September. It’s the expected time by a lot of coachs and players in handball world. Back to intense competition for nearly nine months in which a lot of young players will reveal to the eyes of handball fans. Handball Talents offers you a look at these upcoming talents before everyone else.
1992/1993 generation is no longer in junior category since the end of U21 World Championship this summer so we will now focus on 1994/1995 generation and some players from 1996.
Jonas Maier (19 years old – Kadetten Schaffhausen)
The goalkeeper from Rhein Neckar Löwen is on loan to Schaffhausen this year where he’ll be able to acquire useful experience in a minor championship and in EHF Cup. In this season’s beginning, he plays one half per game, the 40 year old lituanian goalkeeper Arunas Vaskevicius playing the other one. Considering the advanced age of Vaskevicius, all the cards are in Maier’s hand to finish number one goalkeeper before the end of the season.
Niklas Kraft (19 years old – Sävehof)
Coming from Ystad where he played with youth team last year, Niklas Kraft will be the second goalkeeper of the big Sävehof behind Peter Johannesson, the talented swedish goalkeeper from 1992/1993 generation. Best goalkeeper of the U18 Euro in 2012, Niklas Kraft will have to quickly confirm his potential considering the young age of the two goalkeepers.
Lovro Mihic (19 years old – Zagreb)
It seems you have to be called Lovro to suceed on the left wing in Zagreb. After Lovro Sprem who won the bronze medal with the croatian senior national team in January, Lovro Mihic is the new talent from Zagreb on the left wing and his title of best left winger at the last U19 World Championship is an evidence of this. Already extremely efficient in breakthroughs and 7m shots, he will be a great alternative solution for Zagreb in Champions League where he already scored 5 goals against Pick Szeged last year.
Yves Kunkel (19 years old – Minden)
The left winger of the german golden generation which already won the gold at the U18 Euro and the bronze at the U21 World Championship is ready to do his first steps in Bundesliga with Minden. With 7 goals in two games, he will be a real contender for the 29 year old left winger Aljoscha Schmidt.
Marko Mamic (19 years old – Kadetten Schaffhausen)
Best left back of both U18 Euro and U19 World Championship, Marko Mamic has moved early in Switzerland to play Champions League with Kadetten Schaffhausen. He did a big game against Berlin last year by scoring 9 goals and did a great season in swiss championship by scoring 69 goals. For his second year with the Kadetten, people are waiting for him to confirm and become one of the best player in swiss league and in EHF Cup.
Luka Maros (19 years old – Pfadi Winterthur)
Another player from swiss league. At only 18, he was the best scorer of Zürich (102 goals) last year. He moved to ambitious Pfadi Winterthur this summer to play a big role in championship and to discover EHF Cup. Alongside with Kevin Jud and Marvin Lier, other young swiss talents, Luka Maros has the clear opportunity to become the next big talent from Switzerland.
Paul Drux (18 years old – Füchse Berlin)
Paul Drux is one of the first product of the new german politic for young players. Recruited by Berlin in 2012, he already did some nice apparitions in Bundesliga and Champions League last season. He signed his first professionnal contract this year and Berlin has betted a lot on him to succeed Iker Romero. After a tiring Youth World Championship, he currently plays with the second team but we should quickly see him with first team as soon as EHF Cup will begin.
Nemanja Mladenovic (19 years old – Gummersbach)
An hazy story last season saw Nemanja Mladenovic travel to Qatarfrom Gummersbach in March. But some negociations and a good prolongation offer convinced him to stay in Gummersbach for two more years. In a team where almost all the big names are gone, he has to prove he can be a reliable player as Raul Santos showed it in a few months. With 6 goals and a great attitude in defense, he has alreday started to show his talent this season, we hope he is able to keep it up.
Tim Suton (17 years old – Rhein Neckar Löwen)
Tim Suton is the youngest player of this selection but not the less talented. Voted best middle back of the last U19 World Championship, Rhein Neckar Löwen recruited him this summer but he is still able to play with Saarlouis in 2. Bundesliga to develop his talent. Compared to Karabatic by many observators, he already scored 29 goals in 3 games this season.
