Celje PL eager to get back on winning track despite of injury problems
Slovenian champions Celje Pivovarna Lasko will meet Croatian runners-up Nexe Nasice in the opening match of SEHA - Gazprom League's Round 7. Team led by coach Branko Tamse is facing a difficult period in which some of the leading players can't help their team-mates due to injuries - Luka Mitrovic is lost for the rest of the season, while on the other side injuries of Borut Mackovsek and Ziga Mlakar are putting a lot of pressure on young back-line Dujshebaev, Malus and Vujovic. They managed to deliver a solid resistance against Flensburg in CL but they will on Tuesday face an even bigger challenge playing Nexe which is a must-win match for Celje in case they wish to book a place on F4.
Team from Nasice on the other hand had a lot of time to prepare tactics for the match and will enter the clash with some kind of favorite role.
Branko Tamse, Celje Pivovarna Lasko coach:
This time we are hosting a good team from Nasice. They have changed their squad since last season. Some of the experienced players are still there and they have a mixture of young talented and experienced players like Zrnic, Mrdenovic and Barisic-Jaman. Young ones are mostly former Croatian youth national team players and they added Leban from Ribnica as well. Under the lead of their coach Hrvoje Horvat they are playing fast and modern handball, using 7 on 6 play actions when attacking, they are fast and defensively can use different variations. That is why I expect one interesting match, where we will have to show our top form if we want to win. Of course that is the goal in front of our fans even despite of the facts we'll have many players sidelined due to injuries.
Branko Vujovic, Celje Pivovarna Lasko player:
When we are playing at home we are dangerous for every team in Europe. Everyone must prepare well when coming here. Same thing is against Nexe. We've seen them play, they have a very good team, coach and it is not going to be easy to beat them. But that is our goal especially since we are playing in front of our fans. We've against Flensburg seen that we can play well despite of all the injuries.
Hrvoje Horvat, Nexe coach:
I extremely respect the team from Celje. They have excellent results this season. I see their transition as their biggest strength this season. Fast and easy goals. During the last week we focused o the defensive part of our game as we must improve the density which is No.1 thing to work on in case we wish to achieve a good result in Celje. They are also dealing with some injury problems, just like us. I expect my players to enter the match fully focused, strive to do the best. If we deliver such a performance we might have a chance to surprise our hosts.
Aljaz Lavric, Nexe player:
We expect everything but an easy match in Celje. Many big European names struggled in Zlatorog and we're all well aware of what's waiting for us. They are dealing with some injuries but we won't travel there with full roster either. However, I expect a good match and believe in a positive result. They've got excellent transition which is a thing we'll have to be fully focused on. We need a team performance. I believe in us.
Match is scheduled for Tuesday (17.15 CET) and will be broadcasted on Arena Sport channels, EHF TV and Sport TV in Slovenia.