against Icelandic club UMF Stjarnan. 

What the numbers say

There are only three foreign players in the current Lublin’s roster, right back Mia Moldrup from Denmark and Croatian duo Valentina Blazevic and Gabrijela Besen. 

MKS Lublin S.A. (POL)

Qualification for the EHF Cup 2019/20 group phase:
4th place in group B of the DELO WOMEN’S EHF Champions League

Newcomers: Valentina Blazevic, Karolina Kochaniak, Natalia Nosek (all from SPR Pogon Szczecin), Joanna Gadzina (EKS Start Elblag), Aleksandra Olek (SMS Plock), Dominika Wieckowska (Korona Handball Kielce)

Left the club: Aleksandra Januchta (MTS Zory), Valiantsina Nestiaruk, Ewa Urtnowska (both pregnant), Agnieszka Kowalska (MKS Karkonosze Jelenia Gora)

Coach: Robert Lis (since 2017)

Team captain: Weronika Gawlik

European Cup records:

Women’s EHF Champions League:
Quarter-final (2): 1999/2000, 2001/02
Last 16 (1): 1995/96
Group Matches (6): 2002/03, 2003/04, 2013/14, 2014/15, 2015/16, 2019/20
Champions League (3): 1996/97, 1997/98, 1998/99
Round 2 (1): 2001/02
Qualification Tournament (8): 2005/06, 2006/07, 2007/08, 2008/09, 2009/10, 2010/11, 2016/17, 2018/19

Other EC records:
EHF Cup:

Winners: 2000/01
Quarter-finalists: 2007/08, 2009/10

Challenge Cup:
Winners: 2017/18

Cup Winners’ Cup:
Quarter-finalists: 2014/15

Polish league: 21 titles (1995-2003, 2005-2010, 2013-2016, 2018, 2019)

Polish cup: 11 titles (1996-1998, 2000-2002, 2006, 2007, 2010, 2012, 2018)


TEXT: Sergey Nikolaev / cor
 
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