Györ’s new stars put to a new test

It seemed nothing could stop Györ’s reign last season as they claimed their fifth Champions League title with a quite confident performance. Going into the DELO WOMEN’S EHF Champions League 2019/20, the team is facing a brand new chapter, with a slightly but noticeably different roster. Coach Gábor Danyi has to bring life into his vision as now he is really building a new team.

Apart from their European challenges, Györ will also face some hard battles in the domestic league as FTC and Siófok are eager to get the better this time.

All in all, Györ cannot take their supremacy for granted.

Three questions before the new season:

– What impact are the changes in the roster going to have?

Many key players left Györ this off-season: Nycke Groot was surely one of the toughest and passionate leaders of the team in good and bad times, Zsuzsanna Tomori was a reliable and experienced force in defence, and Nora Mørk put some glamour into the playing style of the Hungarian record champions. Now Gábor Danyi has to bring in his magic. There are some changes on the list of ingredients for success, so the biggest task for the head coach is how to best combine these new styles and qualities. Beatrice Edwige, Katarina Bulatovic, Aamanda Kurtovic and Estelle Nze Minko look just as good on the list but it remains a question how quickly Danyi can integrate them into the team.

– Will we see a different Györ in the new season?

It will be Gábor Danyi’s second year as head coach. However, he could just really start to form his ‘own’ team this season. The freshly acquired players represent a slightly distinct character. Danyi’s vision is to have players run as much as they can, yet let them have time to rest and to possibly avoid major injuries. Last season this stratgey paid off and steered Györ to success. For sure, Danyi would not erase these elements, but he knows exactly that it takes more time and energy to build a new team, especially when the expectations are as high as ever.

– How much will the current injuries affect the team?

The preparation phase for the new season brought some difficulties to the title-holders as many players struggle with smaller injuries, hence the building process is full of obstacles. Jana Knedlikova, Amandine Leynaud, Kari Grimsbø and Eduarda Amorim are all pillars of the team. Even though their physical contribution now might be a bit reduced, their knowledge and attitude might be still important to the others.

Under the spotlight: Eduarda Amorim

Bastion in defence, amazon in attack: Eduarda Amorim is unquestionably one of the leaders of the team. Her experience and enviable attitude towards handball are invaluable assets of the team. The Brazilian star has proven many times that she can really get things done when no one else can.

Self-esteem

Staying on top is one the most difficult tasks for anyone. Györ conquered Europe’s throne for the fifth time in 2019 and they prepare for what would be their fourth consecutive win in the 2019/20 season. And do not forget their unbeaten streak in the competition. “Our aim is to continue this amazing unbeaten-run in the next Champions League season and to reach the EHF FINAL4. But certainly, our main goal is to defend our title once again,” said Dr. Csaba Bartha, manager of the team.

What the number say

One. That’s the number that fits on Györ for three seasons already. But it is also the total number of times that the Hungarian side has missed out on the semi-finals since the 2007/07 season. 

Fun fact

Easy? Nothing easy! Some regarded the defending champions lucky when they were drawn into Group D with IK Sävehof, RK Krim Mercator and the winners from the qualification tournament, which turned out to be DHK Banik Most. But team captain Anita Görbicz insisted that Györ cannot take anything for granted: “Everybody said that the group matches are going to be easy for us, but I think all the teams from our group are strong and could bring on some difficult moments if we will not be fully concentrated.”

Györi Audi ETO KC (HUN)

Qualified for DELO WOMEN’S EHF Champions League 2019/20 season: Hungarian champions

Newcomers: Katarina Bulatovic (Buducnost), Amanda Kurtovic (CSM Bucuresti), Faluvégi Dorottya (FTC-Rail Cargo Hungaria), Beatrice Edwige (Metz Handball), Estelle Nze Minko (Siófok KC)

Left the club: Nora Mørk (CSM Bucuresti), Zsuzsanna Tomori (Siófok KC), Crina Pintea (CSM Bucuresti), Nycke Groot (Odense), Sara Afentaler (Fehérvár KC, on loan), Tamara Pál (MTK Budapest, on loan), Emöke Varga (Fehérvár KC)

Coach: Gábor Danyi (since 2018)

Team captain: Anita Görbicz

Women’s EHF Champions League records:
Participations (including 2019/20 season): 17
Winners (5): 2012/13, 2013/14, 2016/17, 2017/18, 2018/19
Runners-up (3): 2008/09, 2011/12, 2015/16
Semi-finals (4): 2006/07, 2007/08, 2009/10, 2010/11
Quarter-finals (1): 2014/15
Group Matches (2): 2000/01, 2005/06
Qualification (1): 2004/05

Other EC records:

Cup Winners’ Cup:
Runners-up: 2005/06
Semi-final: 2002/03

EHF Cup:
Runners-up: 1998/99, 2001/02, 2003/04, 2004/05

Hungarian league:
15 titles (1957, 1959, 2005, 2006, 2008-14, 2016-19

Hungarian cup:
14 titles (2005-16, 2018, 2019)

TEXT: Béla Müller / ew