National champions of Europe – Women part 2: South-west
All domestic leagues have come to an end and we now approach the draws of the 2016/17 European season. In six parts, the spotlight is shone on each of the national champions and their path to glory. The second part of the women's series consists of teams from France, Spain, Portugal, Malta, Italy, Switzerland, Andorra and Monaco.
Metz Handball return to the throne
Fleury did not manage to win their second national league title in a row. Fred Bougeant's squad, which is bound to fall apart this summer, reached the final but could not beat Metz Handball, who added a 20th league crown to their record.
With a renewed and younger squad, this is Metz's first significant trophy in the last two seasons, one which will allow them to be in the Champions League again next season. Their coach, Emmanuel Mayonnade, celebrates his first title as Metz' coach after arriving last December. Fleury, who lost both legs of the final, will take part in the EHF Cup after enjoying a nice EHF Champions League campaign this year, as will Issy-Paris Hand, who took the third spot.
Nail-biting finish for Balonmano Bera Bera
The Basque team claimed their fourth league title in a row after winning their last 18 matches. The league saw the most thrilling finale of the last 13 years as only the goal difference decided in favour of the defending champions after the reigning Women’s Challenge Cup team Rocasa Gran Canaria gained as many points as Bera Bera.
Coach Montse Puche steered her team to the second title as she could rely on more leaders in the squad. The Spanish national team stalwart Eli Pinedo, who became the topscorer of the team with 129 goals, finished only the 13th in the league ranking.
Madeira SAD get 13th title
Just like with the men, women’s national title in Portugal one club’s hegemony ended last season as Alavarium Love Titles have been dethroned.
Aveiro’s team found again Madeira SAD in the final (as it happened in 2014/15), but the outcome was different this time around and Madeira’s team got their revenge.
In the first year as coach of Madeira SAD, Sandra Fernandes, former Portuguese international and former national coach, steered the club to the trophy.
Madeira SAD won the best-of-five series in an impressive fashion (3:0) and the last step turned out to be the easiest as they won by eight goals.
In 29 games, the team achieved 22 wins, lost two games and drew one.
This was the 13th time in history Madeira SAD lift the trophy and the first time since 2011/2012.
Eagles fly high after eight final defeats
194 goals of top scorer Lisa Frey were the key for Spono Eagles from Notwil to take their fourth trophy in the Swiss League after 2000, 2001 and 2006.
In the 2015/16 season the team managed to end the play-off curse after losing three final series in the previous four years. The first final at LC Brühl St. Gallen was a drama, as the Eagles needed two extra-times to finally win 31:27.
“We kept calm until the end,” said coach Urs Mühlethaler. And his side took the profit of ten Frey goals in the second final to leave Brühl behind 26:21, attended by 1,300 fans in the arena. “The whole season we had only focused on that particular moment to raise trophy,” said Frey after being finalist for the eighth time in total since their last championship 2006 without winning any trophy before.
Indeco Conversano prevail in the remake of the 2014/15 final
Second consecutive time the Italian title went to Indeco Conversano, who in two games put the word "end" to the final series against Cassano Magnago, in the remake of the final 2014/15. The Italian pivot Elena Barani earned the seventh "Scudetto" in career. Conversano won 24:20 away and 27:16 at the Pala San Giacomo, with the support of 2,000 fans.
Seventh heaven for La Salle
On the island of Malta La Salle snapped the title in women two games before the end of the season. With nine wins in as many games, the club is crowned champions for the seventh time in its history.
In Monaco, eventhough there is no national championship, there is still a club and AS Monaco is taking part in the French competitions system. The women’s club finished first of the county league and will be taking part in the regional league next season.
The only women's team in Andorra play in the Catalan regional league.