Only two days after important wins in EHF Champions League, MVM Veszprem and PPD Zagreb will meet in SEHA Gazprom League' derby match in "Veszprem Arena" (Monday, 17.45 CET). Two teams have played a very tight match in European elite competition only a week ago at the same place, when Momir Ilić netted winning goal only ten seconds before the end for important success - 27:25, which put Hungarian champions in the battle for the first place in the Group.
However, two teams will be motivated enough to fight for leading places in regional competition in the finish of the regular season.
Xavi Sabaté, MVM Veszprem coach:
After this tough schedule we will play once again against a very good team. PPD Zagreb are playing very well this season. I expect a very tough match like it was in Champions League. They've showed they are a great team, they lost against Paris only by two goals, in Flensburg by one and we won only by two against them at home. Obviously, it will be a very tough game again.
Mirko Alilović, MVM Veszprem goalkeeper:
I think maybe it will not be so tough game like it was in Champions League because both teams have already booked a place on SEHA Final4, but matches between Veszprém and Zagreb are always a real derby. They are always a team that is difficult to beat. They have hard defense and really patient attack. This is why we have had a lot of problems against them since Veselin Vujovic became their head coach. In almost every match the difference between our two teams was one or two goals. But, of course, we would like to win this game, too.
Andrija Nikolić, PPD Zagreb assistant coach:
Tough match expects us in Veszprem as usual, but challenge will be even bigger, because we are going to Veszprem with combined roster with a few junior and cadet players. Reason for such a decision is tough schedule and also a fact that result in Veszprem doesn’t change things too much. Hungarians will be No.1 at the end of the season, for sure, while we've already achieved our goal with placement on Final4 in Varaždin. Chance for debut in such a strong competition for Daniel Vusić, Filip Turčić, Ivan Panjan. It will mean a lot in their development process and gathering experience as for juniors Arian Jović, Jakov Vrdoljak and Petar Medić. Veszprem have a role of favorite, but we are going there to play a quality match and to try to make as good result as possible.
Luka Raković, PPD Zagreb' right wing:
It isn’t easy to play against the same rival two times in 10 days, especially against the team like Hungarian champion. Tough match against Celje has made us physicaly and mentaly empty, so that’s why I think that is a good thing that some players will stay on regeneration in Zagreb before the match against Kiel. SEHA Gazprom League is getting better with more quality, but the fact is that match against Veszprem doesn’t mean too much. We, older guys, will have to get more on ourselves in match in which is everything clear. MVM Veszprem are favorites, but I also expect from our young guys to show that they deserve a place in PPD Zagreb and to justify the epithet of Croatian handball future. I expect an interesting match.