Dujshebaev and Kielce aiming for Cologne return
Lomza Industria Kielce enter the new season with the same ambition: to get at least to the semi-finals again. Their focus is on qualifying for the TruckScout24 EHF FINAL4 2023.
The 2021/22 runners-up already had a strong and well-balanced team, but with their reinforcements they are going to be a strong opponent for everyone in the Machineseeker EHF Champions League group B.
- this will be Kielce's 20th Champions League season; the Polish champions are in it for the 11th consecutive time
- they lost on penalties to Barça in the 2021/22 final in Cologne
- Talant Dujshebaev enters his ninth CL season as Kielce head coach, accompanied by his sons: Alex (since 2017) and Daniel (since 2018)
- the biggest names among the arrivals are two French players: Nedim Remili and Benoit Kounkoud
Most important question: Will Kielce be stronger than in previous seasons?
Kielce are a team everyone sees as usual EHF FINAL4 participants and each season their transfers rock the handball world. Club president Bertus Servaas and head coach Talant Dujshebaev have built a dream team for another season and are aiming for the top.
Adding to an already strong team are two former PSG players: Nedim Remili and Benoit Kounkoud, left back Elliot Stenmalm, a player everyone is waiting to see on the big stage, as well as a young left wing from the youth academy, Szymon Wiaderny.
Head coach Dujshebaev has a strong axis in Andreas Wolff, Alex Dujshebaev and Artsem Karalek and a wide range choice of leading players who are ready to shine. With more options, Kielce are much stronger. Even though they have challenging opponents in group B, none will have any easy time with Kielce, especially on their home court, Hala Legionów.
''For Lomza Industria Kielce there can be only one aim, and this is to qualify for the EHF FINAL4. We have built a team to achieve it and we are not afraid to announce it out loud,” Bertus Servaas said.
"Of course, we also know that this is sport – an amazing phenomenon that makes everyone equal in their chances and this is why there is another exciting season ahead of us.”
Under the spotlight: Nedim Remili
As one of the most significant transfers for Kielce this summer, Nedim Remili – alongside Benoit Kounkoud – joins his French teammates Dylan Nahi and Nicolas Tournat.
Remili, PSG's second best scorer in their 2021/22 Champions League season with 72 goals, will now have to deliver in Poland. Forming a duo at right back with Alex Dujshebaev, who netted 75 times last season, Kielce will have almost unstoppable back shots.
How they rate themselves
“To be a little bit better than a season before, to do our best and to enjoy all of this. I think this is the most important thing for the team to be competitive, to be good. We want to be in the EHF FINAL4 again and have a chance to win,” Alex Dujshebaev said.
Kielce aim for the top and they will give their best. The first obstacle are their first opponents in group B. Defending champions Barça, star-studded Aalborg, Hungarian champions Pick Szeged, German powerhouse THW Kiel, French runners-up HBC Nantes, Norwegian side Elverum Handball, and RK Celje Pivovarna Lasko, who return to Europe's top flight.
They start the competition by hosting Nantes on 14 September before traveling to Barcelona for a repeat of the final they played three months ago.
“We can't wait for the first game to be played, the match against Nantes,” Dujshebaev said. “It will be very important for us, how we will open the season. We have to be really focused and ready for this game because it will determine our performance in next matches.”
Did you know?
There are many interesting facts about Lomza Industria Kielce, but one remains top. A father and his two sons in the same club, makes the Polish powerhouse a unique club. Since Daniel joined in 2018, the family has been reunited and there is already a third generation of the Dujshebaev family soaking in handball knowledge from the earliest age.
What the numbers say
9 – the number of nationalities in Kielce's squad for the new season. Polish players are leading the way, nine of them. There are four Frenchmen, three Spanish players and one each from Germany, Croatia, Iceland, Sweden and Belarus.
Arrivals and departures
Arrivals: Nedim Remili (PSG Handball), Benoit Kounkoud (PSG Handball), Elliot Stenmalm (Redbergslids IK Gőteborg), Szymon Wiaderny (KS Vive Kielce)
Departures: Uladzislau Kulesh (TSV Hannover-Burgdorf), Sigvaldi Gudjonsson (Kolstad Handball), Branko Vujović (TSV Hannover-Burgdorf, on loan), Faruk Yusuf (Club Balonmano Granollers, on loan)
EHF Champions League:
Participations (including 2022/23 season): 20
Winners (1): 2015/16
Runners up (1): 2021/22
Semifinals (3): 2012/13, 2014/15, 2018/19
Quarter finals (1): 2017/18
Playoffs (1): 2020/21
Last 16 (7): 1993/94, 1994/95, 2009/10, 2011/12, 2013/14, 2016/17, 2019/20*
Last 32 (2): 1996/97, 1998/99
Group matches (3): 1999/2000, 2003/04, 2010/11
*2019/20 Last 16 canceled due to Covid-19 pandemic
EHF Cup: Quarter finals 1997/98, 2005/06
Cup Winners' Cup: Quarterfinals 1995/96
Polish league: 19 titles (1993-94, 1996, 1998-99, 2003, 2009-10, 2012-22)
Polish cup: 17 titles (1985, 2000, 2003-04, 2006, 2009-19, 2021)