None of the 16 group phase participants of the new Women’s EHF Cup have more international silverware in their cabinet than Handball Club Lada.
The six-time Russian champions (all under the helm of Evgenii Trefilov) were twice EHF Cup winners (in 2012 and 2014) and won the Cup Winners’ Cup in 2002.
In addition, the club from Russian car capital Togliatti was a Champions League finalist in 2007 and reached the final of the Cup Winners’ Cup in May 2016, when they were defeated by Holstebro. But in contrast to Danish side, who lost in the third EHF Cup qualification round to Germany’s Oldenburg, Lada are in the group phase.
But the All-Russian squad nearly stumbled in the first qualification round, progressing due to a superior number of away goals compared to Norwegian side Kristiansand. In the second round, the Lada motor was running perfectly and Levon Akopyan’s team eliminated three-time Champions League winners Viborg in style.
Lada are in a state of full transition. Olympic gold medallists Olga Akopyan, Tatiana Erokhina and Irina Bliznova retired after their Rio 2016 success.
Ekaterina Kudriavtseva is ruled out with a knee injury for the whole season and Veronika Garanina is pregnant. Thus – as is traditional – new players from …