Nexe and Vardar will on Sunday (17.00 CET) in Nasice face-off in the first leg of SEHA – Gazprom League Quarter finals. Despite of the fact, Macedonians are reigning both SEHA and European champions, they’ll have to prove their worth out there against highly-motivated Slavonian team.
The situation is not ideal on either side. Macedonians lost one of their best players Dainis Kristopans a few weeks ago and they are still trying to figure things out without him. They have on the other hand managed to sign back player Marko Mishevski and experienced goalkeeper Borko Ristovski who will try to help ‘Red&Black’ defend the title. Nexe will on the other side on Sunday be without two of their right backs Ivan Srsen and Marko Buvinic. Recent history however works in their favor since they managed to defeat Vardar in both of their last two encounters in Nasice.
Match will be broadcasted on Arena Sport (Croatia), MRT (Macedonia), Sport TV (Slovenia) and VKontakte (Belarus, Russia, Ukraine) so make sure not to miss it!
Hrvoje Horvat, Nexe coach:
We’re both dealing with certain problems but I’m sure we’ll on Sunday deliver the best possible outing and build an advantage for the second leg. In our last match in Croatian Cup against Sesvete it was clearly visible how much we’re lacking competitive matches. I will repeat, not everything is perfect but we’ll try to play best we can on Sunday. Speaking of injury problems we’re dealing with, Srsen has returned to trainings and I hope he’ll be able to help us in the second game. We need to be brave, confident and play for our fans.
Sasa Barisic Jaman, Nexe player:
Atmosphere in the team is great, match against Sesvete additionally motivated us and I feel like we’re ready for Vardar. I’d like to invite fans to come and support us on our way to SEHA Final 4 tournament. I honestly believe we have what it takes do reach it.
Stevche Alushovski, Vardar coach:
Despite of all the problems we're at the moment dealing with, we are still reigning champions and we will travel to Nasice with a full roster. We've had minor problems with Timur Dibirov who was dealing with a cold but we have no time to feel sorry for ourselves. We've analyzed Nexe – they are playing well at home, have good 7-versus-6 attacking schemes and are solid on the defensive side of the ball. They have a longer bench but I believe in my team. We want to win!
Borko Ristovski, Vardar goalkeeper:
Although this will be my debut I am familiar with SEHA League because I've been following it for some time now. We're playing Nexe – team we eliminated from EHF Cup a few months ago while I was still playing for Benfica so I know them quite well. It will be interesting, they'll do everything to surprise us and I don't think they will underestimate us. We are still European champions and I believe we'll win this one. I'd just like to add being here really means a lot, especially because of the opportunity to work with Dejan Peric who is doing a lot to help all Vardar's goalkeepers.