03.02.2016, 08:50◄ last page     

EHF Cup club countdown, part 5: CSM Bucuresti (ROU)

The hunger of the debutants is anything but stilled

May 2015 marked a brilliant month for the handball division of CSM Bucuresti, the multi-sport club from the Romanian capital. Both sides - men and women - made it to their domestic play-off-finals, where they both faced Baia Mare.

While the women won, the men were defeated but still reached their best position ever in the Romanian league.

The reward was their first appearance in a European Cup competition. Led by their new coach Zvonko Shundovski (previously coach of the Macedonian national team and former Romanian champions HCM Constanta, EHF Cup finals participant in 2014) they cleared their first international hurdle by eliminating Austrian runners-up Bregenz in the second qualification stage, before reaching the group phase by beating Spanish side Frigorificos Morrazo.

Shundovski and the new General Manager Bogdan Vasiliu, who replaced Constantin Caliman, now even have a special reinforcement in their squad as alongside their pre-season transfers, Macedonian centre and left back Naumce Mojsovski joined the Romanian runners-ups from Qatari team Lekhwiya.

But in the group phase CSM have to cope with some long-term injuries. Ramon Somlea and Marko Simovic are out after shoulder surgeries, Robert Militaru suffered a ligament rupture of the left foot and Milos Kostadinovic is out after his fifth metatarsal fracture in his right foot - but he hopes that he might be back for the next international matches.

CSM Bucuresti were quite happy with their group phase draw where they will face Anaitasuna, Ystad and Chambery in group D - so their hopes are high to make it to the quarter-finals in their maiden voyage on international ground.

Three questions to coach Zvonko Shundovski:

What are your expectations for the Group Stage of the EHF Cup?
Zvonko Shundovski: Our main goal is to qualify for the quarter-finals, but I am aware that it will not be easy. We have a balanced group; every team has a chance to advance in the competition, but I think that Bucuresti and Chambery Savoie Handball will qualify from the group stage.

What does the participation in the Group Stage of the EHF Cup mean to you and your club?
Zvonko Shundovski: For the club, the fact that we managed to reach the Group Stage in our first participation represents a historic performance.

As for me, I have always sought to coach teams that play at a high level and the EHF Cup is certainly an important competition. I played in the Group Stage twice with HCM Constanta, and once we even managed to qualify for the EHF Cup finals.

What teams are your personal favourites to reach the EHF Cup Finals?
Zvonko Shundovski: It is difficult to predict which teams will reach EHF Cup finals. The groups are balanced, the teams are strong and for sure, the matches will be very interesting. The competition is unpredictable since the defending champions, Füchse Berlin, have already been eliminated.

CSM Bucuresti (ROU)

Newcomers: Javier Humet (HCM Constanta), Linus Persson (Bjerringbro-Silkeborg), Naumche Mojsovski (Lekhwiya Handball Team)

Left the club: Cosmin Capota (CSM Ploiesti), Florin Dragomir (CSA Steaua Bucuresti),  Pål Wetterbrandt (IF Hallby Handboll), Alexandru Dimache (CSA Steaua Bucuresti),  Adrian Lupse (CSM Satu Mare), Razvan Mledenciu (Energia Targu Jiu), Linus Persson (destination unknown)

Coach: Zvonko Shundovski (since July 2015, from HCM Constanta, like his new assistant coach Marko Isakovic), before: Bozo Rudic (now Energia Targu Jiu)

Team captain: Iulian Stamate

Qualification for the EHF Cup Group Phase: Round 2: 28:24, 22:23 against Bregenz Handball. Round 3: 31:24, 29:29 against Frigorificos Morrazo

Past achievements

Romanian league: Runners-up 2014/15

TEXT: Bjorn Pazen / amc

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