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27.01.2019, 09:00
Granollers fighting for EHF Cup progression in 75th year
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MEN’S EHF CUP COUNTDOWN #5: Fraikin BM. Granollers are celebrating a club milestone with another shot at the Men’s EHF Cup Group Phase
 

Granollers fighting for EHF Cup progression in 75th year

This year marks Fraikin BM. Granollers’ 75th anniversary and the club is marking the occasion with its fifth successive appearance in the Men’s EHF Cup.

The Catalan side is also a regular in the top tier of the Spanish ASOBAL League – a strong achievement for a club which sees a high turnover of players each summer.

Granollers have won the EHF Cup twice, in 1995 and 1996, and reached the final in 2016 in Nantes. However coach Antonio Rama is a little less confident about his team’s chances this year.

“Being realistic, we will fight for second position in the group but we can finish in fourth without anything exceptional happening,” he says.

Rama rates Granollers’ opponents in Group D highly. He says THW Kiel have no rivals in the group, while people do not give Danish club GOG the recognition they deserve.

“They’re a fast team, with talented young players and they are a good team,” Rama says of GOG.

Granollers beat Polish team KS Azoty-Pulawy in both legs last season, but Rama says they, too, are to be feared.

“They can beat us and for sure they will win some points,” he says. 

Matches against Kiel will be special for the club as the German team are one of the biggest clubs in Europe with vocal fans.

“We want to enjoy this experience, at home and away, and we want to share this with our fans,” adds Rama.

Reforming the team

This summer, seven players, including centre back Marc Cañellas and captain David Resina, left the club. This is, unfortunately, common for Granollers, a club with great home players who leave for bigger teams.

This forces Granollers to adapt new players to the team each season, making the first matches in the ASOBAL League and qualification for the EHF Cup challenging.

This year, the return of former Granollers player and international representative Antonio Garcia added experience. Crucially Rama was able to secure the continued participation of last season’s top scorer Adrian Figueras, who was named MVP of the ASOBAL League in 2016 and 2018 and is also a member of the national team.

The new-look Granollers also features three young players stepping up from the second team.

Rama is not ruling out a surprise for his side, but is clear about which teams he picks as the favourites for the cup – Germany sides Kiel and defending champions Füchse Berlin, and last year’s runners-up Saint-Raphael VAR Handball.

“Of course, there is a space for a surprise, but just a small one. It’s seems difficult for any of the other teams to beat one of the favourites in the quarter-final legs,” he says.

Fraikin BM. Granollers (ESP)

Qualification for the EHF Cup Group Phase 2018/19: Round 3: 57:49 aggregate win against RK Gorenje Velenje.

Newcomers: Borja Lancina (Bidasoa Irún), Oswaldo Dos Santos (Helvetia Anaitasuna), Ivan Popovic (Bidasoa Irún), Antonio Garcia (CSM Bucarest), Victor Saez (Handbol Sant Quirze)

Left the club: Alvaro Cabanas (BM. Benidorm), Gonzalo Porras (BM. Benidorm), Roland Bernantonis (SBS Eger), Albert Pujol (Helvetia Anaitasuna), Marc Cañellas (IKF Kristianstad), Josep Reixach (H. Bordils), Jorge de Silva (Blendio Sinfín), David Resina (retired)

Coach: Antonio Rama (since 2017)

Team captain: Marc Garcia

EHF Cup records:
Winner (2): 1994/95, 1995/96
Semi-finals (1): 1996/97
Quarter-finals (2): 2004/05, 2017/18
Final tournament (1): 2015/16
Last 16 (2): 2007/08, 2011/12
Group phase (2): 2016/17, 2014/15

Other European Cup records:

Cup Winner’s Cup:
Final (1): 2009/10
Quarter-finals (1): 2005/06

Spanish champion: 10 titles

Spanish cup: 1 title


TEXT: Laia Coll/jh
 
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