Vardar will, in a rematch of last season’s F4 final on Saturday (20.30 CET) host reigning champions Telekom Veszprem. Macedonians are looking for revenge after defeat in final last season which would be a clear sign that their form is heading in upward direction.
This weekend Veszprem will also meet Metalurg in Skopje. That match is scheduled for Sunday.
Vardar is the only team which has so far managed to defeat Veszprem - once, and reach a draw against them - twice.
Last season they played 3 matches with regular season ones ending with a draw (30:30 and 24:24) and Veszprem taking final 28:26 victory to clinch the crown.
Raul Gonzales has one problem a that is the fact that he still can't be sure whether Jorge Maqueda will be ready or not. He did not play in first two rounds, against Metalurg and Meshkov but coaching staff hopes he'll be ready for the encounter against Hungarians.
Raul Gonzalez, Vardar`s coach:
Tomorrow night we will play our third game this season in SEHA Gazprom League, against the strongest possible rival. I think Veszprem is favorite, because they have the best defense full of big players, they are experienced, fast and smart. They also have excellent individuals on each position and very efficient attack. We have several new players who still have to adapt to our game, but they are improving each day. I'm sure fans will witness a good match and on the other hand this will also be a big test for us.
Stojance Stoilov, Vardar`s player:
the third round we will face our old rival, the team which we lost to
in last season's final. In first two games this season we didn’t manage to show our
true face. Veszprém will certainly be a big and tough opponent, because they
are one of the best clubs in the world. We train hard every day and hopefully
we will be able to present a game that will please our fans.
Xavi Sabaté, Telekom Veszprém`s coach:
This season Vardar is again a big candidate to reach Final Four tournament of both SEHA and Champions League. They are one of the best teams in Europe. Their great coach now has even stronger team than last season and I expect a very tough game. We're on the other side not in the best possible form yet, preparations are not far behind us and that will make things even more difficult for us along with the fact that Vardar will have amazing support from their fans playing at home, as always.
Andreas Nilsson, Telekom Veszprém`s player:
Maybe this will be our hardest game of the season so far. In the past all of our games against them were very difficult and I have no doubt this one will be tough as well. We must prepare very well in case we want to go for all 3 points. They are stronger than last season but neither team is in top form at the moment. I hope we'll be at least a bit better on Saturday and grab the win.