Vardar are Nexe are set to meet for the first time after their last season's dramatic quarter-finals clash when Croatian vice-champions managed to come inches away from booking a place on Zadar F4. After a one-goal loss in the first match in Nasice they reached a one-goal win away from home but Vardar went through due to goal difference which means Nexe will, without doubt, on Monday (20.15 CET) in Jane Sandaski sports hall be highly-motivated against favored hosts. Match will be broadcasted on Arena Sport channels and MTV 1.
Nexe are one of not many teams that have managed to defeat ‘Red&Black’ in Macedonian capital. They also have a huge 42:26 win against Vardar when they decided to travel to Nasice with a rejuvenated roster. Both teams will use the match as a rehearsal for wat’s waiting for them in European championships – Vardar will in the first post-WCh round travel to Portugal to meet Porto and Nexe will in a week host Alingsas in EHF Europa League. Croatian vice-champions have also a few days ago announced their new coach – Slovenian Branko Tamse who succeeded Hrvoje Horvat on their bench after Horvat took over Croatian national team. Tamse however won’t be on Nexe’s bench in Skopje as he will take over the team on Wednesday with assistant coach Franjo Lelic leading the ‘Thunders’ in this one. Another reason for you not to miss this one is because we’ll probably for the first time see Vardar’s new signing – Montenegrin national team captain Vasko Sevaljevic in action. Christian Dissinger, who suffered an injury versus Vojvodina, is still questionable for this one.
Stevche Alushovski, Vardar 1961 coach:
Nexe are a much better team that Vojvodina and we must not forget that they managed to beat us in Skopje last season which means this match will really show us how much we’ve progressed ever since. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – in SEHA Gazprom League Vardar is always favorite when playing at home and we’re not running away from that role. Nexe have a good team, we’ve taken the time to analyze them well in the last few days and I believe Vardar is ready for this new challenge.
Timur Dibirov, Vardar 1961 player:
I expect this to be a difficult one because we failed to defeat them last time. Our goal is to play better, of course, then in the beginning of the season. Nexe have a new coach which, to be honest, I’m not sure if is a good or bad thing for us. Goal is however, as always, to impose our style and rise from match to match. We’re happy to finally be back out there and we’re looking forward to this one to see how far we’ve come.
Vedran Zrnic, Nexe sports director:
We are extremely proud of the fact our now former head coach Hrvoje Horvat took over as Croatian national team coach. It all however happened very quickly and we’ve found ourselves in an unusual situation. We’ll however be fully ready for what’s waiting for us in Skopje on Monday. Unfortunately, we won’t be able to count on Borna Manci Micevic, Tomi Vozab and Marko Buvinic in this one. Mateo Rodin is also questionable but I believe he’ll be ready.
Fran Mileta, Nexe player:
Situation we’ve found ourselves in all of the sudden surprise us a bit but life goes on and what matters the most is we stay focused on the match versus Vardar. We are all aware of the opponent we’re facing but we’ve showed everyone before that we can play against them. We’ve prepared well for what is ahead of us, have a few good friendly matches behind and we can’t wait for SEHA League to start again.