20221003

Füchse put their EHF Finals hope in new signing Gidsel

MAL7445 V EHF / Björn Pazen

Füchse Berlin had their annual goal to qualify for the EHF Finals ended by HBC Nantes in the Last 16 last season. With strong reinforcements, the German side hope to get further in the EHF European League 2022/23 season.

The goal is making it to the EHF Finals Men 2023. But the dream is to lift another trophy. Füchse Berlin are expected to be main contenders in the EHF European League Men 2022/23.

One new key arrival boosts their hopes of reaching at least the EHF Finals.

Main facts:

  • was seeded for the group phase of the EHF European League for the first time
  • finished third in the German Bundesliga last season
  • won Europe’s second-tier competition in 2015 and 2018 and were runners-up in 2017, 2019, and 2021; but lost in the Last 16 against Nantes last season
  • Danish international Mathias Gidsel is the top signing for this season, alongside Russian goalkeeper Victor Kireev and Swedish EHF EURO 2022 champion Max Darj
  • defence specialist Viran Morros has left, to Pfadi Winterthur in Switzerland
  • coach Jaron Siewert (28) has extended his contract until the end of the 2023/24 season

Most important question: Will Füchse make it again?

In recent years, no team has participated in more final tournaments of Europe’s second-tier club competition than Füchse. However, the German side last lifted the trophy in 2018.

This season, the time might have come – as Füchse have bolstered their squad. Alongside Dejan Milosavljev, the No. 1 between the posts, Victor Kireev is an experienced goalkeeper, who can support the Serb to get some time to recover.

Swede Max Darj has proved his strength during the EHF EURO 2022 and knows how it feels to play in the Bundesliga, and right back Mathias Gidsel can become the outstanding star of a team with many top players.

Last season’s rivals like SC Magdeburg and Orlen Wisla Plock are now competing in the Machineseeker EHF Champions League, and titleholders Benfica have lost some key players; still, some big name clubs are eager to win the trophy in 2022/23, including SG Flensburg-Handewitt and Montpellier HB.

Regardless their opponents, Berlin aim to finish their group on top. Last year, they came up one goal short to Plock, finished the group in second, and lost in the first knockout round (Last 16) to Nantes.

Knowing that it is tough to play Bundesliga each week plus 10 group matches in the EHF European League until the end of February, Berlin will use their rotation with their young guns.

How they rate themselves

Having a well-rehearsed and bolstered squad for the 2022/23 season, Füchse are optimistic to go all the way in the EHF European League: “After the early elimination in the previous season, it is time to compete for another trophy with Füchse Berlin and it is our aim with this good team to do so,” manager Bob Hanning says.

“Like many teams, we want to compete in the Champions League and this is also our goal for the future, therefore it is our duty to play international handball to represent Berlin as a sports city.”

For team captain and German international Paul Drux, the goal is high, but realistic – going all the way.

“With our really strong team, which even got stronger with our new signings, we want to fight for a place in the EHF Finals, even as we know there are some big names. Füchse are able to compete for the trophy, if we get our game on the court,” says Drux, who names Flensburg and Montpellier his other main contenders for the trophy.

Under the spotlight: Mathias Gidsel

At the age of 22, he was awarded MVP at the Tokyo Olympics, where Denmark won silver medal. Seven months earlier, Mathias Gidsel won the World Championship with Denmark. Thanks to his top performances in the national team and for his club GOG, he was on the list of many European top clubs, but ultimately decided to join Füchse Berlin.

“I did not come to Berlin to finish third or fourth in any competition, but to win trophies,” the right back says.

20221003 ELM Füchse Gidsel Quote
I did not come to Berlin to finish third or fourth in any competition, but to win trophies.
Mathias Gidsel
Füchse Berlin right back

What the numbers say

Füchse Berlin were part of six EHF (Cup) Finals between 2014 and 2021 – more than any other team – and the EHF FINAL4 in 2012. They won the event they hosted in 2014 and again in 2018. The three finals they lost were all against German opponents: in 2017 against Göppingen, in 2019 against THW Kiel, and in 2021 against SC Magdeburg.

Did you know?

Head coach Jaron Siewert, only 28 years old, is the youngest coach in the Bundesliga and in the EHF European League this season. However, Füchse Berlin count on very experience staff members around the coach: manager Bob Hanning, who coached clubs like HSV Hamburg and was assistant coach of the Germany national team, and the two sports directors who both played more than 200 international matches for Germany: Stefan Kretzschmar and Volker Zerbe.

Arrivals and departures

Arrivals:  Mathias Gidsel (GOG), Max Darj (Bergischer HC), Viktor Kireev (CSKA Moskau), Tim Freihöfer (1. VfL Potsdam)

Departures: Tim Matthes (SC DHfK Leipzig), Johan Koch (Kriens-Luzern), Viran Morros (Pfadi Winterthur), Marian Michalczik (TSV Hannover-Burgdorf), Fredrik Genz (SG BBM Bietigheim)

Past achievements

EHF European League:
Participations (including 2022/23): 3
Runners-up (1): 2020/21
Last 16 (1): 2021/22

Other:

EHF Champions League: Fourth place (1): 2011/12
EHF Cup: Winners (2): 2014/15, 2017/18; Runners-up (2): 2016/17, 2018/19
IHF Super Globe: Winners (2): 2015, 2016

German league: -
German cup: 1 title (2013/14)

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