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06.02.2018, 11:40◄ last page     


EHF Cup countdown #15: KS Azoty-Pulawy (POL): The first team from Poland to make it to the group phase, Pulawy have moderate expectations against strong opponents
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Polish debutants want to gain international experience

The current EHF Cup season is a historic one for Polish handball. While top sides Kielce and Plock are regular contenders in the VELUX EHF Champions League - and Kielce even winning the trophy in 2016 - no club from Poland reached the EHF Cup Group Phase before since its implementation in the 2012/13 season.

This time, KS Azoty-Pulawy are ending the Polish group phase curse, four years after the club celebrated their biggest international success so far by reaching the Challenge Cup Semi-finals.

The team of head coach Daniel Waszkiewicz were lucky as they only qualified on away goals. They beat favoured Danish side Holstebro 30:27 at home before losing the away leg 32:29, just enough to scrape through and clinch their group phase berth.

In the last two seasons Pulawy was eliminated in the third qualification round by Winterthur and Benfica, respectively.

Located in the 48,000-inhabitant city in the Lublin region, the club are celebrating their 15th anniversary without several crucial players who left Pulawy in the off-season.

Polish internationals Przemyslaw Krajewski (Orlen Wisla Plock) and Rafal Przybylski (Fenix Toulouse) have moved, as well as Czech internationals Jan Sobol (Dijon Bourgogne) and Leos Petrovsky (Bergischer HC).

The Polish debutants, with top star and team captain Bartosz Jurecki and Russian goalkeeper Vadim Bogdanov, will face Chambéry, Granollers and Thun in Group D.

Pulawy have moderate expectations going into their first group phase adventure.

“We want to gain experience against those strong opponents and we hope to win some matches, mainly on home court,” coach Waszkiewicz says. “We are happy to test ourselves in European competitions. By playing the group phase we hope for a further development of the team and to establish international contacts.”

For Waszkiewicz, the main candidates for making it to the EHF Cup Finals are the clubs from Germany and France.

KS Azoty-Pulawy (POL)

Qualification for the EHF Cup Group Phase 2017/18: Round 3: 30:27, 29:32 against Holstebro (DEN)

Newcomers: Pawel Podsiadlo (USAM Nime Gard), Marko Panić (Chambery Savoie), Piotr Jarosiewicz (SMS Gdansk), Daniel Dupjachanec (Metalurg Skopje), Witaliji Titow (KPR Legionowo), Tomasz Kasprzak (KPR Legionowo), Wojciech Guminski (KPR Legionowo), Mateusz Seroka (MMTS Kwidzyn)

Left the club: Przemyslaw Krajewski (Orlen Wisla Plock), Rafal Przybylski (Fenix Toulouse), Sebastian Zapora (Pogoń Szczecin), Jan Sobol (Dijon Bourgogne), Leos Petrovsky (Bergischer HC), Michal Kubisztal (Unia Tarnow)

Coach: Daniel Waszkiewicz (head coach), Zbigniew Markuszewski (assistant, both since July 2017)

Team captain: Bartosz Jurecki

Opponents in the group matches: Chambéry, Granollers, Thun in Group D

EHF Champions League records:
-

Other European Cup records:

Cup Winners' Cup:
-

EHF Cup:
Qualification: 2015/16, 2016/17

EHF Challenge Cup:
Semi-finalists: 2013/14
Quarter-finalists: 2010/11, 2014/15

Polish champions: -
Polish cup winners: -


TEXT: Björn Pazen / ew

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