Krim eye return to the top
Having reached the main round in recent seasons as well as play-offs in last season’s DELO EHF Champions League, Krim Mercator have been reliable challenger but now they want more.
The club with a rich history gathered experienced players for the upcoming season in order to emulate the titles they claimed in 2001 and 2003.
- head coach Uros Bregar heads into his sixth season with Krim, after joining in 2016
- the squad is reinforced with ten newcomers, including Andrea Lekić, Alisson Pineau, Kristina Krpež Šlezak and Barbara Arenhart
- Alja Varagić is returning to the squad after maternity leave
- last season’s top scorer, Samara da Silva Vieira, left the club
- the two-time champions (2000/01, 2002/03) were knocked out by CSKA by a single goal in last season’s play-offs
- they head into their 27th consecutive season in the top flight
Most important question: What are Krim’s objectives for this season?
Krim Mercator is a long time DELO EHF Champions League contender with great success in its history. Winning the competition in 2000/01 and 2002/03, and reaching the final on other three occasions. The team had ups and downs over the years but have managed to reach their primary targets in the last five seasons.
The club has set a brand new goal of returning to the top in the next few seasons, a hard task but achievable for the new-look squad. Krim have welcomed experienced individuals, who add an exciting flavour to the club’s established players and young talents.
“We have carefully assembled this season’s team in the light of jubilee we are celebrating. It is a mix of experienced, top individuals and some of the most talented young players in Europe. Of great importance in the selection process were the personality traits of individuals as we are aware that team spirit is extremely important, if not crucial,” says team manager Deja Ivanović.
Krim will face Györ, CSKA, Vipers, Odense, Metz, Kastamonu Belediyesi and Sävehof in Group B. All opponents with great desires but Krim believe they can compete with the very best of them.
Under the spotlight: Andrea Lekić
The experienced Serbian player is returning to the club after a decade away. The 2013 world handball player of the year will contribute to the success of the club in the future with her huge experience and energy.
She will be an important link for the team, especially in the centre back position. Andrea states she is most looking forward to difficult matches that are good for the progress of the team and exciting for the fans. How quickly Lekić and her fellow star arrivals settle in will have a strong bearing on Krim’s success this season.
How they rate themselves
“Being part of the competition for so long is an honour and a compliment to the leadership of the club. In line with the vision of the club and the team we have put together, I believe this team will do good things. We want to get back to the top and we already have an opportunity to do that in the upcoming season,” says Ivanović on team ambitions and possibilities.
Team captain Nina Žabjek agrees that new set goals are high and that several factors must coincide to achieve them.
“We learned last season that you must never give up. There is no lack of motivation before the start of the new season, in which we want to win over as many opponents as possible, maybe even surprise some, like we did last year against CSKA.”
Did you know?
This is Krim’s 27th consecutive season in the EHF Champions League. Krim has new goals set for the upcoming season, hoping to emulate their previous success on the 20th anniversary of their first title, which has also seen them mark the occasion with a virtual museum on their homepage.
“In the light of the jubilee that we are celebrating this year, the 20th anniversary of winning the first European title, the club has set itself the strategic goal of returning to the top in the next few seasons,” says team manager Deja Ivanović.
Arrivals and departures
Newcomers: Andrea Lekić (Buducnost), Dragana Cvijić (CSM Bucuresti), Paula Posavec (RK Lokomotiva), Alja Varagić (matenity leave), Allison Pineau (Buducnost), Sanja Radosavljević (Vaci NKSE), Katarina Krpež Šlezak (Rostov-Don), Tjaša Stanko (Metz Handball), Barbara Elisabeth Arenhart (Buducnost), Zala Miklič (Krim Mercator youth academy)
Left the club: Hana Gjerek, Samara da Silva Vieira (HC Dunărea Brăila), Laura Cerovak, Branka Konatar, Anna Dobrič
EHF Champions League
Participations (including 2021/22 season): 27
Winners (2): 2000/01, 2002/03
Runners-up (3): 1998/99, 2003/04, 2005/06
Semi-final (1): 2012/13
Quarter-final (4): 1996/97, 1997/98, 2004/05, 2006/0
Play-offs (1) 2020/21
Main round (10): 2008/09, 2009/10, 2010/11, 2011/12, 2013/14, 2014/15, 2016/17, 2017/18, 2018/19, 2019/20
Last 16 (1): 1995/96
Group matches (4): 1999/00, 2001/02, 2007/08, 2015/16
Champions Trophy: two titles (2002/03, 2003/04)
Slovenian league: 26 titles (1995-2015, 2017-2021)
Slovenian Cup: 26 titles (1993-1997, 1999-2019)