After many years without great international success, the Polish men’s national team returned to rank among the worlds’ best, like the phoenix from the ashes, with the silver medal at the 2007 IHF Men’s World Handball Championship defeated by the host team Germany in the final.
At every tournament since then, the Polish team is among the circle of favourites. For many years national team Coach Bogdan Wenta has been trying to unite the stars of the team, scattered across the globe, by enticing them back to the homeland and especially to the club, which Wenta manages, based in Kielce.
Most notably, former German legionnaires such as Grzgegorz Tkaczyk, Slawomir Szmal (now injured) and Mariusz Jurasik followed the call. Nevertheless, Poland is still waiting for its first European Championship medal in its history.
In 2010, Wenta’s troop reached the semi-final but lost against Croatia and was ultimately defeated in the bronze medal match by Iceland. In the qualification for EHF EURO 2012 Serbia, Poland gave a commanding performance losing only one match (in Slovenia) in addition to giving a point away in Portugal eventually winning the group.
Based on ranking eighth at the 2011 IHF Men’s World Handball Championship in Sweden, Poland did not manage to snag one of the tickets to the 2012 Olympic Games; therefore for Wenta & Co. (and for many other teams), Serbia is viewed as one step closer to London.
Poland ranked first in Group 3 of the Qualification with 9 points after four wins, one draw and one loss. This was enough to get Poland a ticket to the Final Tournament in Serbia.
Krzysztof Lijewski spent six years together with his brother Marcin contracted to German champions HSV Hamburg, this season he moved to Rhein-Neckar Löwen. Known for his hard throws as well as his one-on-one plays, Ljiewski stands tall at 195cm and claims an advantage over many of his opponents. An important element for national coach Wenta is the smooth coordination between Ljiewski, left back Karol Bielecki and his brother Marcin with whom he shares the right back position. His career began at the Polish club Ostrowia and in 2005 he moved to Germany. At the 2007 and 2009 World Championship with Poland, Ljiewski won the silver and bronze medals respectively.
The bearer of the Order of the Polish Knights has a remarkable career as a player and a coach behind him. The 50-year-old played in Danzig, and notched up five championships titles and was twice a finalist in the European Cup of the National Champions. In 1989, Wenta moved to Spain where he played for Bidasoa Irun before signing with FC Barcelona. After six years on the Iberian Peninsula Wenta moved to Germany and donned the jersey for Nettelstedt. Following 185 appearances for the Polish national team, Wenta changed his citizenship and became German. With over 50 appearances for the DHB (German Handball Federation) including the 2000 Olympic Games, his last station as a player and his first as a coach were with SG Flensburg-Handewitt in Germany.
In 2002 at the age of 41, Wenta officially ended his playing career and promptly became assistant coach and prior to his 2006 triple European Cup victories, Wenta took up his first executive post at SC Magedeburg. At the same time, Wenta had been coaching the Polish national team for two years. In 2007, he led the team to the silver medal followed up sensationally with the bronze medal in 2009. Since 2008, Wenta has coached the top Polish club Kielce and his successes here have led to several titles and three consecutive EHF Champions League appearances.
|15.01.||18:15||POL vs SRB|
|17.01.||18:15||SVK vs POL|
|19.01.||18:15||POL vs DEN|
Polish Handball Federation Website: www.zprp.pl