After a loss in Champions League in Plock, PPD Zagreb will on Tuesday (19.00 CET) in Sutinska vrela sports hall welcome Macedonian vice-champs Metalurg. With recent injuries of Mario Vuglac and Matej Hrstic, PPD Zagreb' roster got highly limited on back positions, especially when we look at the first part of the season when they also had Stipe Mandalinic (who left to Füchse Berlin a few weeks before the national team break) as well as Zarko Markovic whose contract expired at about the same time. By all that, David Miklavcic will spend at least a few more weeks away from the court and Josip Vekic is still not fully ready as he recently returned after healing an injury. Tin Lucin was also not able to practice lately which brings us to a conclusion that coach Saracevic will have to use some kind of magic to make everything work with so many players being sidelined at the moment.
Metalurg on the other hand have nothing to lose in Zagreb but are as well coming without a few important players who left the club during the winter break. However, win against Vojvodina in the last round came as a proof that youngsters playing for Macedonian vice-champs definitely have enough both motive and will to prove their worth to everyone out there. It will be interesting to see Croatian national player Halil Jaganjac face-off against some of his national team colleagues who are wearing PPD Zagreb' colors.
In their premier clash of the season, Zagreb reached a dominant win in Skopje.
Match will be broadcasted on ehf TV, MRT (Macedonia), Sport TV (Slovenia) and Arena Sport channels.
Zlatko Saracevic, PPD Zagreb coach:
We'll do our best to prepare well for the match. What happened with Vuglac during the match in Poland is just something you can't really do anything about, I'm really sorry about him, he'll surely miss three or four months. Despite of that goals remain the same, we've got to adjust a bit but I believe we'll work it out. Atmosphere in the team is great at the moment and that's what matters the most. Each one of the guys will have to step up and do his part in case we want to keep up in this good rhythm. Metalurg have a young team, full of quality players but I repeat our goals remain the same - we want to win.
Arian Jovic, PPD Zagreb goalkeeper:
We're trying to stay positive despite of these two tough injuries that occured in the beginning of the second part of the season. I believe we'll work everything out together. Metalurg can be a tough opponent in case you do not enter the match fully focused. They are good, young, have nothing to lose and we've got to give our best.
Aleksandar Jovic, Metalurg coach:
Hosts are clear favorites in this one but we’ll look to deliver the best possible outing in Zagreb. We have the youngest roster in the league and surely see matches like this as a chance for them to grow but that doesn’t mean we’ll surrender easily. We have the quality and in case we manage to play best we can I believe might surprise them.
Vanja Ilic, Metalurg player:
We respect Zagreb, they are one of the best teams in the league but in case we manage to deliver our best and keep the tempo high throughout the full course of the game we might stun them. Win against Vojvodina was some kind of a self-confidence booster. Key is to keep up the rhythm, not to slow down as the match comes to a close.