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05.02.2019, 09:00
Nexe aim to repeat last season's success
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MEN’S EHF CUP COUNTDOWN #14: With a bolstered line-up and motivation from a great start to the season, the long-time Croatian vice-champions hope to be among the eight teams fighting for a place in Sparkassen-Arena
 

Nexe aim to repeat last season's success

After reaching the quarter-finals in 2017/18, long-time Croatian vice-champions RK Nexe are aiming high in this season of the EHF Cup. 

Following their place as third best second-ranked team in the group phase last season, Nexe faced Füchse Berlin, who went on to win the competition, in the first round of knock-out matches. It was not an easy clash, and the German side blocked Nexe’s way to the EHF Cup Finals – but the players gained importantexperience, and their ambition is to show that this time around. 

Nexe had a strong start to the season, as they claimed an historic win over PPD Zagreb. The first victory ever against the big rivals motivated the team for what is coming next, especially in the European competition. The goal is to stay on the same route and become one of the eight teams in pursuit of a place at Sparkassen-Arena, Kiel in May.

New players, same ambitions

The Nasice-based team have a few new names on their list, forming a mixed squad of young and experienced players. One of the most prominent transfers was Halil Jaganjac, a 20-year-old Croatian talent who has already ranked among the top scorers in both the VELUX EHF Champions League and the SEHA-Gazprom League. From his many choices, Jaganjac decided to return to Croatia from Metalurg this season. 

Anotherfresh face in the team this season is Tomi Vozab, who arrived from Nimes. One player from the transfer list who is missing is Mihailo Radovanovic. The Serbian goalkeeper was injured in the qualification match against Greek club Olympiacos SFP and will be recovering for the rest of the season.

“We have somenew and someold faces in our roster. The main goal is to repeat last season’s result. We will give our best and then you never know. Surprises are always possible, but we know that we have tough opponents,” said coach Hrvoje Horvat. “I believe in my team, and we want to finish in one of the two top places of the group.” 

Continuity in Nasice

This is Nexe’s 11th successive season in the EHF Cup and, for the fourth time, head coach Hrvoje Horvat’s team has made it among the top 16 in the competition. For the Croatian club, being part of the EHF Cup is a form of validation – that they are doing an excellent job in a small city and showing they can play against anyone. Fans are an important part of the team, supporting the club every step of the way.

Nexe will try to set up another major result in Group B against TSV Hannover-Burgdorf, Grundfos Tatabanya KC and HC Eurofarm Rabotnik.

“We respect allof our opponents but for me, a slight advantageis on Hannover’s and Tatabanya’s side. Maybe the toughest match for us will be the one against Hannover,” said Horvat. “We must not forget Eurofarm Rabotnik, a team that can stun everyone, especially at home.”

Nexe’s first match in the EHF Cup Group Phase is against Grundfos Tatabanya on February 8 and their first home clash is on February 16, when they host Hannover. 

RK Nexe (CRO)

Qualification for the EHF Cup Group Phase 2018/19: Round 3: 55:47 aggregate win against Olympiacos SFP (GRE)

Newcomers: Halil Jaganjac (HC Metalurg), Moreno Car (HC Porec), Mihailo Radovanovic (Ramat Hasharon HC), Ivan Vida (HC Dubrava), Vladan Loncar (HE-DO B. Braun Gyöngyös), Can Celebi (Göztepe SK), Tomi Vozab (USAM Nîmes Gard)

Left the club: Josip Juric Grgic (RKHM Dubrovnik), Kristian Pilipovic (Kadetten Schaffhausen), Matjaz Brumen (RD Izola Butan Plin), Dinko Baricevic (MHC Metalac)

Coach: Hrvoje Horvat (since November 2016)

Team captain: Marko Mrdenovic

Opponents in the group matches: TSV Hannover-Burgdorf, Grundfos Tatabanya KC and HC Eurofarm Rabotnik

EHF Cup record:
Quarter-final (1): 2017/18
Last 16 (1): 2011/12
Group Phase (1): 2014/15


TEXT: Danijela Lemaic / cg
 
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