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2 years ago - 4/27/2017

The VELUX EHF Champions League All-Star team nominees profiles

Who will make it to the VELUX EHF Champions League All-star team 2016/17 and will be the best on his position?

You can choose from 50 nominees, including 45 players and 5 coaches from 20 different teams and 17 nations.

Five players are nominated for each position and beyond that you can also vote for best defender, young player and best coach.

The vote will be open until Tuesday 30 May 2017. The VELUX EHF Champions League All-star team will be announced during the VELUX EHF FINAL4 event in Cologne on 3 and 4 June 2017.  

Take a closer look at the nominees before start voting here:


Mattias Andersson (SWE) – SG Flensburg-Handewitt

• already in the younger age categories part of all All-Star teams and became member of the senior national team
• played at Kiel (2001-08), TV Großwallstadt before signing in Flensburg; awarded "best player of the Bundesliga season 2011/12"
• his saves at the 2014 FINAL4 were key for Flensburg winning his last missing EC trophy
• preparation perfectionist, no other keeper has a bigger video archive of top players


Ivan Stevanovic (CRO) – HC PPD Zagreb

• one of the oldest and most experienced Zagreb players
• had amazing 2015/16 season that earned him place in Croatian national team at  the age 33, originally wanted to quit handball at the age of 29
• his first sport was swimming, started handball at the end of primary school
• played in Trsat, Pecine, Zamet, Porec, Krsko and signed for Kadetten Schaffhausen from next season


Thierry Omeyer (FRA) – Paris Saint-Germain Handball

• crowned best goalkeeper in history by the IHF
• returned to Montpellier from Kiel for the 2013/14 season, reached the EHF Cup final and decided to move on to PSG in the summer of 2014
• awarded the best goalkeeper and the MVP at the WCh 2015 in Qatar
• IHF Player of the Year 2008, All-star goalkeeper of OG 2008 and 2012, EURO 2006


Gonzalo Perez de Vargas (ESP) – FC Barcelona Lassa

• turned to the Catalan club in 2014 after having played for BM Granollers and Tolouse to gain more experience
• in 2016/17 has more responsibility following the departure of Danijel Saric to Qatar
• international with Spain in all age categories, in the senior national team shares the position with another former Barcelona goalkeeper Arpad Sterbik


Cyril Dumoulin (FRA) – HBC Nantes

• after playing in Chambéry and Toulouse, he arrived in Nantes
• arrived at the end of the 2015/16 season, to make up for the injury of Gorazd Skof
• with 1.99 m height, one of the tallest goalkeeper on the circuit
• beside his handball career, he's also published two books he wrote - a diary of his seasons and they gained much critical success

Left wings

Uwe Gensheimer (GER) - Paris Saint-Germain Handball

• after 13 seasons playing for Rhein-Neckar Löwen, the German player of the year in 2011-14, left to join PSG in the summer of 2016
• his talent discovered early as he became Junior European Champion in 2006, one year later awarded MVP at the Junior WCh
• top scorer of 2010/11 CL season, when he also reached his only FINAL4


Magnus Bramming (DEN) – Team Tvis Holstebro

• fast and versatile winger with a varied shot, good on counter attacks and penalties
• can also play the playmaker position and has done so several times, when the back court line was haunted by injury
• has played a total of 46 junior internationals for Denmark, but with regards the senior team, he is still standing in the shadow of Anders Eggert and Casper Mortensen
• contributes a lot to the spirit in the team, is known for his changing hair styles


Jonas Källman (SWE) – MOL-Pick Szeged

• signed in the winter of 2013/14 and showed his ability to defend in 3 positions
• vital part of both coach Juan Carlos Pastor’s defensive variatons and Szeged’s  attacking edge
• spent more than a decade in Spain with Ciudad Real and Atlético Madrid before returning home (IFK Skövde) and finally signing a three-and-a-half year contract with Pick
• the Swede is one of the survivors of the great changes in the Szeged locker-room


Timur Dibirov (RUS) – HC Vardar

• in 2013 he joined Vardar as just the second club in his career
• first was Chekhovskie Medvedi, with whom he reached the FINAL4 in 2010
• key player of the Russian national team; voted best left wing of at the 2013 WCh
• fast breaks specialist and also key in defence
• married to one of the greatest Russian players - Irina Poltoratskaya


