Rhein-Neckar Löwen

Rhein-Neckar Löwen is a professional handball club founded in 2002, based in Mannheim, Germany. The club competes in the German Handball-Bundesliga and continentally in EHF Champions League. Rhein-Neckar Löwen play their home games in SAP Arena, with a seating capacity of 14,500.

Rhein-Neckar Löwen
Full nameRhein-Neckar Löwen
Short nameRNL
Founded2002; 19 years ago (2002)
ArenaSAP Arena, Mannheim
PresidentJennifer Kettemann
Head coachMartin Schwalb
Club colours   
Official site

The club won the German championship twice under the leadership of Nikolaj Jacobsen, in 2016 and in 2017.[2]

In the 2020–21 season the team is coached by Martin Schwalb. In April 2021 it was announced that co-trainer Klaus Gärtner will take over the role as head coach next season, until Sebastian Hinze (currently head coach for Bergischer HC) will take on the role in the summer of 2022.[3]


In 1 July 2002, the club was founded, originally named SG Kronau/Östringen, following a merger between two clubs, TSG Kronau and TSV Baden Östringen. Their home ground was Rhein-Neckar-Halle. In their first season, 2002–03, the club succeeded to achieve promoting from the 2. Bundesliga to the top tier of the German handball, the Handball-Bundesliga. A season after, in 2003–04, they were relegated from the 16th position, but they returned again to the first Bundesliga in 2004–05 season, after finishing the season in the 2nd place of the 2. Bundesliga. In 2005–06 season, SG Kronau/Östringen home games were moved from the old Rhein-Neckar-Halle to the newly built SAP Arena in Mannheim. In this season, they reached the final of DHB Cup. They lost 25–26 to HSV Hamburg, and finished 6th in the Handball-Bundesliga. In the following season, they lost again in DHB Cup final, with a 33–31 to THW Kiel, and finished 8th in the Handball-Bundesliga.

In the beginning of 2007–08 season, the club's name renamed to Rhein-Neckar Löwen.[4] This season, they lost in the final of EHF Cup Winners' Cup to MKB Veszprém.[5] The Hungarians secured the title after a 60:65 win on aggregate over Rhein-Neckar Löwen. In this season, Löwen's youth team won the German championship for the first time in the history of the club. The 2008–09 season was Rhein-Neckar Löwen's best season by then, finishing 3rd in Bundesliga, and reaching the semi-final of EHF Champions League, in their first time in this competition. In 2009–10, Rhein-Neckar Löwen reached the German Cup final again. It was their third appearance in the cup final, but again they finished as runners-up, this time after a 33–34 loss to HSV Hamburg.

The club won its first title on 19 May 2013, after beating HBC Nantes (26–24) in the Final Four of EHF Cup, on its first year as EHF Cup, a merge between EHF European Cup and EHF Cup Winners' Cup.[6]

In 2013–14, Rhein-Neckar Löwen reached the DHB Cup Final Four for the seventh time in its history, but defeated by SG Flensburg (26–30) in the semi-final. In the EHF Champions League, Löwen reached the quarterfinals, and won FC Barcelona (38–31) at home, but in Palau Blaugrana they lost, 24–31, and were eliminated from EHF Champions League because of the away goals. In the Bundesliga, Löwen headed to the final game of the season as table leaders, with the same total of points like THW Kiel. Although they won VfL Gummersbach (40–35), they lost the championship to THW Kiel, who won Füchse Berlin, with a better result, 37–23. THW Kiel finished the season with a better goals difference and won the championship. Löwen finished only second.

A season after, in 2014–15, Rhein-Neckar Löwen appointed Nikolaj Jacobsen as their new head coach. He led Löwen again to the second place, and they finished as runners-up to THW Kiel for the second season in a row. But in 2015–16, Jacobsen was the first head coach to lead Löwen to a national championship, as they beat SG Flensburg by a one point. They also won the DHB-Supercup after a 27–24 win over SC Magdeburg. A season after, in 2016–17, they defended the title and achieved their second Bundesliga championship in their history.[7]



Squad for the 2020–21 season


Transfers for the 2021–22 season

Notable former players

Notable former coaches


  1. "Technische Daten" [Technical Data] (in German). SAP Arena official website. Retrieved 17 January 2012.
  2. "Nikolaj Jacobsen-erstatning får sparket i tysk storklub". sn.dk (in Danish). 22 February 2020. Retrieved 17 March 2021.
  3. "Gärtner head coach 2021, Hinze follows 2022" (in German). 17 April 2021.
  4. "Saison 2007/08". Rhein-Neckar Löwen – DKB Handball-Bundesliga (in German). Retrieved 13 November 2017.
  5. "European Handball Federation - 2007/08 Men's Cup Winners' Cup / Final". history.eurohandball.com. Retrieved 17 March 2021.
  6. "Handball: Rhein-Neckar Löwen triumphieren im EHF-Cup". Der Spiegel. 19 May 2013. Retrieved 13 November 2017.
  7. "Nikolaj Jacobsen-erstatning får sparket i tysk storklub". sn.dk (in Danish). 22 February 2020. Retrieved 17 March 2021.
  8. "Jesper Nielsen skifter til Aalborg Håndbold". Aalborg Håndbold. Aalborg Håndbold. 22 March 2021. Retrieved 26 March 2021.
  9. "Löwen klären weitere Personalien". Rhein-Neckar Löwen. Rhein-Neckar Löwen. 6 May 2021. Retrieved 6 May 2021.