The pre-season for the Handball Bundesliga are moving forward apace. Not surprising, as the first round of the DHB Cup launches in just two-and-a-half weeks. Just eight days later the first matchday for the 2016/17 season in the DKB Handball Bundesliga will be held. Unfortunately for the team from North Hesse, it will be a bit longer before the preferred roster is ready. Namely Johan Sjöstrand will be missing at the start. The keeper recently underwent an arthroscopic procedure on his knee and will require somewhat longer than originally anticipated to heal. The club in red and white has reacted with a personnel move, quickly acquiring Svetislav Verkic to serve as a backup keeper. The 35-year-old Serb has signed a contact for the coming season with an option for both sides to terminate on 31/12/2016.
Photo: Svetislav Verkic and MT President Axel Geerken at the contract signing
Svetislav Verkic spent last season in the kit of the ThSV Eisenach and was one of the fabled few keepers in the strongest league in the world able to point at 200 or more saves. He had previously spent four years showing off his strong form with Slovakian EHF Cup participant Tatran Presov, winning the national league and cup four times with that tradition-rich club. His boss there, by coincidence, was former Melsungen coach Rastislav Trtik. Now Verkic has made himself available immediately to the MT.
"The most recent tests and examinations by our medical staff earlier this week showed that Johan Sjöstrand will need at least another six weeks before he's ready to go. To make sure we're ready at this crucial position for whatever might come, we decided to back up and support René Villadsen and Maurice Paske with another keeper. We're pleased to have been able to recruit a highly experienced player at that position like Svetislav Verkic on such short notice. His contract with the MT is for the 2016/17 season and contains a provision allowing either party to terminate it on 31/12/2016”, explains MT President Axel Geerken on the transaction.
Svetislav Verkic will have to get to know his new teammates under competition conditions. The keeper will be expected to be ready in the red-and-white kit with a number 12 on the back, currently unused, for the Heide Cup that starts on Thursday. The international pre-season tournament in Schneverdingen runs from 12 – 14 August and will feature not just the team from North Hesse, but also the SC DHfK Leipzig, the Kadetten Schaffhausen, Motor Saporozhye and the HSG Wetzlar, among others.
Key Info for Svetislav Verkic
Date/place of birth: 11/6/1981 / Novi Sad (Serbia)
Size / Weight: 190 cm / 98 kg
Marital status: married, 2 children
Previous clubs: Vojvodina Novi Sad , Roter Stern Belgrad, Crvena Zvezda (all SRB), Madeira Sad (POR), Oppsal (NOR), Tatran Presov (SVK), ThSV Eisenach (GER).
Career highlights: 4x national champion and 4x Association Cup winner in Slovakia; 1x Champion and 1x Cup winner in Serbia; 40 Junior National Matches, Junior European Champion.