The EHF EURO 2018 represents Austria’s second successful qualification for the continental championship, though they also contested the 2010 edition at home. The first participation through qualification came in 2014, under the leadership of current coach Patrekur Johannesson. On both of their previous EURO campaigns, Austria made it to the main round – ranking ninth in 2010 and 11th in 2014.
Those results can be marked as Austria’s biggest successes so far, alongside the World Championship 2015, where they qualified for the round of 16 before being knocked out of the race for the title by hosts Qatar. Subsequently, Austria finished 13th, before missing out on the most recent World Championship, in January 2017, after losing their qualification play-off against 2016 Olympic champions Denmark.
Coach Johannesson travels to Croatia with a young squad including the likes of THW Kiel back, Nikola Bilyk – one of the most promising Austrian talents. The team hope to improve on their previous rankings ahead of the next EHF EURO in 2020, which they will co-host with Sweden and Norway. The event in 2020 will be the first time 24 teams contest the title at the final tournament.
14 January: Right back Thomas Kandolf (13 internationals/14 goals) replaces Alexander Hermann.
16 January: Left back Alexander Hermann (70 internationals/109 goals) replaces Lukas Herburger
Remaining replacements Austria: 4 (0 in preliminary round)
Tunisian-born centre back Nikola Bilyk won the Supercup, Austrian Cup and domestic championship in his last season spent at home playing for HC FIVERS WAT Margareten. In the summer of 2016, he moved to THW Kiel, winning his first major title – the DHB Pokal – with the ‘Zebras’ in Germany in the first season.
At the age of 20, Bilyk inspires coaches, fans and teammates with his quality play and calm manner on court. At the Men’s 20 EHF EURO 2014, he was voted All-star Team centre back and MVP of the tournament, as well as finishing as top scorer with 55 goals.
His first game for the Austria senior team was against Germany, in March 2014. Since then, he has played 41 games for the national side and scored 144 goals.
Robert Weber is one of the best wing players in the German Bundesliga. In recent years, he has consistently been a contender for the top scorer crown, winning the trophy for the first time in 2015 with a tally of 271 goals.
Weber’s career started in Austria, where he played for Alpla HC Hard and was honoured as ‘Newcomer of the year’ for the league in 2005. Three years later, Weber moved to HBW Balingen-Weilstetten for one season before transferring to SC Magdeburg, where he has played for the past eight years. He won the DHB Pokal with Magdeburg in 2016 and made it to the finals of the EHF Cup 2016/17.
Weber has played 151 international matches for Austria so far, scoring 651 goals. At the age of 32, he is one of the older players in the Austria national team and is an important leader due to his experience.
In November 2011, Patrekur Johannesson succeeded Magnus Anderson and became coach of the Austria national team. Two years later, Johannesson’s first major victory came – successful qualification for the EHF EURO 2014. With Johannesson as head coach, Austria also qualified for the World Championships 2015 by beating Norway in the play-off.
Following qualification for the EHF EURO 2018, Johannesson is the most successful national team coach in Austrian handball history. The former Iceland national team player is known for selecting a perfect mix of experienced players and young talents. After key players like Viktor Szilagyi, Conny Wilczynski, Vytautas Ziura and Roland Schlinger ended their careers, Johannesson has formed a powerful young team, which was able to beat Bosnia-Herzegovina twice and Finland once in the EURO 2018 Qualification.
Johannesson will also coach the Austria national team at the next EHF EURO, to be held in Austria, Norway and Sweden. His assistant coach is Erwin Gierlinger.
Past Performance at EHF EURO events