Derby of the round: Challenge for Vardar and an even bigger one for Celje PL
In SEHA - Gazprom League Round 6 derby Celje will on Saturday host reigning Champions League and SEHA - Gazprom League champions Vardar Skopje. Based on everything we know about two SEHA powerhouses and their previous encounters it is clear we’re poised for another great clash. Only two teams were so far this season able to take full bags from Zlatorog - Telekom Veszprem in EHF Champions League and Meshkov Brest in SEHA Gazprom League. Both teams are in good form - last Tuesday Celje PL outplayed League rookies in Pancevo with 37:26 while on the other side Vardar displayed pure dominance beating PPD Zagreb with 30:23 in a real champion manner.
Branko Tamse, Celje Pivovarna Lasko coach:
We’ll host European champions Vardar - best team in the World in my opinion. It’s really great to see them step on the court, breathe as one and prove their worth in any aspect of the game. It is, of course, hard to play against them but we’ll do our best to prepare for the match, see what they are doing good and hopefully find some things that are not functioning so perfectly. I expect a thrilling and interesting match in which we’ll have to deliver a perfect outing in both attack and defense. It is important to be focused when stopping their marvelously fast transition - they punish everything scoring in a matter of seconds after a missed shot on the other side of the court. We’ll miss Borut Mackovsek who is still recovering from elbow injury plus we’re still not sure whether we’ll be able to count on Beciri who missed the match in Pancevo.
Tilen Kodrin, Celje Pivovarna Lasko player:
I can say Vardar are European champions and still the best team around. They are equally dangerous on every position but we’ve got to take this match like we do every other - we want to win each time we step on the court, play our best no matter how tough task is ahead of us. They are still unbeaten in both competitions and we’ll try to be the team to end that. We surely won’t surrender before the match.
Raul Gonzales, Vardar coach:
We’re expecting a very fast game because Celje are always playing like that, especially at home. We watched them play against Kielce. Their defense is tough, with a lot of pressure and they’ll surely find some kind of a new combination for us. We have to be focused and careful - they are a team made of both experienced and young players. High intensity game is surely ahead of us but I believe we’ll be fully motivated.
Mijailo Marsenic, Vardar player:
After two tough matches against Barcelona and PPD Zagreb, tomorrow we will play against another team of good quality. Maybe we are a bit tired, have minor injuries, but we are also European and SEHA League champions. They will certainly play tough, run a lot and we must be ready to respond to that. We have to stop their best player Mlakar but also play patiently and be focused in order to celebrate in the end.
Match from Celje will be broadcasted on Arena Sport TV channels, Sport TV (Slovenia) and EHF TV.