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3 months ago - 1/2/2019

Magura Cisnadie proud of continued journey

There is great pride for a town with a population of 20,000 to be represented in a European Cup competition – and that is exactly what Sports Club Magura Cisnadie accomplished last season in the Romanian league.

Magura, a young club founded just four years ago, had the best season in the club's short history in 2017/18, when they finished third in the domestic league to earn their first ever European berth.

Three years after being promoted and assembling a team that relied heavily on experienced players, Alexandru Weber’s side managed to take on a huge challenge and duly delivered, after eliminating Zvezda Zvenigorod, the former Women’s EHF Champions League winners, on their way to the EHF Cup Group Phase.

“Huge pride for the team”

“This means the world to our local community. It is a huge pride for the team, for the players and also for me, as a coach, to be here. It is also a huge chance to take in an European experience and we hope to leave every game with our head held up high,” said Alexandru Weber after Magura progressed to the group phase.

However, Magura’s work will be cut out after a difficult start to the season in the Romanian League. They are currently third after ten games, but Magura’s recent form has slipped with three losses in their past four games.

A thin roster suffered three more blows in late December: line player Ionela Goran decided to retire, while right back Deonise Fachinello and right wing Mariana Costa left to join SCM Craiova.

That left Cisnadie with only 13 players to play in both the Romanian League and the Women’s EHF Cup. Currently, the Romanian team’s roster has an average age of 28.1 years old.

“Our objective was to reach the group stage, now every game is a bonus for us and for our players,” said Weber.

“We will fight for every point”

The EHF Cup is probably the best place for outsiders to strike and Cisnadie could be the surprise package, as they try to emulate what fellow Romanian side SCM Craiova did last year, yet there is also a chance that this could just be a transitional season for a team that relies on experience if their thin roster is exposed.

“I think we were drawn in the toughest group with teams from Germany, Norway and Denmark. Talking about chances? We will try and play every game at our best and enjoy the competition. We will fight for every point we can,” said an upbeat Weber.

Cisnadie is a team that likes to slow down the pace. This could be a crucial factor when they meet sides that usually prefer a higher game speed.

“There is a plethora of strong teams. Herning-Ikast beat SCM Ramnicu Valcea twice and our Romanian side is at the top of the league. There are still NFH, Kuban or Bietigheim, who are very strong; just look at their roster,” concluded the 41-year old coach, who has been in place since 2014.

Sports Club Magura Cisnadie (ROU)

Qualification for the EHF Cup 2018/19 Group Phase:
Round 2: 57:45 aggregate win against DHC Slavia Praha (CZE)
Round 3: 50:47 aggregate win against Zvezda Zvenigorod (RUS)    

Newcomers: Gabriela Moreschi (Larvik HK), Jasna Boljevic (CSM Roman), Iulia Matei (CS Dinamo Bucuresti), Ionela Goran (Gloria Buzau)

Left the club: Dragica Tatalovic (Corona Brasov), Ivana Bozovic (Pogon Szczeczin), Larisa Serban, Maria Ilea (both Universitatea Resita), Mirela Pasca (pregnant), Deonise Fachinello, Mariana Costa (both SCM Craiova), Ionela Goran (retired), Alexandra Subtirica (unknown)

Coach: Alexandru Weber (since 2014)

Captain: Roxana Gatzel

Opponents in the group phase: SG BBM Bietigheim, Team Esbjerg, Storhamar Handball Elite in Group A

Women's EHF Champions League records: N/A

Women's EHF Cup records: N/A

Photo: Magura Cisnadie (Facebook)

Read about the other Group A clubs featured in the Women's EHF Cup countdown series here:
#2 SG BBM Bietigheim
#5 Storhamar Handball Elite
#11 Team Esbjerg

Author: Adrian Costeiu / jw