Champions journey to the fifth SEHA title

Champions journey

The 11th edition of the SEHA Final 4 took place in the Croatian coast city Zadar from Friday, 2 September to Sunday, 4 September. Four teams that qualified for the final tournament gave their best to win the prestigious SEHA trophy, but only one team succeeded. Hungarian Telekom Veszprem for the third time in a row and for the fifth time in total became the new-old SEHA champions

Telekom Veszprem's champions journey started on Sunday, 14 August in Veszprem in a quarter-final match against Slovakian champions Tatran Presov. Despite having a favourite role in this one, Telekom Veszprem didn’t manage to seal the deal in the first 30 minutes. Hungarians managed to speed up the tempo in the second half with Pechmalbec, Elisson, and Nilsson leading the way offensively. After a dominant win, they became the first team who booked their ticket for the final tournament in Zadar. 

When arriving in Zadar, the first SEHA Final 4 encounter was against debutants, Eurofarm Pelister. After a win against Macedonian Eurofarm Pelister, Telekom Veszprem kept all their records at SEHA Final 4 tournaments: The Hungarian record champions never lost any semi-final of the competition, never lost any match at Zadar and qualified for their sixth SEHA – Gazprom League final in their sixth participation. Defending champions scored 41 goals to extend their winning streak at Zadar and enter SEHA history books because no team before had scored more than 40 goals in a single match.

Sunday's final match was the same final match as in the previous SEHA Final 4 edition. Telekom Veszprem faced Croatian champions – PPD Zagreb. After a real thriller in Zadar and PPD Zagreb's lead for 58 minutes, the Hungarian giant turned the final match around and won their fifth SEHA title. Veszprem's team captain, Rasmus Lauge Schmidt played a major role in the last minutes by scoring two decisive goals, giving two assists, and securing one turnover and one penalty. 

Three Veszprem's players secured their place on the All-star team. Mikita Vailupau took the best right wing award, Kentin Mahe was the best centre back and team captain Rasmus Lauge Schmidt became MVP of the 11th SEHA Final 4. 

The fifth SEHA title was won by Omar Yahia, Rodrigo Corrales, Petar Nenadic, Vladimir Cupara, Andreas Oliver Nilsson, Patrik Ligetvari, Rasmus Lauge Schmidt, Manuel Strlek, Peter Lukacs, Blaz Blagotinsek, Kentin Mahe, Yehia Elderaa, Zoran Ilic, Dragan Jacques Pechmalbec, Mikita Vailuapu, Adrian Sipos, Gasper Marguc and Bjarki Mar Elisson. 

Photo credit: kolektiffimages