HBL: Rhein-Neckar Löwen get Vranjes and Birlehm

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The troubled handball Bundesliga club Rhein-Neckar Löwen has signed coach Ljubomir Vranjes.

The 48-year-old will take over the post until the end of the season, the Mannheim team announced on Wednesday evening. The Swede won the Champions League in 2014 with SG Flensburg-Handewitt.

“After a detailed analysis, the supervisory board and I agreed that we needed a new impetus in the current sporting situation,” said managing director Jennifer Kettemann.

The lions, two-time German champions, are currently only eleventh in the table with 14:20 points.

Klaus Gärtner, who was promoted to head coach about a year ago, will return to the role of assistant after the season as planned and become Sebastian Hinze’s assistant coach. The Bergisches HC coach will take over the lions for the coming season.

“This decision does not change anything in our further planning after the season,” said Kettemann on Wednesday.

Vranjes was eliminated from the current European Championship with the Slovenian national team in the preliminary round. According to Kettemann, his expertise is “just as undisputed as his reputation as a motivator”.

It was already clear beforehand that national goalkeeper Joel Birlehm would come to the Löwen from league rival SC DHfK Leipzig with immediate effect. The change of the 24-year-old was originally planned for the summer of next year.

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