Olivier Nyokas in the final (lost) of the Champions League against Montpellier in 2018. -
Catherine Steenkeste / SIPA
HBC Nantes will participate, Thursday evening, in Kiel, in its hundredth match on the European stage.
It all started for the “H” in 2011 in Volendam (Holland), in the EHF Cup.
Since then, the Nantes club has lost three European finals.
54 Champions League matches + 46 in the EHF European Cup, that's 100. Thursday evening, in Kiel, during the second day of the group stage of the Champions League, the HBCN will participate in its 100th match on the stage European.
🏟️ 10 consecutive seasons on the European scene, 19 handball countries discovered, 2 Final Four organized, 3 finals contested ...
From Volendam to Kiel, this Thursday, September 24, HBC Nantes will play its 1⃣0⃣0⃣th European match.
📝More info: https://t.co/vzQyQmaQjU pic.twitter.com/cyQIQ4KUXx
- HBCNantes (@HBCNantes) September 21, 2020
The European adventure of HBC Nantes began on October 8, 2011 in Volendam.
In the suburbs of Amsterdam, in a small fishing port.
In the Nantes workforce, names that many early Nantes fans have not forgotten: Dole, Sayad, Borja Fernandez, Mourioux, De La Bretèche or Siffert.
Gregory Cojean, current assistant coach of Alberto Entrerrios, remembers this trip to this charming town, located about 20 km north-east of Amsterdam.
“It was a bit of a little student drive,” he jokes.
The HBCN was still only a novice in terms of Europe.
“It was another time, another world… Some now have white hair, others much less!
Cojean laughs, looking at some journalists.
Three lost European finals
"Nantes discovered Europe then got caught up in the game", he continues, keeping "always the same DNA", according to Valero Rivera, survivor of the Dutch journey and Nantes top scorer on the European scene (336 achievements, despite a two-year interlude in Barcelona from 2016 to 2018).
"The club is growing at the speed at which it is pushed", specifies the latter when asked about the rapid and perpetual growth of "H", club still in the second national division in 2008.
“The period of discovery is over, the club's objective is higher, believes Cojean, who will never forget the first lost final in EHF (the HBCN lost three in 2013, 2016 in EHF and 2018 in the Ligue des champions) in 2013 against Rhein-Neckar in Beaulieu.
There is less room for fun.
"It must be said that after Veszprem (2019 European vice-champion) last week (24-28 defeat), the" H "follows with Kiel Thursday night and Barcelona next Thursday, two European mastodons.
HBC Nantes: The "H" is "too many gifts" and loses against Veszprem in the Champions League
HBC Nantes: How the "H" will turn without Nicolas Tournat