Steaua are definitely the club to watch this season. They are a completely new team, from a new country, that will play in the SEHA – Gazprom League. Even though Romania is not necessarily known for men’s handball, but rather women’s, the inclusion of Steaua will be a very interesting novelty not just for the SEHA – Gazprom League, but for everyone involved in regional handball, too.
Steaua Bucuresti are the Romanian vice-champions; they lost the final series against their biggest rivals Dinamo Bucuresti, despite finishing first in regular part of the season. In recent years they have been doing better and will continue to do so; SEHA – Gazprom League will definitely help them. The last time they won the national title was in 2008, but they have been fighting for other trophies since that. 2009 was the year Steaua won the Romanian Cup for the third year in a row and in 2010 they were in the semi-finals of the EHF Cup Winners’ Cup. It is clear that the glory days are behind them, but it is definitely clear that Steaua are moving forward.
Club’s history has been full of impressive accomplishments. They have won the national championship of Romania 28 times. The National Cup belonged to Steaua 9 times in their history. In Europe, they have also been historically very successful. In 1968 and 1977 Steaua enjoyed two of their most famous successes. They won the EHF Champions League in those years, but have been among Europe’s best several other times. In 1971 and 1989, Steaua Bucuresti were the Champions League runners-up, whilst also earning a place in the semi-finals in 1970, 1975 and 1986. In a period for over 20 years, Steaua were one of the best four European teams an incredible seven times! In other European competitions, the club has also been very successful. Steaua won the EHF Challenge Cup in 2006, which marks their most impressive accomplishment in modern club history. In addition to that, Steaua were in the semi-finals of the EHF Cup in 1993 and 1994, whilst it is also worth repeating that they reached the semi-finals of the EHF Cup Winners’ Cup in 2010. All these accomplishments speak volumes about the size of the Romanian club!
At the moment, the club has some very good players in their roster. The head coach Ovidiu Mihaila can be proud to rely on: Stefan Vujic, the Serbian international and former PPD Zagreb player, Nemanja Grbovic, who already tallied 227 goals in the SEHA – Gazprom League for Radnicki and Lovcen and Marin Vegar, who recorded 180 goals in 72 appearances for Nexe in the League. Gabriel Florea is another very reliable weapon, as he was the top scorer of the Romanian League on multiple occasions. Moreover, it is a very diverse squad in Bucharest. Martin Johannson is a player from Estonia, Mohsen Babasafari comes from Iran and Samvel Aslanian is Russian.
It will be a very interesting season for Steaua Bucuresti and the SEHA – Gazprom League. New challenges are something the League has been embracing every year so far, and it has been overcome successfully. No doubt that the Romanians are bringing a lot of quality to the League. An exciting period is ahead and is about to start!
Photo credits: Steaua Handball (Facebook)