20220929

Last 16 spot is on Presov’s radar

ER 2842 (1) EHF / Danijela Vekić

Tatran Presov are the undoubted No. 1 in Slovakia, but the club has been struggling in European competitions in the last few years. In 2022/23, Presov hope to advance from the group phase of the EHF European League Men.

The Slovakian champions have been going through changes over the past two years. They now face a busy 2022/23 season, as they will appear in both the Slovakian and the Czech national leagues, as well as in the European League group phase.

Main facts:

  • former left wing Radoslav Antl took over as head coach in December 2021, replacing Slavko Goluza
  • two players left the club and three joined, making a team mix of experience and youth, with a total of nine different nationalities represented
  • Presov aim for their first appearance in the European League knockout phase this season
  • in order to have more challenging domestic matches, Presov will play in the Czech league alongside their participation in the Slovakian league

Most important question: Can Presov make it a step further?

After significant changes in the squad throughout the last two seasons, Tatran Presov enter the 2022/23 season with almost the same team. Only Nuno Santos and Guilherme Linhares have left the club, so Radoslav Antl can work with a nearly unchanged squad compared to the last few months of 2021/22.

“After playing in the European League last season, we continue to be part of top European handball. This is important for our fans, the city of Presov, and the players as well, who are motivated to deliver the best possible performance against elite handball teams,” new team manager Stanislav Pupik says.

Pupik has stepped into the shoes of Miroslav Benicky, who moved to Slovenia to become manager of Celje Pivovarna Laško.

Under the new manager, Tatran Presov have set clear goals for the upcoming season: try to pull the maximum out of the experienced players and give as much valuable court time as possible to the young talents.

“Our goal will be to get points mainly on our home court and to secure a place among the top four teams in the group. We want to qualify for the Last 16 phase of the competition,” Pupik says.

Under the spotlight: Oliver Rábek

The team captain has become the figurehead of Tatran Presov. He is entering his 10th European season with the club, and hopes to be as important as he was last year, when he was Presov’s top scorer with 44 goals. His extensive experience and high-speed shots will be invaluable to Presov again in their 2022/23 campaign.

20220929 ELM Presov Rabek Quote
We will try to deliver our best performances against very strong teams in the European League. Of course, we do not want to stop at the group stage, we want to be part of the knockout matches.
Olivier Rábek
Tatran Presov left back

How they rate themselves

The last two European seasons have been difficult for Tatran Presov, as they failed to make it beyond the group phase both times, finishing fifth and last, respectively, with no more than three wins. So, they are aware they have to step it up in order to get to the Last 16 this time.

“We will try to deliver our best performances against very strong teams in the European League. Of course, we do not want to stop at the group stage, we want to be part of the knockout matches,” says Rábek.

What the numbers say

Nine – the number of different nationalities represented in Tatran Presov’s squad. Alongside many Slovakian players, including a string of talents from their academy, the club relies on players from Brazil, Slovenia, Serbia, Spain, Belarus, Russia, Cuba, and Czech Republic.

Did you know?

It is all in the family at Tatran Presov: coach Radoslav Antl’s son, Marco, plays as a left wing for the team, and long-term Presov player Alexandr Radcenko – the oldest player in the competition at 49 – is joined at the club by his sons, Kirill and Daniil.

Arrivals and departures

Arrivals: Lukás Urban (Grundfos Tatabánya KC/HUN), Djordje Golubovic (HC Prolet 62/MKD), Nikola Ivanovic (Partizan Belehrad/SRB)

Departures: Nuno Santos (Cocks Riihimäki/FIN), Guilherme Linhares (HBW Balingen-Wellstetten/GER)

Past achievements

EHF European League:
Participations (including 2022/23 season): 3
Group phase (2): 2020/21, 2021/22

Other:

EHF Champions League: Last 16 (1): 2004/05; Last 32 (1): 1993/94; Group Phase (8): 2005/06, 2007/08, 2008/09, 2010/11, 2015/16, 2016/17, 2018/19, 2019/20

EHF Cup: Quarter-final (1): 2011/12

Cup Winners’ Cup: Quarter-final (1): 2005/06

Slovakian league: 17 titles (2004, 2005, 2007-2019, 2021, 2022)
Slovakian cup: 16 titles (2002, 2004, 2005, 2007-2018, 2020)

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