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EHF EURO COUNTDOWN #7: Hungary. A coaching duo and an interesting mix of players are Hungary’s assets as they aim for their best result in eight years

»EHF Euro Events Channel »2020 Women's News

After head coach Kim Rasmussen’s departure in December 2019, Hungary did not stumble in finding a replacement, yet acted decisively. They thought two minds are better than one and this EHF EURO, the Hungarian side will search for lost glory with Gabor Elek and Gabor Danyi on the bench.

The FTC and Györ coaches share the same train of thought in Denmark, as they seem the best choice to guide a team stuffed with homegrown talent.

From the 21-player roster selected by Elek and Danyi, 11 players are plying their trade for clubs in the DELO EHF Champions League, while six others are representing Vác and Siófok, teams which are qualified for the EHF European League group phase.

Main facts:

  • Hungary, the 2000 champions, have progressed to the main round each time, but have failed to finish better than sixth since winning bronze in 2012
  • Hungary are the only team from the 16 at the EHF EURO 2020 with a coaching pair on the bench
  • all the 21 players initially selected by Danyi and Elek are plying their trade in the Hungarian league
  • the average age of the roster is 25.8 years, with back Zsuzsanna Tomori (33) the most experienced player, while players like Greta Marton, Katrin Klujber or Rita Lakatos have just turned 21 this year

Most important question: How will the coaching duo cope under pressure?

Coaching duos have a rarity in modern handball. After Danish coach Kim Rasmussen, the Hungarian federation decided to stay true to its roots. It was an unexpected appointment, but for the Hungarian women’s national team it could not get any better than Gabor Danyi and Gabor Elek.
The two coaches, currently working at national top clubs and DELO EHF Champions League regulars Györi Audi ETO KC and FTC-Rail Cargo Hungaria, will mold their domestic rivalry into trying to bring back the national team into the spotlight.

Hungary have failed to win an EHF EURO medal since 2012, but with an interesting mix of youth and experience, they look set to be on the right path.
With all selected players coming from the Hungarian league, there could hardly be anyone better than Danyi and Elek to lead the team, but the main focus point will be how will they work together under pressure.

Sure, both Györ and FTC deploy a high-octane game with a free-flowing attack, yet trouble could brew in the heat of the game.

Under the spotlight: Katrin Klujber

Aged 21, Katrin Klujber has already played 15 games for the Hungarian national team, scoring 65 goals. The powerful right back has also been an unstoppable force in the past two seasons of the DELO EHF Champions League, scoring 138 goals after her breakthrough in the main round of the 2018/19 season.

A gold medallist at the IHF Women’s Youth World Championships in 2018 with Hungary, Klujber had her ups and downs throughout this season, but has already scored 29 goals in five EHF Champions League games this season.

She might not be the leader of this team, but the future looks hers, as she should feature in a star-studded back line in years to come, alongside fellow FTC left back Noemi Hafra, who was the All-star Team left back at the EHF EURO 2018.

Did you know?

Only four teams join Hungary as the teams who played in all EHF EURO tournaments – Denmark, Norway, Germany and Russia. Hungary won 48 games at the EHF EURO, a feature only bested by Norway (79) and Denmark (58)

Past achievements:

EHF EURO participations (including 2020): 14
Winners: 2000
3rd: 1998, 2004, 2012
4th: 1994

World Championship:
Winners: 1965
2nd: 1957, 1982, 1995, 2003
3rd: 1971, 1975, 1978, 2005

Olympic Games:
2nd: 2000
3rd: 1976, 1996

TEXT: Adrian Costeiu