Kadetten: Ambitious, but under reconstruction

MAL7445 V EHF / Björn Pazen

This article is the second in a series of countdown stories, presenting all 24 teams that will play in the EHF European League Men 2022/23 group phase. Today: Kadetten Schaffhausen.

After last year’s top transfer Joan Cañellas lifted Kadetten Schaffhausen to new heights in the Swiss league and the EHF European League, now the team will have a kind of re-start, with a newly composed roster, but still the ambition to enter the knock-out stage of the European League.

Main facts

  • after three years without a title in the Swiss league, Kadetten took the trophy again, beating 2021’s champions Pfadi Winterthur in the final series 3:0
  • Kadetten play their 26th season in EHF European Cup competitions, and have qualified for international competitions every year since 2004
  • in the 2021/2022 season, they proceeded to the quarter-finals of the European League, beating Sävehof in the Last 16, but then failed against Wisla Plock 
  • the team of Icelandic head coach Adalsteinn Eyjólfsson is in a state of transition: eight players left, eight new players arrived from four different countries
  • former team captain Dimitrji Küttel is among those who left (to Luzern-Kriens). The new team captain is Austrian international Lukas Herburger

Most important question: Can Kadetten go as far as last season with their new squad?

Two of their best scorers of the last season – Jonas Schelker and Samuel Zehnder – left as well as defence boss Erik Schmidt, goalkeeper Kristian Pilipovic and team captain Dimitrji Küttel. Therefore, coach Adalsteinn Eyjólfsson has a challenge ahead to rebuild the starting seven.

But at least two new arrivals have the international experience to bring the team ahead: goalkeeper Martin Ziemer and Croatian back Sandro Obradovic. Mehdi Ben Romdhane, Robin Heinis and Odinn Thor Rikhardsson are young talents, who will have to grow with the team. But thanks to Joan Cañellas, Kadetten still have an extraordinary player in their squad who can decide matches on his own. The wing positions look a bit weaker than in the previous season.

How they rate themselves:

For manager David Graubner, a former Kadetten player, the primary goal is to continue in the way of the last season.

“We want to qualify for the best 16 teams - and from then on go as far as possible. Playing in the EHF European League is a high priority for Kadetten. We can attract spectators and sponsors with it. But also for the allocation of new players it creates a high attractiveness,” Graubner says.

New team captain Lukas Herburger was aiming for his first trophy in the new role, a target he has already achieved by winning the Swiss Super Cup. However, in terms of expectations for the international season, the Austrian is quite confident.

“Most probably, the German teams will be fighting for the title, first and foremost Füchse Berlin. Although chances for Kadetten to win the title are rather low, never say never – it is certainly not impossible,” Herburger says.

Under the spotlight: Martin Ziemer

Kristian Pilipovic was in a class of his own last season, and it was obvious that big clubs would be eager to sign the Croatian-Austrian goalkeeper. Finally, he signed for Machineseeker EHF Champions League participants Orlen Wisla Plock, leaving big boots to fill at Schaffhausen.

But in terms of experience, the new number 1 between the posts is even better: 39-year-old former German international Martin Ziemer, arriving from German club HC Erlangen. He showed his exceptional class already in the preparation and in the Swiss Super Cup, which Kadetten won 32:25 against Swiss cup winners Amicitia Zurich.

“When you see him on court, you cannot believe his age, Martin looks seven, eight years younger,” says coach Eyjólfsson. “Together with Ignacio Biosca, he will form a perfect duo between the posts.”

Although chances for Kadetten to win the title are rather low, never say never – it is certainly not impossible.
Lukas Herburger
Captain, Kadetten Schaffhausen

What the numbers say

The newly formed Kadetten squad with eight new arrivals consists of players from eight countries: Switzerland, Spain, Germany, Hungary, Austria, Croatia, Iceland and Slovenia. Even the team captain – Austrian Lukas Herburger – is foreign. Four former players joined German clubs.

Did you know?

In 26 years of being part of EHF club competitions, Kadetten have played 11 seasons in the EHF Champions League group phase, reaching the Last 16 twice – the first Swiss club to reach this stag. But their biggest international success was making it to the finals of the EHF Cup in 2009/10, when they beat German side TBV Lemgo in the first leg, but then lost in aggregate after eliminating eventual Champions League winners SG Flensburg-Handewitt in the semi-finals.

Arrivals and departures

Arrivals: Martin Ziemer (HC Erlangen), Jost Brücker (GC Amicitia Zurich), Sandro Obranovic (RK Zagreb), Mehdi Ben Romdhane (Kadetten junior team), Robin Heinis (VLF Potsdam), Odinn Thor Rikhardsson (Knattspyrnufélag Akureyrar), Igor Zabic (Limoges Handball)

Departures: Jonas Schelker (HSG Wetzlar), Samuel Zehnder (TBV Lemgo Lippe), Maximilian Gerbl (TSV Hannover-Burgdorf), Erik Schmidt (HSG Wetzlar), Kristian Pilipovic (Orlen Wisla Plock), Philip Novak (end of career), Dimitrij Küttel (HC Kriens-Luzern)

Past achievements

EHF Champions League:

Last 16 (2): 2010/11, 2011/12
Group phase (9): 2005/06, 2006/07, 2007/08, 2012/13, 2014/15, 2015/16, 2016/17, 2017/18, 2019/20

EHF European League

Participations (including 2022/23): 3
Quarter-finals (1): 2021/22
Last 16 (1): 2020/21
Qualification (1): 2021/22


EHF Cup:
Runners-up (1): 2009/10

Cup Winners’ Cup:
Semi-finals (2): 2007/08, 2008/09
Quarter-finals (1): 2005/06

Swiss league: 12 titles (2004/05, 2005/06, 2006/07, 2009/10, 2010/11, 2011/12, 2013/14, 2014/15, 2015/16, 2016/17, 2018/19, 2021/22)

Swiss cup: 9 titles (1998/99, 2003/04, 2004/05, 2006/07, 2007/08, 2010/11, 2013/14, 2015/16, 2020/21)

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