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Date: 9/9/2015

In the first of the 2015 Super Globe Semi-Finals, 2014/15 EHF Cup winners Füchse Berlin showed everyone they are ready to continue on from last season’s success, when they won the EHF Cup for the first time. The German team knocked out mighty FC Barcelona with a penalty goal after the buzzer to win by one, send the reigning champions into the bronze medal game and continue their big year of new achievements. 

Though Barcelona are the current VELUX EHF Champions League title holders and have an intimidating roster, centre back and the club’s top scorer in the 2014/15 season, Petar Nenadic, said the win against the Spanish side was not a surprise for them: 

“We are the EHF Cup winners, we are one of the top five teams in the German league – the best league in the world. Of course we have big respect for Barca. We came in the game with nothing to lose, but we fought. They were four in front, we came back and we won. It’s a happy day.

“We had no pressure – nothing. We watched a video like we prepare for every game. The coach didn’t initiate anything new. We just played our way. But I already said to all the newspapers in Germany that we have one big spirit, we fight, so maybe we can lose but we will not ‘sell our skin’ very cheap. 

“We are fighters. Maybe you see we have 10 [older] players here and we have five or six juniors who are 17, 18 years old, but we are here and we fight.”

The German club have been on the rise for the last ten years, first earning promotion to the 1st Bundesliga in 2007 then debuting in the VELUX EHF Champions League in 2011. Only a year later they qualified for the FINAL4 event that served as the culmination of the 2011/12 season, finishing fourth, and in 2014 they won the DHB-Pokal. 

2015 has already been a big year for Berlin – after playing in the finals of the 2013/14 EHF Cup and finishing third, they defeated HSV Hamburg to claim their first title of this competition in May. Now, they are competing in their first ever IHF Super Globe – and it is a strong debut. 

The ‘Foxes’ made several changes to their side during the off-season, and their status as Super Globe finalists confirms that they are settling in to the 2014/15 season well. A number of new faces joined the team over the summer: Croatia players Drago Vukovic and Jakov Gojun, Norwegian talent Kent Robin Tonnesen, Bjarki Mar Elisson – who scored the Semi-Final-winning goal against Barca, Ignacio Plaza Jimenez and Faruk Vrazalic. Along with these names a new coach arrived at the club – former Iceland assistant coach Erlingur Richardsson came to Berlin from SG Handball West Wien to replace Germany head coach Dagur Sigurdsson. They also welcomed three young talents, who moved up to the senior squad: Kevin Struck, Moritz Schade and Fynn-Ole Fritz. 

Nenadic says the transition has gone well and the team are already well into their busy on-season schedule: 

“We already played three games in the German league. We lost the first game but the next two we won, so we came here to play handball! We will play Veszprem, then Friday we are going directly to play the German league. So seven days five games, it’s very tough for us. But we are fighting like dogs. 

“We are satisfied, we are happy. We have very good spirit between us and the coach and that’s very important for the team. We are professional but we have a normal relationship.

It seems the German side feel little pressure going into the Final against VELUX EHF Champions League runners-up MKB-MVM Veszprem, which could well work in their favour as it did against Barcelona. 

“We have made it to the Final. We are a little bit tired because we have played many games. We had the German league on Saturday, came here Monday, today [Tuesday 8th September] again. So Veszprem now…we will see.

“We are getting tired. They have a lot of players on rotation. They are a very good team. We will fight,” concludes Nenadic. 

Berlin will play Veszprem for the 2015 Super Globe title on Thursday 10 September at 8pm local time in Doha, Qatar. All placement games and finals will be streamed live and free here