Facts and Figures before the start of the 12th SEHA - Gazprom League season
It is show-time again, as the 12th season of the SEHA - Gazprom League is just about to start - eight teams from five countries duel for the trophy, six have group matches ahead, two are directly allocated for the quarter-finals. The four aggregate winners of the quarter-finals will proceed to the SEHA – Gazprom League Final 4 which will be held from 21 to 23 April.
Here are more Facts and Figures ahead of the start.
1 team only - PPD Zagreb - had been part of all eleven SEHA Final 4 tournaments since the premiere in 2012.
1 city – Zadar – was hosting the SEHA Final 4 three times (2020, 2021, 2022), while two cities were organizers twice: Skopje in 2013 and 2018 and Brest in 2017 and 2019. Besides, Zadar was the third Croatian host city after Zagreb in 2012 and Varazdin in 2016. Novi Sad (Serbia 2014) and Veszprem (Hungary 2015) hosted each one tournament.
2 times, the defending SEHA - Gazprom League champion was the defending EHF Champions League champion at the same time: Vardar in the 2016/17 and the 2018/19 season.
2 SEHA Final 4 hosts - Veszprem (in 2015) and Vardar (in 2018) - managed to raise the trophy on home ground. In 2012, Zagreb missed the final at home, in 2013, Vardar lost the final at Skopje against Zagreb. In 2017 and 2019, Brest finished third-ranked.
2 different Presidents are part of the SEHA - Gazprom League history: Mihajlo Mihajlovski (from 2011 until 2022, now Honorary President) and Bozidar Djurkovic, who was elected in 2022.
3 times in the history of SEHA Final 4 tournaments, two teams from the same country duelled in a semi-final: in 2013, when Vardar beat Metalurg 22:21, in 2019 and 2022, when Zagreb beat Nexe 28:23 and 32:26. Once in eleven editions years, two teams from the same country - and even the same city - faced in a final: in the premiere event in 2012 Vardar beat Metalurg 21:18
3 different clubs only have won the eleven SEHA Final 4 tournaments: record winners Vardar (2012, 2014, 2017, 2018, 2019) and Telekom Veszprem (2015, 2016, 2020, 2021, 2022) and Zagreb (2013). Only Skopje and Veszprem managed to defend their titles - both even gained a three-peat. All three clubs are again part of the new season.
4 clubs - PPD Zagreb, Vardar, Tatran Presov and Nexe - are part of the SEHA - Gazprom League since the start and now have their 12th season ahead. Vojvodina have their ninth appearance, Telekom Veszprem their seventh, Eurofarm Pelister play their fourth season, Partizan their third.
4 times in the history of the SEHA - Gazprom League (2015, 2016, 2017 and 2020), Vardar, Zagreb, Brest and Veszprem composed the field of participants of the SEHA Final 4.
5 different countries - Croatia (5), Serbia (1), Hungary (1), North Macedonia (2) and Belarus (2) - hosted the Final 4 tournaments of the SEHA - Gazprom League since 2012.
5 nations are represented by the eight clubs, which are part of the 12th SEHA - Gazprom League season 2022/23: Croatia (2), North Macedonia (2), Serbia (2), Slovakia and Hungary (each 1).
5 different Spanish coaches have steered their teams to the winners’ podium of the SEHA - Gazprom League: Raul Gonzalez (Vardar), Carlos Ortega (Veszprem), Xavi Sabate (Veszprem), Roberto Parrondo Garcia (Vardar) and David Davis (Veszprem).
6 times - every time they were part of the competition - Veszprem made it to the SEHA - Gazprom League final. Five times, they won it, in 2017, they lost it against Vardar.
6 teams were part of the 2015 edition of the SEHA Final 4 in Veszprem, as for the first and only time, quarter-finals had opened the event.
6 teams will face in two groups at the start of the SEHA - Gazprom League - Group A is composed of Eurofarm Pelister, Nexe and Vojvodina, Group B by Vardar 1961, Tatran Presov, Partizan. Telekom Veszprem and PPD Zagreb were directly allocated for the quarter-finals.
8 times in total, Vardar made it to the final of the SEHA League (2012, 2013, 2014, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020), Veszprem were part of six finals, PPD Zagreb were finalists five times, Meshkov Brest twice and Metalurg Skopje once.
10 different teams qualified for the SEHA Final 4 since the start in 2012: Zagreb (11 times), Vardar, Meshkov Brest (each 9 times), Veszprem (6 times), Tatran Presov, Metalurg, Nexe (each 2 times), Motor Zaporozhye, Celje and Eurofarm Pelister (each 1 time).
9 times, Vardar team captain Stojanche Stoilov was part of the SEHA Final 4 tournaments and is also one of three record winners by five trophies alongside Veszprem’s stars Andreas Nilsson and Gasper Marguc.
9 times at nine SEHA Final 4 tournaments events in a row from 2012 until 2020 Vardar and Zagreb had locked horns. In 2013, Zagreb won the final 25:24 after extra time, in 2018 and 2019, Vardar turned the page around to win the final 26:24 and 26:23. In 2012 (30:29), 2014 (30:22), 2016 (26:24), 2017 (36:28) and 2020 (30:29 after penalties) Vardar took the upper hand in the semi-finals, in 2015, Zagreb won the bronze final 26:23. In 2021 and 2022, Vardar had missed the SEHA Final 4.
11 different players had been MVPs of the eleven SEHA Final 4 tournaments, but only three clubs were represented by them: Zagreb (Zlatko Horvat/2012), Vardar (Strahinja Milic/2013, Timur Dibirov/2014, Joan Canellas/2017, Luka Cindric/2018 and Dainis Kristopans/2019) and Veszprem (Chema Rodriguez/2015, Momir Ilic/2016, Rodrigo Corrales/2020, Petar Nenadic/2021 and Rasmus Lauge/2022).
11 goals had been the biggest difference in any final of the SEHA League so far, when host Veszprem clashed Brest 32:21 in 2015, ahead of the 2020 final at Zadar, when Veszprem beat Vardar 35:27. The 2021 edition - Vezsprem vs Zagreb - was the first one to be decided in a penalty shoot-out.
13 of 16 matches at eight SEHA Final 4 events were won by Vardar, while Veszprem won eleven of twelve matches at six tournaments so far.
13 different countries have been represented by clubs since the start of the SEHA - Gazprom League in the 2011/12 season: Croatia, North Macedonia, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Slovenia, Montenegro, Slovakia, Hungary, Belarus, Romania, Ukraine, Russia and PR China.
20 goals, scored by Mikita Vailupau for Brest in the 2019/20 group match against Metaloplastika (33:35), are the All-time high in a single match - since last season, Vailupau plays for Veszprem.
29 different clubs had been participating in the SEHA - Gazprom League since their start in the 2011/12 season.
34 goals were the biggest ever difference in any SEHA - Gazprom League match, when Veszprem beat Maks Strumica 50:16 in the 2015/16 regular season.
682 goals were scored by Zlatko Horvat for PPD Zagreb to be the All-time top scorer of the SEHA - Gazprom League. Second-ranked is Timur Dibirov by 593 goals for Vardar and PPD Zagreb - and he still is part of the competition with the Croatian record champions.
2394 goals were scored in all previous eleven SEHA Final 4 tournaments (semi-finals, bronze medal matches and finals).