Bera Bera hope to surprise
In the two previous seasons, Super Amara Bera Bera tried to reach the Women’s EHF Cup Group Phase, but they stumbled against Brest Bretagne Handball in Qualification Round 3 in 2016/17 and against Kastamonu Belediyesi GSK in Qualification Round 2 in 2017/18.
The Spanish champions started this season in the continental top flight but were unable to qualify for the group matches. However, Bera Bera did better in the Women’s EHF Cup, beating Hungary’s Dunaújvárosi Kohász KA in Qualification Round 3 to reach the group phase.
Goal already reached
“For Bera Bera, playing in the group phase is a goal fulfilled. In the last two years, we were eliminated by powerful teams in the qualification and our desire was to be among the best 16 teams. We want to enjoy this phase,” said head coach Imanol Alvarez.
Bera Bera are possibly the underdogs in a competitive Group D. They will meet HC Podravka Vegeta, who started the season in the Women’s EHF Champions League, current title holders SCM Craiova and Danish club Nykøbing Falster Håndbold, who are seen by head coach Alvarez as favourites for this season’s Women's EHF Cup alongside Siófok KC Hungary and SG BBM Bietigheim.
Injured players recovered
However, the Spanish team’s coach does not intend to give up before the start. “Once we are in the group, our next goal is to reach the quarter-final,” he said.
“Our group has some high-level teams. However, our injured players are going to recover. Let’s play without pressure and we can surprise you,” added Alvarez.
Indeed, Bera Bera can now rely again on right wing Maitane Etxeberria and left back Nora Azurmendi who were sidelined earlier in the season due to injuries. On the other hand, Brazilian right back Priscila Dos Santos has undergone an operation and will not be able to play in the group phase.
Super Amara Bera Bera (ESP)
Qualification for the EHF Cup 2018/19 Group Phase:
Round 3: 48:41 aggregate win against Dunaújvárosi Kohász KA (HUN)
Newcomers: Judith Sans (FC Midtjylland), Nekane Terés (Aula Alimentos de Valladolid), Yunisleidy Camejo Rodriguez (Helvetia Alcobendas), Priscila Dos Santos (Kielce), Renata Arruda (Liberbank Gijon), Fernanda da Silva (SG BBM Bietigheim)
Left the club: Silvia Ederra (Sporting La Rioja), Ane Encina (HGB Prosetecnisa Zuazo), Andrea Zaldua (Aiala Zarautz), Giulia Guarieiro (KH7 BM Granollers), Ligia Costa (US Altkirch), Monica Ausas (Balonmano La Roca)
Coach: Imanol Alvarez (since 2018)
Team captain: Alba Menendez
Opponents in the group phase: HC Podravka Vegeta, SCM Craiova and Nykøbing Falster Håndbold - NFH in Group D
Women’s EHF Champions League records:
Group matches (1): 2013/14
Qualification tournament (3): 2012/13, 2016/17, 2018/19
Women’s EHF Cup records:
Last 16 (4): 2004/05, 2005/06, 2011/12, 2014/15
Round 4 (2): 2001/02, 2002/03
Round 3 (4): 2000/01, 2003/04, 2008/09, 2015/16
Qualification (2): 2016/17, 2017/18
Other European cup records:
Cup Winners’ Cup:
Semi-final (1): 2007/08
Quarter-final (2): 1996/97, 2012/13
Spanish league: 5 titles (2012/13, 2013/14, 2014/15, 2015/16, 2017/18)
Spanish cup: 5 titles (2006/07, 2008/09, 2012/13, 2013/14, 2015/16)