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29.01.2018, 16:20◄ last page     


EHF Cup countdown #6: Saint-Raphael Var Handball (FRA). After coming close twice in the last two years, the team of coach Joel da Silva want to become the first EHF Cup winners from France
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Saint-Raphael want to end French trophy curse

No French team have ever won the Men’s EHF Cup. Now Saint-Raphael start their next attempt to go for the trophy.

They lost unluckily in the quarter-finals two years ago, and made it to the EHF Cup Finals in Göppingen last year. However, they lost in the semi-finals against Füchse Berlin (35:24), and the following day against Magdeburg (32:31) to finish fourth.

The team of Joel da Silva will meet Berlin. The German side is of the opponents in Group B, which also include Spanish side Anaitasuna and Lugi Lund from Sweden.

“The fight with Berlin will be hard. I think they are favourites in the group. The positive aspect is that we are for sure not playing against them in the quarter-finals,” Da Silva says. “We expected to get a tough group, in which it will be hard to finish second and go to the quarter-finals.”

Saint-Raphael’s squad, with many big names from eight countries, has not changed much. The most remarkable new arrival is national team player Xavier Barachet, who moved from Paris Saint-Germain.

An off-court change is an enlargement of their playing arena with 500 additional seats, raising the capacity to 2,500.

Saint-Raphael had no problems in qualification. They beat Croatian side Dubrava clearly twice (40:29 and 41:31) in their sixth EHF Cup season.

“It is important for the club to make it to the group stage every year. It shows some stability in performance and ambitions for Saint-Raphael. And it is the opportunity for our fans to attend more high level home games”, Da Silva says.

The coach regards the three German sides Berlin, Göppingen and Magdeburg as favourites, but also his own team. If he is right, the finals would get the same line-up as last year.

Saint-Raphael Var Handball (FRA)

Qualification for the EHF Cup Group Phase 2017/18: Round 3: 40:29, 41:31 against Dubrava (CRO)

Newcomers: Xavier Barachet (Paris Saint-Germain), Alexandre Demaille (US Dunkerque)

Left the club: Slavisa Djukanovic (PAUC), Sebastien Garrain (Antibes), Jan Stehlik (Plzen)

Coach: Joel da Silva (since 2014)

Team captain: Aurélien Abily

Opponents in the group matches: Berlin, Anaitasuna, Lugi in Group B

EHF Champions League records:
-

Other European Cup records:

EHF Cup:
Semi-finalists: 2016/17 (fourth ranked at EHF Cup Finals)
Quarter-finalists: 2010/11, 2011/12, 2015/16

French champions: -
French cup winners: -


TEXT: Björn Pazen / ew

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