Eight club teams from five continents will fight for one trophy at the fifth straight edition of the IHF Super Globe since 2010 in Doha, held from 7-12 September. But after four times in the Al-Gharaffa Arena, 2014 will mark another milestone for the most prestigious club handball competition in the world: The IHF Super Globe will be the first test event for the 2015 Men’s Handball World Championship and will be held in the newly built Qatar Handball Association Complex, one of four new venues for the World Championship (15 January to 1 February).
The preliminary round will be played from 7 to 9 September and eight teams vie for the semi-final spots. The defending IHF Super Globe champion is FC Barcelona, the most successful handball club in the world. The Catalans, who won the 2013 final against former EHF Champions League winner HSV Hamburg, top group B. At the head of group A is current European Champions League winner SG Flensburg-Handewitt. Additionally the continental champions from Africa, Pan-America, Asia and Oceania have qualified for the event, officially hosted by Qatari club Al-Sadd. The third Qatari participant in addition to Al-Sadd and Asian champions Al-Jaish—is the wild card team Al-Ahli.
Both European sides can earliest face in the semi-finals (11 September), but as both are supposed to top their group after the preliminary stage, a dream final on 12 September could come true.
“This is a different moment and a different competition. We have a lot of respect for Flensburg and if we play against them we will try to win – but do not have feelings like revenge on our mind”, said Barcelona coach Xavi Pascual, whose team had been beaten by Flensburg in der Champions league semi in May, prior to the departure to Doha – but his motto for the IHF Super Globe is the same as for the VELUX EHF Champions League: “When FC Barcelona plays we are always obliged to try to win and it is our target is to achieve the title again.”
“Flensburg and Barcelona are the favourites, but it’s handball and everything can happen during an event like the IHF Super Globe,” Barcelona team captain Victor Tomas is aware of all opponents.
On the other hand, the dessert trip is something special for SG Flensburg-Handewitt: “I am a coach full of passion, so every title, every trophy is brilliant – and we are always aiming to win titles, in Doha too”, coach Ljubomir Vranjes says.
Three of four previous IHF Super Globe finals in Doha saw a German-Spanish final pairing. Twice (2010 and 2012) Atletico Madrid were the winners, 2011 it was THW Kiel and 2013 FC Barcelona.
The two best ranked teams from groups A and B will face off in the semi-finals on 11 September at 17:30 and 20:00 local time. Before those matches, the placement round for ranking positions 5 to 8 will begin. The final will take place on Friday, 12 September at 20:00; at approximately 21:45 the new IHF Super Globe champions will raise the trophy on the winners’ podium, awarded by IHF President Dr. Hassan Moustafa. The Egyptian is looking forward to the IHF Super Globe. “Qatar is ready for the World Championship, Qatar is ready for the IHF Super Globe,” Moustafa said.
But mainly the Qatari teams are eager to prove their improvement, mainly Asian champions El-Jaish hope to be the great underdog to make it to the final.
On Friday, the first official training sessions of the participating teams were held to the unofficial opening of Qatar Handball Association Complex. Officially the event and the arena will be opened in a colourful ceremony on Sunday prior to the last match of the first competition day.
Groups for the IHF Super Globe 2014:
Group A: SG Flensburg-Handewitt (GER), El Jaish (QAT), Al Ahli (QAT), HC Taubaté (BRA)
Group B: FC Barcelona (ESP), Espérance Sportive de Tunis (TUN), Sydney University (AUS), Al Sadd (QAT).