Groups set for 2022–23 Champions League

Elverum’s Tobias Grøndahl Named Best Young Player

Tobias Grøndahl

Photo: Geir Olsen / NTB
Tobias Grøndahl rejoices after Elverum defeated Arendal in Game 2 of the REMA 1000 league finals. The European Handball Federation named the 21-year-old the Best Young Player in Champions League.

MICHAEL KLEINER
Business and Sports Editor
The Norwegian American

The European Handball Federation finished up the 2021-2022 season with the announcement of its All Star teams, then had the draw for the 2022-2023 campaign.

The men’s All-Star Team included five repeat awardees and five newcomers from seven different clubs. Niklas Landin  Jacobsen of THW Kiel was the goalkeeper for the third straight season: Hampus Wanne (SG Flensburg-Handewitt) the left wing;  Petar Nenadic (Telekom Veszprém) the left back; Kentin Mahé (Telekom Veszprém) the center back, while the right back is Dika Mem (Barça), Aleix Gomez (Barça) the right wing for the third time, and Kamil Syprzak (Paris Saint-Germain) line player.

Tobias Grøndahl of Elverum took home the Best Young Player Award; Hendrik Pekeler (THW Kiel) Best Defender, and Talant Dujshebaev (Lomza Vive Kielce) Best Head Coach.

The 21-year old Grøndahl is only the second Norwegian selected to the All-Star team after Sander Sagosen, who plays for Kiel. Grøndahl had 99 goals in 26 league games in his third season for perennial champion Elverum (25 wins, 0 draws, 1 loss, 50 points), second on the team behind the 114 scored by Orri Freyr Thorkelsson. He added 81 goals in 16 Champions League games in which Elverum was  3 wins-3 ties-10 losses. Grøndahl scored 9 goals twice in Champions League play, a 30-27 win over HC Meshkov Brest and 34-30 victory over Pick Szeged, and 8 goals twice, in a 33-32 loss to HC Meshkov Brest and a 39-32 defeat at the hands of Montpellier.

2022-2023 Champions League

On July 1, the drawing for which teams will be in what group for the group phase of the 2022-2023 men’s and women’s Champions League, was held in Vienna, Austria. It will be the 30th year of the tournament.

For the men, Elverum will be in a tough Group B that includes three teams that have combined for 16 Champions League titles: Barça (Spain), which won its 10th title last month; THW Kiel (Germany) four championships; Lomza Industria Kielce (Poland) 1 title, and RK Celje Pivovarna Laško  (Slovenia) 1 championship. The remaining teams are no slouches: Hungarian champion Pick Szeged, Danish power Aalborg Håndbold, and French second-place side Nantes.

Group A includes only one team that has won a Champions League title, SC Magdeburg (Germany), which won it in 2002 and is making its first appearance since 2005. French power Paris Saint-Germain (France), FC Porto, CS Dinamo Bucuresti and GOG, which won their respective country titles in Portugal, Romania, and Denmark; Telekom Veszprém ll HC (Hungary), which has been to the Final4 seven times. Orlen Wisla Plock (Poland), and HC PPD Zagreb (Croatia) round out A.

Play begins Sept, 14, 2022, with the Final4 June 17-18, 2023, in Cologne, Germany.

Women

Norway has two teams, two-time defending champions Vipers Kristiansand in Group A, and Storhamar in Group B.  Vipers are joined by Odense Håndbold, (Denmark); two-time former champions Krim Mercator Ljubljana (Slovenia); 2021 finalists Brest Bretagne (France), and 2016 winners CSM Bucuresti (Romania); SG BBM Bietigheim (Germany); FTC-Rail Hungaria (Hungary); and DHK Banik Most (Czech Republic).

Györi (Hungary), Metz (France) and Esberg (Denmark) made the Final4 this season. Now, all three are in Group B. The other four clubs are two-time champions WHC Buducnost BEMAX (Romania).

(Monténégro); Kastamonu Belediye GSK (Turkey), HC Lokomotiva Zagreb (Croatia) and newcomer CS Rapid Bucuresti (Montenegro).

The first round begins Sept. 10–11, and the Final4 will be June 3-4, 2023, in Budapest, Hungary.

This article originally appeared in the July 29, 2022, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.

Michael Kleiner

Michael Kleiner, business and sports editor, has more than three decades of experience as an award-winning journalist and public relations professional. He has operated his own PR and web design business for small businesses, authors and community organizations in Philadelphia since 1999. Not of Norwegian descent, he lived in Norway for a year with his family at age 11 and has returned as an adult. He is the author of a memoir, Beyond the Cold: An American’s Warm Portrait of Norway, and a member of the Norwegian American Chamber of Commerce Philadelphia. Visit Kleinerprweb.com; beyondthecold.com.

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