Czech champions making the Most of it
This is the fifth article in our countdown series ahead of the EHF Champions League Women 2022/23 season. The series previews each of the 16 clubs in the group phase before the competition begins in September.
Experience is paramount in a successful season in European competitions, but so is ambition. While DHK Banik Most do not have most of the former, they surely bring a lot of grit and dedication to the table, as they make their comeback in the EHF Champions League Women after three seasons.
With a core of Czech and Slovak players, it will be interesting to see how the ‘Black Angels’ do this season when facing tougher and more experienced opponents.
- DHK Banik Most will play the EHF Champions League Women for the second time in their history, after being eliminated in the group phase of the 2019/20 season
- most of their roster is composed of Czech and Slovak players, with a single Dutch player, goalkeeper Ellen Janssen
- they will face champions Vipers Kristiansand in the group phase. The MVP of the EHF FINAL4 last season, Czech back Marketa Jerabkova, played for Most between 2014 and 2018
- since playing in the EHF Champions League Women, Most were eliminated in the qualification rounds of the EHF European League Women for two consecutive seasons, adding to the lack of international experience for the Czech champions
Most important question: Are they ready for the EHF Champions League Women?
The Czech champions are returning to the premium European competition after three seasons and will be looking to improve from the previous edition they took part in, where they finished fourth in the group — the last — with a single win under their belt against Krim Mercator Ljubljana.
But there is one pressing concern: the lack of experience at the highest level. In the last two seasons, Most have been eliminated in the qualification rounds of the EHF European League Women — once by Hungarian outfit Vaci NKSE and the second time by Romanian club Magura Cisnadie. Therefore, the prospect of having to play against sides like Vipers Kristiansand or Brest Bretagne Handball looks challenging to say the least.
With a team consisting mostly of Czech and Slovakian players, DHK Banik Most will look like outsiders through most of the competition. They will also play their home games in Chomoutov, some 20 kilometres away from their own arena, which can also be a factor in their results.
Losing a star player in Iveta Koresova, one of the best Czech players in the last decades, will surely impact the team, as they lose a great goal scorer — she scored 12 out of Most’s 52 against Cisnadie last season. Remember, though, this is the side that developed the MVP of last season’s EHF FINAL4, Marketa Jerabkova, therefore, they have that ability to find and develop talent.
Under the spotlight: Lucia Súkeníková-Mikulcík
The 34-year-old Slovakian left wing is the team captain and has been the longest-serving player in the current side, having joined Most nine years ago. She brings the exact leadership needed for such a side, having previously scored 22 goals in the EHF Champions League Women, in Most’s only season in the premium European competition.
Most’s captain has seen many players come and go, but has always kept spirits high and is due to play this season in the EHF Champions League Women at the zenith of her career.
How they rate themselves
Most are a team likely to learn more and more, helping develop handball in the Czech Republic. With little experience to show in European competitions in the past years, Most’s main objective is to help players develop, as well as earn some good results on the way.
“It’s such an honour to be part of the Champions League family. It’s a great experience in every aspect. For the club we can share experiences and learn from others. For players it’s the peak of their career. Every match on this level is so important for their development, and these experiences are great for their future in handball. That’s the reason we want to play European competitions, because every single match counts,” says team manager Katerina Polakova.
Did you know?
The nickname of the side is ‘Černí andělé,’ translated into English as ‘The Black Angels.’ Black is one of the colours of the team, along with orange.
What the numbers say
1 — the number of wins DHK Banik Most have sealed in the EHF Champions League Women in a total of six matches.
Arrivals and departures
Arrivals: Emma Veselovská (promoted from junior team), Daria Somionka (Koszalin)
Departures: Iveta Korešová (Sokol Písek), Markéta Zemanová (unknown)
EHF Champions League
Participations (including 2022/23 season): 2
Group phase (1): 2019/20
Challenge Cup: winners (2012/13)
Czech league: nine titles (2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2021, 2022)
Czech Cup: seven titles (2014, 2015, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2021, 2022)