Valero Rivera (ESP) – FC Barcelona Lassa

• returned to the CL after 11 years following his transfer from Nantes
• started to play handball in Barcelona and played with the first team from 2001 to 2005, later played for four different Spanish teams in 5 years and spent 6 years in Nantes
• top scorer of the EHF EURO 2016 (48 goals), elected WCh 2015 best left winger and MVP in French League in 2012; also best left-wing in the French League 2012 & 2013
• his father, also named Valero Rivera, currently coaches Qatar

Left backs

Momir Ilic (SRB) – Telekom Veszprem

• top scorer and only player passing 100 goals (103) in the 2013/14 CL season and again top scorer in 2014/15 (114 goals), in 2015/16 2nd behind Mikkel Hansen (120 goals)
• joined THW Kiel in 2009 from VfL Gummersbach and won seven titles during his four years with the club, including two CL titles
• led Serbia to their 1st medal as an independent nation at EHF EURO 2012 as MVP
• 2013/14 and 2015/16 CL All-star team left back


Mikkel Hansen (DEN) – Paris Saint-Germain Handball

• 2011 & 2015 IHF World Handball Player of the Year went back to the FINAL4 in May 2016 with PSG, after already visiting twice with FC Barcelona and AG Kobenhavn
• son of former Danish international Flemming; having grown into a top player at GOG
• joining AG in 2011 arrived in PSG before the 2012/13 season; his headbands have now  become a collector item among PSG fans
• best CL scorer of the 2011/12 and 2015/16 editions


Karol Bielecki (POL) – KS Vive Tauron Kielce

• Poland’s biggest handball icon
• spent eight seasons in the Bundesliga playing for Magdeburg and Rhein-Neckar
• after losing sight in his left eye in an accident in 2010, the 33-year-old has made a remarkable comeback to his current steady form
• known for his ability to score from long-range


Sajad Esteki (IRI) – Dinamo Bucuresti

• had an impressive group phase in the VELUX EHF Champions League, scoring 68 goals in 9 games for Dinamo
• made the leap into European handball in 2014, signing with Stuttgart in Germany
• the Iranian back has been named “the best player of the Romanian national League” in this season
• he adapted instantly in Romania, stating in the interview he loves Bucharest and the Romanian food
• his brother, Allahkaram, is also playing for Dinamo, the first time that the two players are at the same club in Europe


Mathieu Grebille (FRA) – Montpellier HB

• most known figure of the new Montpellier wave, along with Ludovic Fabregas
• enjoyed his first national team appearance at only 21
• missed most of the last two seasons due to knee injuries
• his jumps have earned him the nickname "Flying Grébille"
• his great-grand father was an Olympic champion in boxing

Centre backs

Gabor Csaszar (HUN) – Kadetten Schaffhausen

• had played professional handball in five different countries: Hungary, Denmark, Spain, France and now Switzerland
• joined Kadetten in the middle of the 2014/15 season, arriving from French powerhouse PSG
• the playmaker of the Hungarian national team
• part of two Olympic Games (2004, 2012) with Hungary, each time finishing fourth
• national champion in Hungary and Switzerland


Andre Schmid (SUI) – Rhein-Neckar Löwen

• seven-time Swiss handball player of the year
• played for both Zürich clubs Grasshoppers and ZMC Amicitia until 2009, joined Löwen after one season with Bjerringbro-Silkeborg
• key in attack – both as playmaker and as shooter, awarded best Bundesliga player in the previous three seasons
• new team captain after Uwe Gensheimer's departure to PSG


Kentin Mahe (FRA) – SG Flensburg-Handewitt

• joined Flensburg in 2015 after spells with HSV Hamburg, VfL Gummersbach and Bayer Dormagen (coached by his father Pascal in Dormagen)
• Men's 20 EURO 2010 MVP and top scorer (49 goals); 2015 EHF Cup Finals MVP
• in 2010 a debut in the French national team, now one of the key players
• reached the Cup Winner’s Cup final with Gummbersbach in 2011/12 and EHF Cup final with HSV in 2014/15


Sebastian Skube (SLO) – Bjerringbro-Silkeborg

• joined Bjerringbro-Silkeborg from RK Celje in the summer of 2014
• Bjerringbro-Silkeborg is his first club outside Slovenia
• has played more than a hundred internationals for Slovenia and was part of the Slovenian team for the EHF EURO 2016 in Poland
• his younger brother, Stas, who plays for Szeged, plays the playmaker position just like Sebastian


