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08.09.2016, 12:16◄ last page     

VELUX EHF Champions League Countdown: Orlen Wisla Plock need to produce their very best at home to progress from a tough Group A

Building a fortress at Orlen Arena

A new coach, players from nine different nations and the aim to make another step forward in the VELUX EHF Champions League: This is the situation of Orlen Wisla Plock prior to the start of their 12th Champions League season. After Manoel Cadenas said goodbye to the Polish runners-up, Piotr Przybecki is in control of the Oilers.

At domestic level, Plock will attempt to end the chain of Kielce’s successes in the league and cup, while in Europe Plock hope for their first participation in the quarter-final.

“First, we want to be a tough opponent for all teams in our group. Secondly, we want to secure a better ranking in the group phase to have a higher chance in the knockout stage, beginning with the Last 16,” says coach Piotr Przybecki.

Przybecki will steer a very international team, which is bolstered by the Polish Gebala brothers and Croats Sime Ivić and Lovro Mihić. On the other hand, line player Marco Oneto, the tall Spanish shooter Angel Montoro, Serb Ivan Nikcevic and Polish international Bartosz Konitz have all left Plock.

In the previous three seasons, Plock lost their Last 16 matches: in 2014 against Veszprem and Vardar got the better of them in the same round for the last two seasons. Once again, Plock will need to rely on their Orlen Arena as a true fortress as proven in the previous years, when they have beaten teams such as Barcelona and Flensburg at home.

“It is great for us to see the best European teams return to the Orlen Arena; it is highly important for our fans, the club and the city to be part of the VELUX EHF Champions League,” says Przybecki. Kiel, Barcelona and Kielce are the favourites to win the VELUX EHF Champions league title this season.

Orlen Wisla Plock (POL)

Qualification for the 2016/17 VELUX EHF Champions League season: Polish runners-up
Newcomers: Gilberto Duarte (FC Porto, POR), Sime Ivić (HBC Nantes, FRA), Lovro Mihić (HC PPD Zagreb, CRO), Tomasz Gębala, Maciej Gębala (both SC Magdeburg, GER)  
Left the club: Bartosz Konitz (Pogon Szczencin), Marco Oneto (unknown), Ivan Nikcević (Sporting CP, Portugal), Angel Montoro (Naturhouse La RIoja, Spain)
Coach: Piotr Przybecki (since 2016, successor of Manuel Cadenas)  
Team captain: Adam Wiśniewski

Opponents in the group phase: Veszprem, PSG, Barcelona, Bjerringbro, Flensburg, Schaffhausen and Kiel in group A

VELUX EHF Champions League records:
Participations (including 2016/17 season): 12
Last 16 (5): 1995/96, 2011/12, 2013/14, 2014/15, 2015/16
Group phase (5): 2002/03, 2004/05, 2005/06, 2006/07, 2008/09
Qualification (1): 2012/13

Other EC records:
EHF Cup Quarter-finalist: 1993/94
Group phase: 2012/13

Polish champion: 1995, 2002, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2011
Polish cup winner: 1992, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2001, 2005, 2007, 2008

TEXT: Björn Pazen / tm

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