Arminen’s Bele looking to summon spirit of 2014 in Barcelona

SV Arminen are hoping to summon the spirit of 2014 for their fifth EHL campaign with the Pau Negre Stadium the venue for the most famous weekend in the club’s history.

A resounding win over Kelburne was backed up by a draw against Atletic Terrassa, enough to go through to the KO16 for the first and only time.

Crucial to that performance were the Bele brother Alexander and Robert and the latter says it will always stand out.

Robert Bele, left, in action for SV Arminen vs Grange last season. Pic: Frank Uijelnrboek/World Sport Pics

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“That weekend in Barcelona was really special for us,” Robert told the EHL website.

“Nobody thought that we could top this group but, after beating Kelburne 5-1 with some wonderful goals, we were really self-confident to get the draw with Atletic to top the group due to goal difference.

“Of course this is one of the best EHL memories, but every minute of playing in this competition is really special!”

This weekend, they have another big task in front of them, coming up against Belgian third place finishers Herakles in the KO16. Bele says his side are in good shape at this early stage of the season.

“We had a really good preparation for the EHL with games against TSV Mannheim as well as HGC at our home turf in Vienna! After these two massive weekends for us, we needed a bit of time to get back to full strength.

“But for the EHL, which is our highlight this autumn season, we will be prepared! The national squad trains together in Vienna [for their Olympic qualifiers] so we have only the positive side effect that the international players of our squad are in full training!”

In the Austrian league, they have run up three wins out of five outings, with German player Robert Campe, Sebastian Eitenberger, Lucas Loser, Patrick Schmidt and Fabian Unterkircher among the goals.

The Bele boys have been central in Arminen’s rise in recent years, playing a key role in a series of national championships success. It was not something that was always in their family history but the club is reaping the benefits of long-term structures.

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“My brother and myself do not bring a family background of playing hockey with us but we started together quite early and have played together ever since, despite our international adventures, in Belgium and Germany.

“The connection with our teammates is really strong and most of us play together since early youth days, therefore it’s like family for us!

“Our club started with a structured youth section with professional trainers and coaches about nearly 20 years ago. With our strong core of players who have played together since our youth days and the addition of talented young players, we are really successful over the past years and the aim is to hold that level.”

As for the challenge of Herakles, he knows Arminen will be underdogs but is looking forward to the challenge.

“I think Belgian Hockey is at its peak right now so every team from there is a really strong side. They will play a fast and skillful hockey, we will seek our chances out of a strong defense and fast counters. Let‘s see what this game brings, we are ready for this challenge!”