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04.09.2008, 13:06◄ last page     

Former European champion Romanian side want to reach the Champions League for the first time.

Steaua want to debut

Two times European champion Steaua MFA Bucharest are facing a new challenge. Since the birth of the EHF Champions League, Steaua never managed to reach the group phase.

Last season saw Steaua winning the Romanian title for the first time in 7 years. The Bucharest team completed their best season of the decade with clinching the Romanian Cup too.

The Belgian champions, KV Sasja, are the only obstacle for Steaua on the way towards the EHF Champions League groups – a premiere for the team that won European Champions Cup in 1968 and 1977 and Challenge Cup in 2006.

New players joined Steaua. Bozidar Nadoveza arrived from HCM Constanta, Dan Savenco from Medgidia and Razvan Cenusa from Uztel Ploiesti.

Most importantly, the biggest gain of Steaua MFA seems to be on the bench. Former coach, Dumitru Berbece, is now assistant to the only man in the world who won World Championships three times as a player: Cornel Otelea.

Otelea is the new manager of Steaua and he is very confident to cause surprises in Europe this season.

“At the moment we have to beat Sasja. This won’t be easy for sure. They are a good and very ambitious team. Only then we will start to prepare for the group games. Chehovskie Medvedi, Portland San Antonio and Cimos Koper need not to be presented – their results speak for themselves. But we have a very ambitious goal: we want to take at least 6 points in the group phase,” Otelea said.

Steaua will play both qualification games against KV Sasja in Romania, Buzau, 100 kms away from the capital Bucharest. On Friday at 19:00 and on Saturday at 16:00 (local times) Steaua MFA will have the opportunity to change the history of the club and reach the EHF Champions League for the first time in their history.

TEXT: Emilian Voicu

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