Zaporozhye will on Saturday (21.15 local time) host SEHA Gazprom League group stage match with home team Motor welcoming Macedonian Vardar Skopje. 'Red&Black' are currently first in group B with two wins and Motor are second with one win and a game in hand. With Meshkov Brest and Telekom Veszprem this season joining the league in quarter-finals this will be one of the biggest SEHA regular season derbies with both teams doing well in the EHF Champions League as well rightfully aiming for SEHA Gazprom League final tournament as well.
In their two encounters last season both teams managed to secure a win on home court – Vardar 44:37 in Skopje and Motor 32:31 in Zaporozhye.
Both teams are playing really good handball this season and there is possible regular season group B top spot at stake which is why both sides are highly motivated. Because of all that, make sure to tune in and see whether five-time champions have what it takes to defeat one of the biggest surprises of the Champions League season so far. You don’t want to miss this!
Gintaras Savukinas, Motor coach:
Difficult match against Aalborg is behind us and we're still not sure whether we'll be able to count on Artyom Kozakevich in this one as he is still in the recovering process. We are facing one of the strongest European teams and it is clear this one will be far from easy for us. We're doing everything we can to prepare in the best possible way for this one and deliver a strong outing against a quality opponent and hopefully make our fans – those that will be our 'eighth' player in this one as well as fans watching us on TV, happy and satisfied.
Aidenas Malasinskas, Motor player:
We've been following Vardar and analyzing their game for some time now. They are definitely a worthy opponent which we're meeting quite often and know everything about perfectly. Our schedule is at the moment quite busy but despite of that we'll do our best to deliver our absolute maximum. Goal is for this second SEHA season to be more successful for us than the first and our main task is to secure a place on Final4 tournament.
Stevche Alushovski, Vardar 1961 coach:
Tough battle against Elverum is behind us which definitely exhausted us both physically and mentally. We don't have much time to get ready for the game against Motor – a quality team which has managed to reach some really good results in this season's Champions League. They are playing modern handball running the court really well. Key to their game is playmaker Malasinskas and a lot will depend on our defense against him. We believe we have our chances and we'll of course give our best to achieve a good result and celebrate on Saturday. The only change to our roster compared to the game against Elverum will be Stefan Atanasovski stepping in instead of Jagurinovski who is dealing with a minor injury.
Goce Georgievski, Vardar 1961 player:
Tough period, really busy rhythm. However, all of the teams we're facing are dealing with it and we were aware it's going to be like that. Motor is a serious opponent which knows how to run the court really well scoring a lot of easy goals. Really good team which we might end up meeting with in knock-out part of both SEHA and CL. We have to get ready because this will be an important match for us. Every win brings additional confidence and better atmosphere and I hope we'll manage to reach a positive outcome on Saturday.