After losing its away game against Sweden’s IK Savehof, men’s handball team HCM Constanta is trying to defend its chances tonight in Bucharest against the better-ranked MKB Veszprem (Hungary), in an effort to survive Group B and to qualify for the next stage of the Champions League. Hungary’s champions had a forceful start this season, a season in which they plan to reach the Final Four in Cologne in May 2013, gsp.ro informs. The Hungarian side defeated Slovenia’s Celje Lasko on Saturday, 32-22. Veszprem’s new players stood out in that game: Rodriguez Vaquero, Oneto Zuniga, Ugalde Garcia and Laszlo Nagy, the first coming from Atletico Madrid and the last three from Barcelona.This will be the fourth time Veszprem, the team of late Romanian player Marian Cozma, plays in Romania. It previously defeated Dinamo Bucharest, Steaua Bucharest and HCM Constanta. Three seasons ago HCM was close to registering a good result in the last-32 stage when it lost its home game against Veszprem at a four-goal difference and its away game at a one-goal difference.For the seventh time the Romanian champions have made their way to the Group Phase, but only once – in the 2009/10 season – did they manage to qualify for the next stage of the competition, according to eurohandball.com.This season they even had to go through qualification, but Constanta did not have any problems in beating their opponents – including finalist Tatran Presov from Slovakia – on their way to the dream destination – the Last 16.Constanta did not only sign four new international experienced players, but a new coach too. Zvonko Shundovski is the new boss of the bench and he will have a double function this season, as he still is coach of the Macedonian national team, which qualified for the world championship 2013 in Spain.The most important newcomer is well-known at the Black Sea: Milutin Dragicevic. From 2005 until 2007 he wore the Constanta jersey before transferring to Silkeborg (Denmark) and then to THW Kiel.Now Dragicevic is back were he started. Another inspiring newcomer is Serbian international Dalibor Cutura, arriving from Ademar Leon.But despite those transfers, Constanta are far away from being the favourite in their Group B with opponents like the two 2012 finalists Kiel and Atletico Madrid, plus top sides Veszprem and Celje.In their new hall Sala Polivalenta “Ioan Kunst Ghermanescu”, Constanta hope for an additional boost from their fans.
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