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Who wins the Handball-Bundesliga 2020/2021?
Bundesliga is considered as one of the best leagues in Europe for decades with the French LNH Division 1 being the only competition close to the prestige of Bundesliga. It was founded 55 years ago with the upcoming season being the 56th edition of the competition. It was split into two section North and South up to 1977 when it was merged into one. The most decorated team in the league is the constant handball force from north of Germany THW Kiel who won the Bundesliga 21 times.
Fourteen other teams won the competition with the fallen giant Gummersbach being the second-best with 12 titles.
Seasons are usually played from August or September to May, but the 2020/21 season calendar will be different due to the coronavirus and it should start on October the 1st. Also note that with the season ending earlier than expected no teams were relegated and the two best teams from the 2. Bundesliga were promoted. That means that in the 2020/21 season we will have 20 teams and every team will play 38 games which is 4 games more than the previous seasons.
The two teams promoted are the three times Bundesliga champions in the late eighties TUSEM Essen and HSC 2000 Coburg.
Last season we witnessed a huge shock for the whole world of sport due to the coronavirus pandemic. Many competitions managed to play through the pandemic, but the Handball-Bundesliga stopped and declared THW Kiel as the champions. SG Flensburg-Handewitt being the runners-up are joining Kiel in the Champions League next season while SC Magdeburg, TSV Hannover-Burgdorf and Rhein-Neckar Löwen won the EHF Cup places.
The main favorites to win the Bundesliga is of course the best team from last season THW Kiel and this season they look even stronger with the elite centre back Sander Sagosen joining them from Paris Saint Germain. Sagosen will join the locker room already filled with one of the best players in the world. Among others, Sagosen will partner the master of defense Domagoj Duvnjak who was named last season’s MVP by the players, directors and coaches for the second time in his career.
Niklas Landin Jacobsen who is considered as one of the best goalkeepers in the world, big-name players like Niclas Ekberg, Nikola Bilyk, Magnus Landin Jacobsen, Harald Reinkind and many others will certainly be a massive help to Sagosen and Duvnjak.
Considering how strong his roster is, head coach Filip Jicha, once a great player himself, will surely be expected to bring the twenty-second league title to Schlesswig-Holstein, the northernmost state of Germany. Jicha was able to bring success in his first season as a head coach and that gives him credit and confidence to make it happen again.
Someone who will be looking to strip the title away from Jicha and THW Kiel are their fierce neighboring rivals from Flensburg. They were the runners-up last season and are probably not extremely happy with the way the season ended. Flensburg was only two points behind Kiel and were hoping to catch them by the end of the season even though that task was more fantasy than reality, especially knowing that Kiel even had the game in hand.
Flensburg were actually looking to make it three in a row because they were the winners in the two previous seasons 2017/18 and 2018/19, but that did not happen.
Maik Machulla, the Flensburg head coach since 2017, is eager to get the title back to Flensburg but comparing his roster with the roster of his colleague Filip Jicha he should be realistic and make the Champions League spot Flensburg’s top priority.
Captain Lasse Svan is companied with last season’s top scorers for Flensburg Goran Johanessen and Jim Gottfridson with 110 and 101 goals respectively, Benjamin Burić and Torbjorn Bergerud were very solid between the sticks, also they have an extremely physical force in Magnus Rød who stands at 204 cm. Flensburg’s biggest new signing is Mads Mensah Larsen who scored 65 goals for Rhein Neckar Löwen last season.
Speaking of Rhein Neckar Löwen it should be mentioned that they are considered third favorites by the bookmakers. The team from Mannheim are the two-time consecutive champions of 2015/16 and 2016/17 seasons. In the last few years RNL have fallen back behind their rivals but are looking to bounce back with their new head coach Martin Schwalb who was appointed in the February of this year.
Schwalb is a true German handball legend who already won the Bundesliga as a coach in 2011 with HSV Hamburg.
RNL roster looks very interesting with some more experienced players like their top scorer Uwe Gensheimer, Jesper Nielsen, Alexander Petersson and Patrick Groetzki mixed in with some younger upcoming stars like Romain Lagarde, Lukas Nilsson, Jannik Kohlbacher and Ymir Őrn Gislason.