Nikola Karabatic (FRA) - Paris Saint-Germain Handball

• 2007 & 2014 World Handball Player of the Year
• in his first season with PSG (2015/16), helped the club get the first taste of Cologne
• won everything there is to win, as he has triumphed at Olympics, WChs and EHF EUROs with the French national team and three times in the CL (Montpellier, Kiel and Barcelona)
• one of the most complete players with strengths both in attack and defence

Line players

Rastko Stojkovic (SRB) – HC Meshkov Brest

• joined Brest in December 2013 after spending a few months in Qatar
• the native of Belgrade started his career at RK Crvena Zvezda and moved abroad at the age of 24, spent four seasons at Pfullingen and Nordhorn
• played for Kielce in 2009-13 and won three titles of Polish champion as well as four Polish Cups, also reached the VELUX EHF FINAL4 in 2013
• became the top scorer of Brest in 2015/16 CL with 89 goals and All-star line player


Julen Aguinagalde (ESP) – KS Vive Tauron Kielce

•All-Star team line player of the 2013 WCh in Spain, EHF EURO 2014 in Denmark and EHF EURO 2016 in Poland
• nominated for World Handball Player of the Year 2012
• joined Kielce from Atlético Mardid in 2013 for his first foreign league experience
• five times participated in VELUX EHF FINAL4 in 2010-16, scored the deciding penalty throw in the 2015/16 shootout against Veszprem


Andreas Nilsson (SWE) - Telekom Veszprem

• the 26 year-old pivot has already featured in three Champions League finals having been crowned as champion in 2013 with Hamburg
• won two SEHA League titles, two national championships and cups in Hungary with Veszprém
• the Swede is sharing line-playing duties with Croatian Renato Sulic and the newcomer from Celje Blaz Blagotinsek


Patrick Wiencek (GER) – THW Kiel

• had played for Bergischer HC and Tusem Essen before he transferred to VfL Gummersbach, where he became Cup Winners’ Cup winner in 2011
• awarded “German rookie of the year” and called up to the men’s national team in 2011
• successor to the legendary Marcus Ahlm in Kiel


Ludovic Fabregas (FRA) – Montpellier HB

•at only 20 and he has already played the EURO and the Olympics, making him one of the most promising French players of late
• part of the new Golden generation of French handball, along with teammate Mathieu Grébille and PSG right winger Benoit Kounkoud
• national team coach Didier Dinart counts on him to be the foundations of defence
• youth European and world champion in mountain biking before definitely turning to handball at 15

Right backs

Dainis Kristopans (LAT) – HC Meshkov Brest

• born in a small Latvian town Ludza and started his career in the local club Latgols
• at the age of 18, moved to Tatran Presov and stayed almost six years in Slovakia, having won the national league five times
• left Tatran in February 2015 and spent a few months in Qatar before joining Brest
• with the height of 213 cm, he is the tallest handball player not only in Brest but together with Angel Montoro in the whole CL


Zsolt Balogh (HUN) – MOL-Pick Szeged

• joined Pick Szeged from Braun Gyöngyös in 2012, by 2014 overtook Gábor Ancsin in the Pick roster in his poition
• not as tall as one would expect from a backcourt player but has outstanding dribbling skills and a sharp eye for passing
• coach Pastor gave him more time and he grabbed his chance, he is one of the few who remained in Szeged from the 2015/16 team


Jure Dolenec (SLO) – Montpellier HB

• uses his original style much to his advantage, he's very efficient in small spaces and likes to shoot through the defense
• made his name in the CL with his former team of Gorenje Velenje, scoring 64 goals in the 2012/13 season
• doesn't particularly like resting since, as he says, "the more I play, the better I am"
• already has nearly a hundred games with his national team


Kiril Lazarov (MKD) – FC Barcelona Lassa

• has scored over 1,000 goals in the CL, two-time top scorer (2005/06 and 2007/08)
• powerful Macedonian back court shooter and the specialist from 7m
• most successful scorer at a single EURO (61 goals - 2012) and at WCh (92 - 2009)
• joined Barcelona in 2013 after stints with Pelister, Zagreb, Veszprem and Ciudad Real/Atletico de Madrid


Alex Dujshebaev (ESP) – HC Vardar

• son of Talant Dujshebaev joined Vardar at the beginning of the 2013/14 season
• voted best right back at the 2012 Men’s 20 EHF EURO and the 2013 Junior WCh
• top scorer of the Spanish ASOBAL with BM Aragon in 2011/12 and 2012/13
• voted best young player of the CL in 2014/15
• will join his father as he has signed with KS Vive Tauron Kielce from 2017

