EHL Men’s Preview

03/04/2021

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EHL Men’s FINAL4 sees Royal Léopold, Uhlenhorst Mülheim and Atlètic Terrassa all endeavouring to reach their first-ever GRAND FINAL, joining one of the competition’s most decorated clubs, HC Bloemendaal for this weekend’s action.
 
Here’s a breakdown of how the sides are shaping up ahead of Saturday’s FINAL4 contests:
 
Saturday, April 3 (all games at Wagener Stadium, Amstelveen)
Match 3: HC Bloemendaal (NED) v Royal Leopold (BEL), 4.15pm (CET)
Bloemendaal started this current season like a house on fire with 12 successive league wins in the Hoofdklasse, the first time this had been done in over a decade. Since then, they have suffered a few blips but they bounced back with an important 2-0 win over HGC and then hammered Hurley 9-2 to build an eight-point lead in the Hoofdklasse.
 
The three-time EHL champions have undergone an overhaul since they won the 2018 EHL. Only eight of their final winning side are back: Tim Swaen, Roel Bovendeert, Thierry Brinkman, Yannick van der Drift, captain Glenn Schuurman, Jasper Brinkman, Florian Fuchs and Floris Wortelboer.
 
Out have gone Jamie Dwyer, Xavi Lleonart, Jaap Stockmann, Manu Stockbroekx and Tim Jenniskens. In has come a glut of star quality in two-time FIH player of the year Arthur van Doren, attacking livewire Jorrit Croon and the much travelled Tom Hiebendaal.
 
Hiebendaal has an EHL winner’s medal from 2011 with HGC when he was 17 but almost three years of injuries set him back before rejuvenating his career with Uhlenhorst Mülheim, scoring nine times in 11 games in a short, corona-affected stint. Tim Swaen’s rocket corners are always a feature as is Roel Bovendeert’s predatory instincts.
 
They could also feature Wouter Jolie who made a comeback in recent months; if he plays, they will be his first EHL games since 2015.
 
For Léopold, their big news is top scorer Tom Boon passed a fitness test in midweek and so is available to play. He has already scored 28 times for the Brussels club this season and gets to line out against his former club with whom he played in the EHL in 2015, winning a bronze medal.
 
His attacking partnership with Max Plennevaux is one of the most exciting in European club hockey while Nicolas Poncelet is their other Belgian Red Lion, operating usually down the right flank from the back. French duo Gaspard Baumgarten and Jean-Baptiste Forgues bring Gallic flair.
 
Beyond those star names, much of the club’s strength comes from its long-term soldiers, guys like Dimitri Cuvelier, Tanguy Zimmer, Arthur Verdussen and Romain Henet and youth products like Dylan Engelbert, Max Muschs, Corentin de Trez and Lewis Eaton.
 
Leo is one of Belgian hockey’s original clubs and was there at the formation of their national association and has won the most domestic titles – 28. They are in the mix for another, leading their section of the Belgian league with two matches left before the playoffs but it is a tenuous state of affairs with La Gantoise and KHC Dragons both within two points.
 
Factfile
HC Bloemendaal
EHL history
2007/08 – KO16
2008/09 – Winners
2009/10 – KO8
2010/11 – KO8
2011/12 – KO8
2012/13 – Winners
2014/15 – FINAL4
2017/18 – Winners
2019/20 (incomplete season due to Covid-19) – FINAL8
 
Hoofdklasse position: 1st place (46 out 51 points)
Current internationals: Jorrit Croon, Glenn Schuurman, Roel Bovendeert, Maurits Visser, Thierry Brinkman, Floris Wortelboer all Netherlands; Arthur van Doren with Belgium; Florian Fuchs with Germany
Top scorers: Tim Swaen 16 goals, Roel Bovendeert 9 goals
 
Preview interviews: Tom Hiebendaal
 
Royal Leopold
EHL history
2012/13 – KO16
2015/16 – KO16
2016/17 – ROUND1
2018/19 – KO16 – won 9th place ranking match
2019/20 (incomplete season due to Covid-19) – FINAL8
 
Audi League position: 1st Group A, top three covered by two points (La Gantoise and KHC Dragons the other clubs)
Current internationals: Nicolas Poncelet, Max Plennevaux, Tom Boon – all Belgium; Jean-Baptiste Forgues, Gaspard Baumgarten – both France
Top scorers: Tom Boon 28 goals, Max Plennevaux 12 goals, Arthur Verdussen 7 goals
 
Preview interviews: Nicolas Poncelet
 
Head to head: first EHL meeting
 
 
Match 4: Uhlenhorst Mülheim (GER) v Atlètic Terrassa (ESP), 6.45pm
While the two sides have only met once in the Euro Hockey League – a 4-2 ROUND1 win for Uhlenhorst in 2011 – this is a match-up with loads of history, dating back to the old European Club Champions Cup. The two clubs met in four finals in 1989, 90, 91 and 92 with the German club winning each time amid an incredible run of nine successive European titles.
 
