Györ top DELO WOMEN’S EHF Champions League experience ranking
When a club is the triple back-to-back title holder in the DELO WOMEN’S EHF Champions League, as is the situation with Györi Audi ETO KC, it is hard to argue about the level of experience among its players, both individually and collectively.
But that does not mean that other sides across Europe do not have a word to say on the topic, as we outline in this experience ranking ahead of the new season.
6. Team Esbjerg
After reaching the EHF Cup final last season, Esbjerg are back in the Champions League. At first sight, you might think they have lost some of their most experienced assets in Kristina Liscevic and Sandra Toft, who decided to continue their careers elsewhere.
In the meantime, however, some of their younger players are part of the best national teams in the world. Marit Frafjord, Sanna Solberg and Vilde Ingstad have all won gold medals for Norway, while Estavana Polman is one of the key stalwarts for the Netherlands.
Opponents beware: this Esbjerg team might be one of the surprises this season.
5. Metz Handball
The French side reached the DELO WOMEN’S EHF FINAL4 for the first time last season, finally making it among the top four teams in Europe.
Since then, line player and French EHF EURO 2018 winner Beatrice Edwige left for Györ, leaving a gap that will need to be filled. Still, with players like Grace Zaadi, Laura Glauser and Manon Houette, Metz have plenty of top international experience behind them.
4. SCM Ramnicu Valcea
Valcea are back in the Champions League, and the coaching staff know one thing about how to get results in the competition: you need players who have been there before.
They chose to sign 36-year-old 2006 Champions League winner Ann Grete Norgaard, as well as Asma Elghaoui, who lifted the trophy in 2017 with Györ. With the inclusion of Mireya Gonzalez, Valcea will feature three former Champions League winners among its ranks. And that sounds like experience to us.
When he brought Montenegro national players Majda Mehmedovic and Jovanka Radicevic back, coach Dragan Adzic had an idea in his head: to have experienced wingers who will be able to score at almost any time, especially in important moments.
The Buducnost coach now has a team that plays together all year long, in club and national team competitions – and that is tough to compete with. Even though Katarina Bulatovic left, new recruit Barbara Lazovic knows a thing or two about qualifying for the EHF FINAL4, as she was part of the four consecutive editions from 2015 to 2018.
The Russian side only lost last season’s final by one, but all season long they proved they have everything in order to one day lift the Champions League trophy – on the bench, with four-time Champions League winning coach Ambros Martin, and on the court.
All the stalwarts for the EHF EURO 2018 finalists Russia play for Rostov, as does Netherlands back Lois Abbingh. Add new recruit Julia Behnke to that and you end up with one of the most experienced teams in the Champions League.
1. Györi Audi ETO KC
Despite all this, it is hard to compete with Györ when it comes to experience. The Hungarian side won the Champions League in the last three seasons, and keep adding even more experience to their roster.
Four-time Champions League winner Katarina Bulatovic, EHF EURO 2018 winners Beatrice Edwige and Estelle Nze Minko, 2012 Olympic champion Amanda Kurtovic – it is difficult to beat such a set of transfers. This season, Györ will clearly be the most experienced team in the Champions League again.
TEXT: Kevin Domas / cg