20 Years of Winning the Champions League

On the occasion of the 20th anniversary of winning the Champions League (May 12, 2001), we prepared an online walk through the golden year of the handball club Krim Mercator from Ljubljana, Slovenia.

Summary of 2000/01


The 2000/01 season was anything but easy. In the beginning, the Crimean players were waiting for Spartak Kyiv, which was defeated twice by the Ljubljana team. The highest victory in the first part of the season was recorded against the Spanish Mular L’Eliano Valencia club when they won with eleven goals difference (30:19). They shared points with Hungary’s Györi Graboplastt ETO both times. In the quarterfinals, they beat Larvik by as many as twelve goals (29:17) in the return match, and they also successfully defeated Budućnost. They were also very successful at their match on Kodeljevo (Ljubljana) towards Viborg. The Danish competitors lost in the return match of the grand final with 19:25 and finally, the celebration could begin.


The 2000/01 season brought an end to some spells, as the head coach of that time, Tone Tiselj, remembers – the hall at Kodeljevo, the first visit to Ukraine and the final match. This season, finally, as we say in sports jargon, it all came together. Reinforcements, the physical condition of the team, psychological preparation, analysis of the competitors, travel, the conditions in which the handball players trained and, last but not least, the luck they didn’t have in the past. The sporting success witnessed by the people at the club, fans, media, sponsors and supporters were indescribable. Every goal, every good defence, every move was rewarded. And the dream finally became a reality.


Loyal followers of Krim have always been its fans, who were the loudest at Galjevica and Kodeljevo, but otherwise, the real cheering began in the 90s with the city derby against Olimpija. During the greatest successes of the club – winning the Champions League – the Trbovlje Torcida and Trbouski Knapi also cheered with the Blue Bandits, who were joined at the decisive matches by Florjani from Celje, Å aleÅ¡ka graščaki, Koper and all handball fans in Slovenia. At that time, Slovenia was breathing as one, as only Slovenes know how to when our athletes are exceptionally successful.

Krim Mercator Team in 2000/2001

Upper row (from left to right): Tanja Oder (left wing), Branka Jovanović (goalkeeper), Tanja Dajčman (left wing), Olga Čečkova (right wing), Branka Mijatovič (centre back), Inna Dolgun (centre back), Deja Doler (line player), Monika Gogirla (left back).
In the middle: Damijan Janković (Secretary General), Anja Frešer (right back), Vesna Horaček (right back), Nataša Derepasko (left back), Agniezska Matuszewska (left back), Sergeja Stefanišin (goalkeeper), Maja Mitrović (line player), Marjan Doler (Vice President).
Bottom line: Tina Bogovič (secretary), Mihaela Bobocea (right wing), Tone Tiselj (coach), Robert Beguš (assistant coach), Luminita Hutupan (goalkeeper), Blažo Marojević (physiotherapist).


July 24, 2000
Krim began preparations for the season

Tone Tiselj, coach of Krim Ete Neutro Roberts: "We have set extremely high goals, and with such quality staff we are also able to achieve it. We do not hide that we want to reach the top of Europe."

November 21, 2000
Champions League group draw

At the EHF headquarters, Krim was drawn into Group D with their opponents: Valencia of Spain, Spartak of Ukraine and Győr of Hungary.

January 6, 2001
The first match and the first victory in the Champions League

The Krim Ete Neutro Roberts handball players in the 1st round in Kyiv effectively defeated Ukrainian Spartak with 26:21.

January 13, 2001
Second game and first draw in the Champions League

Krim plays in Kodeljevo (Ljubljana) with a draw against the Hungarian Győri. The result was 27:27 (11:15).

February 10, 2001
Qualifying for the quarterfinals of the Champions League

After the victory over Spartak (28:22) in the 5th round of the Champions League in Slovenia, the Krim players reached the quarterfinals.

March 3, 2001
Champions League quarter-finals: first match

The Slovenian champions lost in the first match of the quarterfinals of the Champions League in Norway against Larvik with 20:24 (9:13).

March 10, 2001
Qualifying for the semifinals of the Champions League

The Krim handball players Eta Neutro Roberts defeated Larvik 29:17 (17: 7) in the return quarterfinal match of the Champions League in Ljubljana and reached the semifinals.

April 1, 2001
Victory against Budućnost in the semifinals

In the first semi-final match of the Champions League, Krim defeated Budučnost in Slovenia with 28:21 (14: 9).

April 8, 2001
Defeat for the Champions League final

In Podgorica, Krim defended their seven-goal advantage from the first semi-final match of the Champions League in Ljubljana and qualified for the finals! Buducnost celebrated with 27:25 (16:16).

Tone Tiselj, coach: "My players are fully mature in the sports and political ambience of the Morača hall, where everything was ready for the victory of the home team, and I sincerely congratulate them."

May 5, 2001
Draw in the first match of the Champions League final

Krim handball players Ete Neutro Roberts played a draw in the first final match of the Champions League game against Danish Viborg HK 22:22 (12: 9).

Branka Mijatovič, captain: "We still have a lot to show in the return match in Ljubljana."

May 12, 2001

Krim Ete Neutro Roberts handball players have become European champions. In the return final match of the Champions League, they defeated the Danish Viborg in Slovenia with 25:19 (13:10). Krim, like the first Slovenian team, took the European throne of the strongest European club competition.

Deja Doler, line player: "The road to victory was very difficult. The Danes kept up with us all the time and did not give in, but every time at the right moment one of my teammates found herself, prevented the competition from scoring."

The History in Video

Champions League Matches in 2000/01