Which teams qualify from quarterfinals to Final 4?
News / BHL 2011/2012 official press release
Baltic Handball League
BHL 2011/2012 official press release
Baltic Handball League
Baltic Handball League kicks-off on friday and like last year, seven teams are participating this season.
Baltic Handball League tournament starts on friday, September 23rd, when seven teams -two from Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and one from Finland start their journey for the trophy, Defending champion HC Kehra/Horizon Pulp&Paper is trying to defend their title.
Season opening match takes place in Dobele, where local Tenax is hosting Riga HK LSPA at 19.00. During the weekend, latvians are hosting finnish Riihimäki Cocks and Lithuanian clubs VHC Šviesa and Klaipeda Žemaitijos Dragunas are hosting estonian teams Kehra/Horizon Pulp&Paper and Põlva Serviti.
During the main season each team will play one game at home and one away against all teams after that best four teams will go trough to Final Four. It is not decided yet where Final Four takes place but very likely it takes place in Estonia.
Estonians dominated last year when occupied top two places
Estonians didn´t had their best start at the beginning of last season. After the first round Põlva Serviti was on the fourth place and HC Kehra/Horizon Pulp&Paper just after them. After half of season both of them improved their performance and reached to the Final Four where they played in final. After the normal time the score was tied 24:24 and Kehra won the game after overtime 28:26.
Before this season both of the Estonian teams have strengthen their squads. Example Risto Lepp joined HC Kehra and Pavel Turajev and Jevgeni Kravtšenko joined Põlva Serviti. Serviti lost one of their key player, Andrei Ternovy, who moved to Israel.
Before the start of the season either coach doesn´t want to make big words. “Our goal is to reach to Final Four, after that will see what happens,” says Jüri Lepp, head coach of Kehra. “Tournament hasn´t started yet, so I have no overview of the opponents. It is always hard to play in opponents field, but we do not give up easily and will fight for every point.”
Same as Kehra coach didn´t had Kalmer Musting, head coach of Põlva Serviti, much to say. “Lithuanians are strong at home and in addition to that we have to play without Janis Selge, who is injured at the moment,” analyzes Musting. “Lithuanian handball have made a good progress and it would be good if we win at least one game there. Our goal is to reach to top four during main season, after that we can make further plans.
Latvians, who were two bottom teams last year are looking forward to make ma better performance
Last season was not successful for Latvians because they had to satisfy with two bottom places. Riga HK LSPA was sixth and Dobele Tenax who didn´t receive any points was seventh.
“This time we would like to reach to top three,” says Andris Molotanovs, head coach of LSPA. “Few changes between two seasons have happend. Martins Davidnieks left the team and the fate of Kaspars Lisovskis is not sure yet. Normunds Blome will skip this year first games. Even tough our form is not the best at the moment we hope to win both of our opponents this weekend, Tenax and Cocks.”
Manager of Tenax, Ivars Zarins, keeps low profile. “We would like to show a good performance and take few wins,” says Zarins. “Before the beginning of the season we played some friendly matches which we lost but games were close. A lot of young players have joined the team, from who it is too early to ask for good result. Unfortunately we have to play with Cocks in Riga because Dobele sport hall was reserved before for other activities. We didn't want to mess up the calender so we decided to play in Riga.
Lithuanian teams are aiming for the place in top four
Lithuanians had a good start for last season. After the first round Klaipeda Žemaitijos Dragunas was leading and Vilnius VHC Šviesa was on the third spot. During the second round Klaipeda's good run ended and they finished fifth after the main season. Šviesa went trough to the Final Four and finished on third place, when they defeated Cocks in bronze match 25:24.
The manager of Šviesa, Raimondas Maldzius says that they hope to perform at least as good as last year. „We would like to reach to top three,“ says Maldzius. „Our team is pretty much the same as last year. Only the goalkeeper Giedrius Morkunas have left. At the moment we are not at the top form because we have been struggling with illnesses. Lately many of our players were fighting with disease. We lost our first domestic league game so our form is not the best.“
Arturas Juškenas, head coach of Žemaitijos Dragunas is faceing a hard start of season. „Our squad is been changed during the summer, in addition to that we have many injured players. Capten of the team left the club because we didn´t made an agreement and three players are injured included our goalkeeper väravavaht Lukas Simanavicius. Even tough we want to reach to Final Four in BHL and win domestic league and trophy,“ says Juškenas. „First few games will be very hard for us. During the friendly tournament we have played against Serviti and I can say that they are very good team. But at the same time we can remind that during the last season we beat both Estonians team at home.“
Renewed Finnish squad are looking into the future
For Riihimäki Cocks the last season was full of changes. They dominated in BHL and in domestic league during main season but they didn´t win any titles in neither leagues. Between two seasons a lot have been changed. Two leaders left the club, Kristo Järve and Valdar Noodla and so did head coach Raivo Laast as well. Jari Viita, manager of Cocks, says that many young players have been joined the team. “Järve and Noodla have a lot of experience but a lot of tenure as well and in addition to that too much pressure was on Järve´s shoulders”
As the team have been changed a lot, we can not wait for a great success, added Viita. “We have fixed a long time project,” says Viita. “We started preparation only in July, because of that our form is not the best at the moment. We suppose to find our game during the season and in BHL we would like to reach to Final Four.”
23.09. (at 19.00) Dobele: Dobele Tenax – Riga HK LSPA
24.09. (at 14.00) Klaipeda: Klaipeda Žemaitijos dragunas – Põlva Serviti
24.09. (at 15.00) Vilnius: Vilniuse VHC Šviesa – HC Kehra/Horizon Pulp&Paper
24.09. (at 17.00) Riga: Riga HK LSPA – Riihimäki Cocks
25.09. (at 12.20) Riga: Dobele Tenax – Riihimäki Cocks
25.09. (at 14.00) Klaipeda: Klaipeda Žemaitijos dragunas – HC Kehra/Horizon Pulp&Paper
25.09. (at 15.00) Vilnius: Vilniuse VHC Šviesa – Põlva Serviti
Season 2010/2011: 1. HC Kehra/Pulp&Paper, 2. Põlva Serviti, 3. Vilniuse VHC Šviesa, 4. Riihimäki Cocks, 5. Klaipeda Žemaitijos dragunas, 6. Riga HK LSPA, 7. Dobele Tenax.