Krems back on Austrian throne after 42 years
UHK Krems were one of the dominating forces in Austrian men’s handball in the 1970s, bagging the domestic title in 1973, ’75 and ’77.
What followed was a 42-year-long national title drought, which finally ended this season when Krems defeated favoured HC Hard 3:2 in the best-of-five finals series of the Spusu Liga. With the series locked at 2:2, Krems won the all-decisive match 27:22 in front of a 1,500-capacity home crowd.
Even though they had not won the championship for more than four decades, the success for Krems did not come as a huge surprise. The squad might lack real stars but is a strong blend of talented players.
The team from the Wachau area led the table after the regular season and also topped the winners’ stage with the top-six ranked teams. And they had already won the Austrian cup for the first time in nine years.
UHK ist MEISTER 2018/19!!! Im 5. Spiel der @spusu_Liga Finalserie holt sich der UHK Krems nach 42. Jahren den langersehnten 4. Meistertitel!!!#gemmaUHK #GeballteLeidenschaft #spusuLIGA #uhkkrems— MM UHK Krems (@uhk_krems) June 8, 2019
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The highly successful season made head coach Ibish Thaqi a proud man.
“What we have achieved this year in the cup and the league is incredible,” Thaqi said. “We have a young squad which has accomplished this success. The decisive factor has been the team spirit: they are always there to help each other.”
Hard have won the Austrian championship five times since 2011/12, but they have now been beaten in the finals series for two years in a row after losing to Fivers Margareten last season.
Photo © 2019 SEPA.Media | Guenther Iby/Carsten Harz