Polish handball has been boosted by the recent success of KS Vive Targi Kielce - the first club from Poland to qualify for the VELUX EHF FINAL4 in Cologne this year. A large number of Kielce players are in the squad of German born coach Michael Biegler, who succeeded on Bogdan Wenta in 2012, decided to focus on his club Kielce after Poland failed to qualify for the Olympics.
Biegler's task is a difficult one, on the one hand he needed to qualify for the EHF EURO 2014, but at the same time keep one eye on developing a team for the next EHF EURO event, hosted by Poland in 2016. Biegler has injected fresh blood into his team, a team where many players are 29 years or older. These talents are guided by experienced stars like the Lijewski brothers, playmaker Tkaczyk and the Jurecki brothers.
The Polish tactics still is built upon highly efficient back court shooters and the powerful line player Bartosz Jurecki - as with nearly the same squad they had their major successes in 2007 and 2009, when they won silver and bronze at world championships. In 2010 they were highly close to their first ever EHF EURO medal, but first lost the semi against Croatia and then the bronze final against Iceland in Vienna.
The Polish goalkeeper is one of the most experienced as well as one of the most recognised Polish players.
He won silver at the World Championship 2007 and bronze at the World Championship 2009. The same year he was voted World Handball Player of the Year and one year he was awarded 'Best Goalkeeper' at the EHF EURO 2010.
At 35 Szmal is still considered to be one of the best goalkeepers in the world and is without question the No.1 in the Polish team.
During his long career he has spent eight years in the German Bundesliga where he played almost 200 matches for first TuS N-Lübbecke and the Rhein Neckar Löwen.
In 2011 he returned home and joined Polish champions Vive Targi Kielce with whom he came third at the 2013 VELUX EHF FINAL4.
Being one of the very Polish internationals who still play abroad, Bartlomiej Jaszka has developed into a key player for German side Füchse Berlin since he joined them in 2007.
The playmaker of the national team is known as a very tough player. Polish fans remember how he played with a broken arm during the bronze medal match at the World Championship.
Jaszka is a smart player who knows when and where to pass the ball even when his teammates are heavily guarded, but he also knows when to shoot on his own.
After having played for many years in the Spanish Asobal league, Mariusz Jurkiewicz joined Orlen Wisla Plock at the beginning of the 2013/14 season.
Jurkiewicz is known as a fantastic player in defence but since he joined Plock, where he is playing under the guidance of Spanish national team head coach Manuel Cadenas, he has shown some good matches in attack as well.
He might be a bit underrated at times, but definitely plays a very important role in the Polish national team.
THE COACH - Michael Biegler
The 52-year-old Michael Biegler assumed experience when he was assistant coach of the German national coach from 1993 to 1996 and as head coach for many German clubs including VfL Gummersbach and SC Magdeburg.
In September 2012 he succeeded Bogdan Wenta at the helm of the Polish national team. At his first majot tournament on the bench, Poland finished 9th at the World Championship 2013 in Spain.
He has now taken on the task of rejuvenating the Poland’s national team success already becomes visible. In November 2013 Poland came second at the four-nation Super Cup, only narrowly losing to eventual winners Germany and showing some great handball against Sweden.
Past Performance at EHF EURO Events