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08.12.2016, 14:59◄ last page     

NEWS REPORT: Rhein-Neckar Löwen's Swiss playmaker and Krim Mercator's Bulgarian left back claim the monthly awards for their impressive Champions League performances in November.

Schmid and Omoregie take November's EHF Players of the Month awards

While the VELUX EHF Champions League has continued in high gear, the women's competition completed its group stage and is getting ready for the start of the main round.

A panel of EHF correspondents throughout Europe have voted for their EHF Players of the Month for November 2016. The men's award goes to Swiss centre back Andre Schmid from Rhein-Reckar Löwen, while RK Krim Mercator left back Elizabeth Omoregie of Bulgaria has won the women's election.

Schmid: "I am only evaluating my team, not my own performance"

Having played for Rhein-Neckar Löwen since 2010, Swiss playmaker Andre Schmid became the new team captain after Uwe Gensheimer joined Paris SG last summer.

And the 33-year-old definitely meets the expectations on him as a leading player. In November, Schmid showed his good form in several Champions League games. With seven goals, he was a joint top scorer in their narrow 25:24 victory over Zagreb. Also, he made four goals during the important 29:26 win at Vardar in Skopje.

However, not all games were so successful, and therefore Schmid has mixed feelings about his award.

"In recent weeks we suffered two defeats in the Champions League, including the one in Zagreb on 1 December, and that matters most," Schmid says. "But if the experts think that I am the chosen one, it is OK for me."

Team results are more important for Schmid than his own statistics, and he hopes that Rhein-Neckar Löwen will improve.

"My start of the season was not that good, now it is getting better. But I am only evaluating our team, not my own performance," Schmid says.

"Our aim for the season is to be stronger in the Last 16 compared to last year, when we did not proceed. Our clear goal is to make it to the quarter-finals."

EHF Player of the Month - November 2016: Male
1. Andy Schmid (SUI) - Rhein-Neckar Löwen
2. Thierry Omeyer (FRA) - Paris Saint-Germain Handball
3. Filip Ivic (CRO) - Vive Tauron Kielce
4. Kiril Lazarov (MKD) - FC Barcelona Lassa
5. Uwe Gensheimer (GER) - Paris Saint-Germain Handball

Omoregie: "It is amazing to be recognized in such a way"

Left back Elizabeth Omoregie, born in Athens to a Nigerian father and Bulgarian mother, was only 17 when she made her Champions League debut for RK Krim Mercator two years ago.

Meanwhile, she feels at home in Slovenia and has become a prominent player in European handball.

Krim surprised by finishing first in Group D, and Omoregie’s inspired play was one of the key factors to that success. Especially in November, when the she became Krim's top scorer in all three games of the continental top-flight competition.

"November was great for me and for Krim. We worked very hard, traveled a lot, and we couldn't even imagine that we could reach the top of the group," says Omoregie, who turns 20 later this month.

"It may sound a little bit weird but we believed in all those victories. We knew that we were well prepared, and if you also have that self-confidence then you know the final goal is in your reach," she says.

Omoregie added 22 goals last month - eight against IK Sävehof and seven against each Team Esbjerg and Larvik - to raise her tally for the season to 34. She shares fifth place in the tournament’s top scorer list with Team Esbjerg's Laura van der Heijden, who was elected EHF Player of the Month for October.

Receiving the award is definitely something special for the young Bulgarian.

"First of all I am thrilled that we reached the main round, even that was in some way unexpected. We all played very good, and I realise that my part was also important," Omoregie says.

"For a young player like me, it is amazing to be recognized in such a way. It is my first individual 'medal' but what makes me more proud is the team success."

EHF Player of the Month - November 2016: Female
1. Elizabeth Omoregie (BUL) - RK Krim Mercator
2. Linn Kristin Riegelhuth (NOR) - Larvik
3. Nora Mork (NOR) - Györi Audi ETO KC
4. Stine Jörgensen (DEN) - FC Midtjylland
5. Karina Sabirova (RUS) - Astrakhanochka

TEXT: Sergey Nikolaev / ew

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