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27.08.2016, 15:30◄ last page     

VELUX EHF Champions League club countdown: 25 days to go - Motor Zaporozhye were top of the pack in Groups C and D last season and want to go even further this time around

Motor running at full throttle to reach new level

Like their Belarusian neighbours Meshkov Brest, Motor Zaporozhye grabbed a Last 16 spot from the Group C/D play-offs of the VELUX EHF Champions League last season.

The first knock-out stage against eventual finalists Veszprem was the final destination for the Ukrainian champions, but this season it is their goal to make the next step to the quarter-finals.

In contrast to previous years, the squad remains almost the same - three newcomers arrived and three players left the club, coached by Mykola Stepanets since 2015. Just like in the previous season, the four-time consecutive domestic champions will play their home matches in Kharkov.

Manager Gennady Kasay expects up to three teams with the ability to top the group and to make it to the Last 16 playoffs.

“We are able to compete with all of these rivals. We would like to repeat last season’s success and even hope to make it to the quarter-finals. Our fans expect us to play in the Champions League, and we want to do it in a successful way.”

Team captain Sergey Shelmenko is also confident: “After a good preparation, we are ready to battle, but it will not be easy to fight for our goals. There are no weak opponents in the Champions League, as each team tries to show their best. It is a matter of will when deciding which teams make it through.”

HC Motor Zaporozhye (UKR)

Qualification for the 2016/2017 VELUX EHF Champions League season: Ukrainian champions

Newcomers: Lev Tselishchev (Dynamo Astrakhan), Viktor Kireev (Neva St. Petersburg), Ievgen Buinenko

Left the club:  Valentin Kosovy (Azot-Pulavy), Konstantin Kurilenko (Kalarash), Ievgen Sapun

Coach: Mykola Stepanets (since 2015)

Team captain: Sergey Shelmenko

Opponents in the group phase: Nantes, Holstebro, Besiktas, Bucuresti and winner of the qualification tournament 2 in Group D

VELUX EHF Champions League records:
Participations (including 2016/17 season): 4
Last 16 (2): 2013/14, 2015/16
Group Phase (1): 2014/15

Other EC records:

EHF Cup:
Group Phase 2012/13

Cup Winners’ Cup:
Quarter-finalist 2011/12

Ukrainian champions: 2012/13, 2013/14, 2014/15, 2015/16

Ukrainian cup winner: 2013/14, 2014/15, 2015/16

TEXT: Björn Pazen / cor

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