Group A: Larvik HK (Norway), RK Krim Mercator (Slovenia), Rostov Don (Russia), HCM Baia Mare (Romania)
Rostov Don is one of the debutants in the Champion League groups, after winning the Russian championship in the season 2014/2015. Directed by their Danish head-coach, Jan Leslie, Rostov has became a force in European handball. Two years ago they managed to reach the semifinals of the CWC, meanwhile last year they were fighting for the EHF Cup in the final of the competition (won by TTH from Denmark).
This season they started quiet early to prepare, as already last year they announced a bunch of transfers of elite players and they started with no one else than goalkeeper Katrine Lunde (earlier Győr). In addition, six Russian internationals have transferred to Rostov – Anna Sen (Győr), Ksenia Makeeva (Baia Mare), Ekaterina Davydenko (Baia Mare), Oxana Kiseleva (Kuban), Anna Sedoykina (Dinamo-Sinara) and Maria Basarab (Zvezda). Spanish playmaker, Macarena Aguilar(Győr) ha also signed with Rostov Don, but after only three weeks of work, she was released from her contract (moving back to Siófok – Hungary afterwards).
Left the club: Ekaterina Artamonova (Kuban, Russia), Andjela Bulatovic (ÉRD, Hungary), Olga Perederiy (IUVENTA Michalovce, Slovakia), Sonja Barjaktarovic (?), Oxana Svitanko
If we analyse the squad we can quikckly observe that the Russian team has more players than maybe any other CL-participant club, for example they can dispose of five goalkeeperes (Lunde, Sedoykina, Gabisova, Basarab, Skladchikova), which is a bit unusal.
Anyway, some specialists predicts that Rostov Don could reach the MVM Final4 in Budapest and Russian’s goal is quiet daring: “Defending both trophies in Russia and winning two matches at the EHF FINAL4 in Budapest.”
Coach Jan Leslie has some concrete ideas for their first appearance in the Champions League, he stated to the ehfcl.com:
“Our goals are to play handball in a modern, fast and efficient way. We want to see packed stands in Rostov-on-Don and move forward as far as possible in the Champions League. Our opponents represent different handball institutions, so we will have interesting matches.”
Goalkeepers: Katrine Lunde, Anna Sedoykina, Galina Gabisova, Maria Basarab, Marina Skladchikova
Backplayers: Anna Punko, Ekaterina Davydenko, Rehina Shymkute, Ekaterina Ilina, Anna Sen, Vladlena Bobrovnikova, Elena Slivinskaya
Wingers: Elena Avdekova, Oksana Kisheleva, Viktorya Borschenko, Yulia Managarova, Marina Sudakova
Lineplayers: Ksenia Makeeva, Maya Petrova, Alexandra Stepanova