|31.08.2016, 09:50||◄ last page|
LAST WEEK IN THE CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: As Europe’s biggest names are just about to hit the court, here is the very latest on their activities in one of the summer series’ final features
Tangible excitement with season opening on the horizon
We are almost set for the new season. As we say farewell to Rio and hello to the final stages of preparation, the players are back in their pre-season rhythm with their clubs. There will be some catching up to do for those coming back from the Olympic Games, however, following the exciting Olympic tournament, we have no doubts the national team stars at full fitness.
Handball was yet again a big hit at the Olympic Games, being the second most attended sport. According to the eminent Brazilian sports website Globo Esporte, the handball tournament sold more tickets than basketball, beach volleyball and gymnastics.
In the other news, Zagreb are stepping up their game at the prestigious Sparkassen cup, while Rhein-Neckar Löwen have a new captain.
Want more? Enjoy another feature in the ‘Last Week in the Champions League’ series.
Vujo’s hungry lions
Zagreb came back from their most serious check-up so far, ahead of the new season. The Croatian champions were on a tour of Germany, where they took part in this year’s Sparkassen cup, alongside the likes of Bundesliga outfits Füchse Berlin and Göppingen.
A new team bus was obtained for the tour, and the players obviously enjoyed the comfort ride, allowing their bodies a good rest ahead of the matches.
The undefeated Zagreb came third at the Sparkassen cup, and the players are now back at their lair to add finishing touches to their training ahead of the season opening in the SEHA League on 7 September.
The dancing Danes
Denmark defied all odds to win the Olympic gold, despite facing the menacing French team, who had never lost an Olympic final. Les Experts went down to Hansen and co. on Sunday (28:26) in a thrilling final game, as Danish backcourt superstar Mikkel Hansen was subsequently awarded the MVP of the tournament.
The joy on players’ faces was apparent, and below, you can see the celebration as the Danes fought their way through to their sole Olympic medal; and in a memorable fashion, as it was their maiden final appearance.
Roberts returns to Sävehof
Following a two-year spell with Team Tvis Holstebro, Jamina Roberts has moved to Swedish champions IK Sävehof.
The 26-year-old left back won the Cup Winners’ Cup with the Danes last season, but has decided to make the switch back to the club she has already enjoyed four Women’s EHF Champions League campaigns with.
Roberts was impressive at Rio 2016 with Sweden as they reached the quarter-finals and Sävehof are understandably delighted to have her back home.
Hugs for Trefilov
Olympic gold medallists Russia, showed an incredible spirit in their dressing room, which has certainly played a big part in their success in Rio. Moreover, the ecstatic Russian girls could not hide their delight in the dressing room, literally seconds following the final win, all rushing to share hugs with the man behind their extraordinary accomplishment, coach Yevgeni Trefilov.
Gracious in defeat
While still in Rio, two-time Olympic champions France were dethroned in a thriller against Denmark. Les Experts held the Olympic gold since 2008, and it was surely very hard to Onesta’s boys to step down a ladder at the medal ceremony. However, the French team held graciously in defeat, still happy to take home the silver, and this dressing room footage speaks in evidence of that.
Schmid to lead the Löwen
Rhein-Neckar Löwen have selected their new captain and successor to Uwe Gensheimer, who joined PSG this summer. Andy Schmid was given a new role in the team, and a reward for his excellent performances last season. The Swiss centre back will proudly don the armband and lead the German powerhouse in the new season.
TEXT: Nemanja Savic / cor