Right wings

David Balaguer (ESP) – HBC Nantes

• at 25 years, he’s following the footsteps of Valero Rivera. Formed in Barcelona like him, he then joined in 2015
• shares many similarities with Rivera, like coming to the spotlight with Nantes’ jersey on his shoulders
• Barcelona tried to sign him back in the summer of 2016, but he chose to extend his contract in France instead
• made his debut with the Spanish national team at the World Championship in 2017


Lasse Svan (DEN) – SG Flensburg-Handewitt

• one of the fastest wing players in the CL; same qualities as Eggert on the other side: fast counter-attacks and a high scoring efficiency
• 2nd best Danish scorer at Rio Olympics 2016; another task in his team: motivation and  relaxing – as his business is mental coaching
• after four seasons at GOG Svendborg he moved to Flensburg in 2008
• was also a billiard’s champion in his home region Seeland


Zlatko Horvat (CRO) – HC PPD Zagreb

• captain and speedy wing is a counter-attack specialist, but he is an important part of defence at the same time
• had his debut in the national team in 2006 and since then he has won four medals
• played in Zagreb from the beginning of his career and has already 13 campaigns in the CL under his belt
• in the 2010/11 season the third top scorer with 94 goals


Darko Djukic (SRB) – Vive Tauron Kielce

• made his first handball steps in his hometown Niš, where he rose to become a star of his boyhood club Železničar
• had his first call-up for the Serbian national team in 2012, with only 17 years
• scored 87 goals for Besiktas in his second VELUX EHF Champions League season
• nicknamed “The man with the magic hands” for his spectacular goal against Veszprém


Victor Tomas (ESP) – FC Barcelona Lassa

• team captain, one of the most beloved players for his courage and passion
• joined Barcelona’s youth team in 1998 and has not played for any other club
• his biggest assets are his great pace and his impressive flexibility that make him a strong player in attack but also in defence
• in 2015/16 reached 500th goal in CL and goal 1.000th in the Spanish league


Viran Morros (ESP) – FC Barcelona Lassa

• born in Barcelona, he started his career with his current club before playing for three different ASOBAL teams
• won the Champions League title twice with Ciudad Real in 2008 and 2009 and once with Barcelona in 2015
• being nominated as best defender in the Spanish league in 2008 and in the EHF EURO in 2012 he also made it to the short list of the CL best defenders for three straight seasons
• His accolades with the national team consist of one gold (WCh 2013), one silver (EURO 2016) and two bronzes (WCh 2011 and EURO 2014)


Timuzsin Schuch (HUN) – Telekom Veszprem

• destined for greatness as his Hungarian father and Mongolian mother gave him names from their nation’s great leaders (István - the first Hungarian king, Timuzsin - the birth name of Genghis Khan)
• started his career at Gyöngyös but moved to Veszprém for his studies and the club spotted him
• transferred to Constanta where he won two titles and made his debut in the CL
• after his return, he became an irreplaceable force in the middle of Veszprém’s wall


Rene Toft Hansen (DEN) – THW Kiel

• even better in defence than on the line in attack, but after Marcus Ahlm’s departure in 2013, the learning period in attack was over for him
• new captain since Jicha’s departure; EHF EURO 2012 All-Star Team member
• in the CL since 2007 with former clubs KIF Kolding and AG Kobenhavn
• his brother Henrik is playing for Flensburg, his brother Allan for Mors-Thy and his sister Majbritt for Skive – all four line players


Ilija Abutovic (SRB) – HC Vardar

• rose to nation-wide acclaim during three seasons with Partizan Belgrade, before a season abroad at Slovenian top flight RD Slovan
• was among the first signings made by Veselin Vujović upon taking over Vardar in 2011
• arrival at Vardar was a defining moment of his career, changing to a defensive-minded playing style and becoming one of Europe’s best defenders
• regular Serbian national team member since his debut in 2014, and one of the longest-serving members of Vardar
• three-time SEHA League champion, in addition to four Macedonian league trophies and four cup titles, all won with Vardar


Luka Karabatic (FRA) – Paris Saint-Germain Handball

• was a national-level tennis player until he was 19, only then turned his back on the yellow ball and chose handball
• began in Montpellier, then moved to Aix and finally to PSG in the summer of 2015
• on the CL list of Montpellier for six seasons, but did not enjoy too much playing time (in total 22 goals)
• PSG is the third club where he reunites with his brother Nikola

