|02.10.2008, 11:41||◄ last page|
The Spanish team are determined to reach the Champions League Group Stage on home court.
Itxako to write history
The Spanish runner-up will host Group 1 of the CL Qualification Tournament 2. This will be a great opportunity for the team of Ambros Martin to qualify for the CL competition – for the first time in club’s history.
There is no single favourite in the group. Itxako coach Ambros Martin analysed the group for Eurohandball.com:
“The Croatian team had great results in the first month of the season competition and they are a very strong team. Leizpig are a traditional club in the competition and they will be very dangerous too. Perhaps the Greek team are not so strong, but it will very difficult”.
Itxako have the advantage of playing at home:
“It is true that we lost important games in Estella last season, but the things will be different now. We know that it will be very difficult, but we have confidence,” said Spanish coach.
Amazing Nerea Penna
This season Itxako signed some new faces. The back player Sissel Nygard Pedersen arrived from Alicante. The goalkeeper Marion Callave came from Merignac. But the most important reinforcement was the 18-year old back player, Nerea Penna. After three matches played in the Spanish championship she is top scorer of Itxako with 21 goals.
Noticing her great performance, Spanish national coach Jorge Duenas decided to call Pena up for the senior Spanish NT. But she is not the only one.
Itxako have no less then five Spanish national players (Barno, Alonso, Pena, Fernandez and Pinedo). For the first time in the club’s history, Itxako provides the biggest group for the Spanish NT.
In last five seasons Itxako have shown development year by year. Last season they played in the EHF Cup Final and took the second place in the Spanish championship. That was the best season in the club’s history. This time they want more: a place in the best handball league in the world, the Champions League.
Tournament in Estella will start on Friday, 3rd of October.
All matches will be played in Sports Hall Tierra Estella-Lizarerria in Estella, Navarra. Spanish Canal 4 will broadcast the games live.
TEXT: Ivan Ambros and Fernando Urra Goni