27.12.2017, 21:17◄ last page     

Women’s EHF Cup countdown #9: Polish champions Vistal Gdynia are set to tread further new international ground in the Women's EHF Cup after a tough debut experience in the Women’s EHF Champions League.

New coach, new captain, new goals in Gdynia

Six defeats in the Women’s EHF Champions League group phase, a new coach and a new team captain - many things have happened at Gdynia since the start of their first-ever Champions League mission in September.

The Polish champions were taught six harsh lessons by the powerhouses of European club handball including 2016 champions CSM Bucuresti, Danish champions Nykøbing and former CL winners Krim Ljubljana.

But the Baltic Sea-based team now restart their European campaign in group C of the Women’s EHF Cup where they will face two top Scandinavian sides (Viborg HK and Byasen Handball Elite) along with Turkish champions Kastamonu Belediyesi GSK.

This new challenge will be handled by a new coach after Giennadiy Kamelin took over the team from Agnieszka Truszynska on 1 December who will now only focus on the preparation of the Polish U18 women’s team ahead of the IHF Women’s Youth World Championship in August 2018 on home soil. Along with Truszynska leaving, experienced team captain and Polish international Malgorzata Gapska has also ended her career, but this could mean a chance for fresh faces to emerge.

“Our young team hopes to gain experience in the EHF Cup which will hopefully pay off in the future,” said Kamelin, ahead of the group phase which starts next month.

“We hope that in this competition we manage to take some points against again strong opponents. Viborg, in my opinion, are not only the favourites of winning the group, but also the trophy in the end.”

Along with Viborg, Kamelin also added Brest Bretagne, Kristiansand and H65 Höör to his list of main contenders for the title.

Gdynia, EHF Challenge Cup semi-finalists in 2010, are making their debut in this stage of the EHF Cup - after their maiden voyage in the EHF Champions League and to make it back to the elite club competition again is their major goal in domestic competitions after winning the Polish title last season.

Vistal Gdynia (POL)

Qualification for the 2017/18 EHF Cup Group Phase: Polish champions, fourth-ranked in Women’s EHF Champions League Group Phase

Newcomers: Alicja Pękala

Left the club: Monika Kobylinska, Kinga Lalewicz, Gabriela Urbaniak, Aleksandra Dorsz, during the season: Malgorzata Gapska (end of career)

Coach: Giennadiy Kamelin (since December 2017, former coach Agnieszka Truszynska)

Team captain: Magdalena Stanulewicz

EHF Women’s Champions League records:
Group phase (1) 2017/18
Qualification (1): 2012/13

Other EC records:
Cup Winners’ Cup: Last 16 2012/13
EHF Cup: round 2 2010/11
Challenge Cup: semi-finals 2009/10

Polish League:  Two titles (2012, 2017)
Polish Cup: Three titles (2014, 2015, 2016)

TEXT: Bjorn Pazen/amc

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