Atlèti, meanwhile, won in 1985 and then again in 1998, beating Mülheim in the group stages to that latter triumph. So typical of club hockey, lots of names traverse the generations with the fathers and sons from the Malgosa, Escudé and Cortès families in both teams while Windfeder, Hellwig and Brinkmann feature in both Uhlenhorst eras.
 
For Uhlenhhorst, it is 25 years since their last Euro title and they do so with a very strong line-up featuring seven current members of the German international panel while 18-year-old Moritz Ludwig has also recently been added to that line-up. He, however, is an injury doubt while Jan Nitschke while Ferdinand Weinke are also out.
 
Key defender and drag-flicker Lukas Windfeder and Dennis Holthaus have recovered from coronavirus and are now out of quarantine. They hope their PCR tests will be negative to allow them to travel. The flying Timm Herzbruch leads their attack while Benedikt Fürk was also in strong form in Uhlenhorst’s only game of 2021 to date, scoring twice in a 4-1 win over Crefelder HTC.
 
They are coached by Olympic gold medalist Thilo Stralkowski who stepped back from playing in 2018 and he is anticipating “a typical Spanish team, technically strong and passionate”.
 
For Atlètic, they have been playing far more consistently over the past few months and arrive in Amsterdam off the back of seven successive victories. The side is powered by the vastly experienced Sergi Enrique from the back, one of the few players still active from the original 2007/08 season of the EHL.
 
Livewire Marc Bolto captains the side with Albert Beltran back in the mix after a spell with Rotterdam while Marc Salles is back at full throttle after injury.

Otherwise, it is a new-look side this season following important retirements of Dani Malgosa, Santi Pujal, Xavi Galí and Oriol Peremiquel along with the departures of Lluís Melé and Pol Parrilla. It means new players have come in from their second team, Vallès Esportiu, Joan Dalmases, Joan Monzó and Pau Jover while Nil Escudé is back at the club after playing in Junior and FC Barcelona.

Pau Cunill (21) is another to move up from the second team and is now the top scorer due to its impressive drag-flick but his younger brother Pepe – already a Spanish international at age 18 – made his comeback last weekend, scoring twice in a 5-1 win over Giner de los Rios.
 
Factfile
Uhlenhorst Mülheim
EHL history
2011/12 – KO16
2012/13 – KO8
2013/14 – KO16
2017/18 – KO8
2018/19 – KO8
2019/20 (incomplete season due to Covid-19) – FINAL8
 
Bundesliga: 1st place, Section A (nine point advantage over UHC Hamburg)
Current internationals: Lukas Windfeder, Timm Herzbruch, Jan Schiffer, Ferdinand Weinke, Niklas Bosserhoff, Malte Hellwig, Benedikt Fürk
Top scorers: Malte Hellwig 22 goals, Timm Herzbruch 14 goals, Lukas Windfeder 13 goals
 
Preview interviews: Timm Herzbruch
 
Atlètic Terrassa
EHL history
2007/08 – KO8
2008/09 – ROUND1
2009/10 – KO8
2010/11 – KO8
2011/12 – KO16
2012/13 – KO16
2014/15 – ROUND1
2015/16 – Fourth place
2016/17 – KO8
2017/18 – KO16
 
Honor Division: 1st (48 points out of 57, only one loss)
Current internationals: Marc Salles, Marc Bolto, Albert Beltran, Joan Tarres, Pepe Cunill
Top scorers: Pau Cunill 11 goals, Pepe Cunill 8 goals, Marc Bolto 7 goals
 
Preview interviews: Pau Cunill
 
Head-to-head:
October 2011: Uhlenhorst Mülheim 4 (Schmitz, Stralkowski, Fleckhaus, Rabente) Atlètic Terrassa 2 (R Oliva, A Beltran)


EHL 2020-2021 Match schedule EHL Men and Women FINAL4 

April 3-5, 2021 (Wagener Stadium, AH&BC Amsterdam, Netherlands)  
Saturday 3 April 2021  

M1 11.30h WOMEN’S FINAL4: Club de Campo de Madrid – Der Club an der Alster 

M2 14.00h WOMEN’S FINAL4: AH&BC Amsterdam – HC ‘s-Hertogenbosch 

M3 16.15h MEN’S FINAL4: HC Bloemendaal – Royal Leopold Club  

M4 18.45h MEN’S FINAL4: HTC Uhlenhorst Mülheim – Atletic Terrassa HC  

Sunday 4 April 2021  

M5 13.30h WOMEN’S BRONZE MATCH: Loser M2 – Loser M1  

M6 16.00h MEN’S BRONZE MATCH: Loser M4 – Loser M3  

Monday 5 April 2021  

M7 13.30h MEN’S GRAND FINAL Winner M4 – Winner M3 

*prizegiving ceremony directly following the Men’s Final  

M8 16.00h WOMEN’S GRAND FINAL: Winner M2 – Winner M1  

*prizegiving ceremony directly following the Women’s Final 

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