Young players

Jerry Tollbring (SWE) – IFK Kristianstad

• joined from league colleagues Rimbo HK in the summer of 2014
• signed as substitute to experienced Johan Jepson in the left wing position, but his skills soon made him first choice on the left wing
• his club performance in the 2015/16 season paved his way to the Swedish national team at the EHF EURO in Poland and also at the Rio Olympics
• his sister Cassandra plays on a centre back position in H65 Höör


Nikola Bilyk (AUT) – THW Kiel

• was born in Tunis, when his father Serhij was goalkeeper of the Esperance club. Later on, both played together in the Fivers club in Vienna
• was the youngest of all players at the 2015 World Championship at Qatar at the age of 18
• was awarded MVP, top scorer and best centre back at the 2014 U20 EHF EURO in Austria
• could choose between the offers of FC Barcelona and THW Kiel after the 2015 World Championship
• was top scorer of the Austrian league in the 2015/16 season at the age of 19, netting in 210 times for Fivers
• has already scored 125 goals for the Austrian men’s national team


Blaz Janc (SLO) – RK Celje Pivovarna Lasko

• one of the biggest talents in history of Slovenian handball
• already in his 5th season in the first team making his debut in the CL at 15 years old and scoring over 100 goals in the CL still as a teenager
• after Gasper Marguc’s departure to Veszprem in 2014 he used his extended playing time to become the third best Celje’s scorer (44 goals)
• best right back in the previous Men’s 20 EHF EURO 2014 and Junior WCh 2015 where he was playing with players two years older than him
• top scorer of Slovenia at the Rio 2016 Olympics (28 goals in 6 matches)


Nedim Remili (FRA) – Paris Saint-Germain Handball

• aged 21, he signed with PSG last summer, after spending all his career in Créteil
• Kamel, his father, was a professionnal handball player in Créteil, while his older brother is a professionnal football player
• for his first ever Champions League season, he's already scored 70 times in 15 games, making it in the top twenty scorers competition
• made his first appearance with the French national team in january 2016, playing at the Euro in Poland with just two international matches under his belt
• with still a lot to learn in defense, he's already branded as the «best French handball player of his generation»


Haniel Inoue Langaro (BRA) – Naturhouse La Rioja

• left Brazil when he was 20 years-old to play at La Rioja
• made his debut in the Champions League at 21 playing for the Spanish club
• played for Brazilian national team at the 2016 Pan American Championship, 2016 Summer Olympics and 2017 World Championship
• known for his offensive power, Langaro is creative and bold when seeks the goal



Xavi Pascual (ESP) – FC Barcelona Lassa

• played for a lengthy period for Barcelona and some other Spanish clubs, before becoming the goalkeeper coach at the CL record winners in 2005
• in 2009 he succeded Manolo Cadenas at Barcelona’s helm
• in June 2016 he signed a four-year contract with the Romanian national team
• in a historic season 2014/15 season won all the titles with Barca emulating Valero Rivera’s (7 out of 7) success in 1999/00


Patrice Canayer (FRA) – Montpellier HB

• currently in his 23rd season at the head of Montpellier, in which he has won over 40 trophies
• in 1994 he started his coaching career and coached players like Nikola Karabatic, Thierry Omeyer, Jerome Fernandez and Didier Dinart
• in his active career played for Bordeaux and Racing Paris


Juan Carlos Pastor (ESP) – MOL-Pick Szeged

• one of the masterminds of contemporary handball with an incredible amount of silverware in his career
• Szeged found him fit for the job of rebuilding their team in order to be able to challenge for the Hungarian title against Veszprém
• won the EHF Cup in his first year at the helm
• became also the sporting director after Szeged legend Richárd Mezei resigned


Raul Gonzalez Gutierrez (ESP) – HC Vardar

• former stalwart of BM Valladolid and a member of the Spanish national team
• started his coaching carrier in Atletico Madrid and Ciudad Real working in team with Talant Dujshebaev
• replaced Zoran Kastratovic early in the 2013/14 season at Vardar
• steered the team to a historical success - the quarter-finals of the CL for the first time and was just one goal shy of the FINAL4


Ljubomir Vranjes (SWE) – SG Flensburg-Handewitt

• former Swedish national team player, still on the players’ list of  Flensburg
• became club manager in 2009 and coach in November 2010; awarded IHF coach of the Year in 2014
• after winning the CL in the 2014/15 season he declined the number of top offers from PSG and the German national team
• led Serbia to the EHF EURO 2014 in Denmark as a caretaker, but did not continue, will move to Veszprem after 2016/17 season
• highly creative photographer in his spare time and published his book of memoirs


Author: EHF / si