Jon Azkue (19 years old – Bidasoa)
In the pure tradition of spanish handball, Jon Azkue is a very sharp middle back. He currently discovers Asobal with Bidasoa, one of the newcomer this season. It will be a tough season for this club but he will have a lot of playing time to improve and maybe have the same path as his eldest, Pablo Cacheda.
Hleb Harbuz (19 years old – Dinamo Minsk)
Belarus is a rising nation in handball, just look at its last performance at international level (qualification for last World Championship, qualification for the upcoming Euro ahead of Slovenia) and they have a great generation which is coming. The best one of this generation is certainly Hleb Harbuz, who already has some great skills to play both in penetration and from long range and we should have some chance to see him playing in Champions League.
Sander Sagosen (18 years old – Haslum)
Seen as the next Borge Lund in his country, he was the second best efficient shooter from 9 meters in the last Youth World Championship but he also have some great passing skills. Transferred to Haslum this summer, he will learn a lot with Erlend Mamelund at his sides and maybe do a great campaign in Challenge Cup.
Pascal Vernier (17 years old – Stafa)
Pascal Vernier is the other big swiss talent from this generation who has permitted to Switzerland to do such great results in youth and juniors tournaments these last years. After the last season where he scored 2 goals per game, it seems this season will be a turning point in his career. With already 6 goals per game after 4 games, he would likely be transferred in a biggest club at the end of the season.
Niclas Kirkeløkke (19 years old – GOG)
This generation is full of talented right back and Niclas Kirkeløkke is at the top of them. Voted best right back of both U18 Euro and U19 World Championship, he is seen in Danemark as the strong right back they search since so many years. This season, he discovers the danish first league with GOG, a club which has trained players like Anders Eggert, Torsten Laen or Thomas Mogensen. And the least one can say about him is that he does a wonderful start with 20 goals in 4 games enabling his team to win three of his four first games, not an easy thing for a new club in a league.
Stefan Terzic (19 years old – Vardar Skopje)
Already Champions League winner with Hambourg at 19, Stefan Terzic didn’t manage to get the trust of Martin Schwalb so it’s a new adventure which starts for him in Skopje. With Alex Dujshebaev, he forms the most promising pair of right backs in Europe in one of the most ambitious club. But he will need some playing time to regain his level because the things he has shown in U19 World Championship were far from his level of 2012.
Nedim Remili (18 years old – Créteil)
Nedim Remili wasn’t part of youth french team this summer because of an exhausting end of season with Créteil to try to maintain the club in LNH. They failed despite a lot of young talents (Quentin Minel, Hugo Descat, Antoine Conta) but this season in french second division will let Remili develop himself quietly like Timothey N’Guessan did at the same age.
Luka Sebetic (19 years old – Zagreb)
Luka Sebetic is definitely wise beyond his years. He was already at the U18 Euro in 2010 as he was only 16 and at the U19 World Championship one year later. We haven’t seen him at the U19 World Championship because of an injury which prevents him to play from august 2012 until february 2013 so he prefered to stay at home this summer to avoid another injury. And it was a great idea as he already did some interesting games in Champions League this season and it will be pretty interesting to follow his progress.
Peter Hornyak (17 years old – Essen)
Peter Hornyak is a young man in a hurry. Voted best young player in Hungary in 2012 as he was only 16, he has moved to Essen in 2. Bundesliga this summer to already have a taste of Bundesliga. For his first two official games in Germany he scored 15 goals in order to mark his territory in a very young team whose lack of experience was the first cause of relegation from 1. Bundesliga last season.
Ignacio Plaza (19 years old – Puerto Sagunto)
Ignacio Plaza is a mistery. He did his first game in Champions League at the age of 16 with Ciudad Real and then he slowly disappeared before bouncing back in Guadalajara for two seasons. But he only played a few games so he decided to move to Puerto Sagunto this summer. He will have a lot of playing time in attack and defense in a time which will fight for relegation. A lot of eyes look at him and now he will have to justify his title of best pivot of the U21 World Championship this summer and to confirm his potential.
Simon Hald Jensen (18 years old – Aalborg)
Simon Hald Jensen was voted MVP of the last U21 World Championship and he is the first pivot to win this reward in a youth competition. A lot of pressure is now on the shoulders of the young danish pivot who will have some chances to show his skills in Champions League with Aalborg. He should be the number one on the position next season after the departure of Bagersted for Magdeburg.