Celje Pivovarna Lasko will on Wednesday (19.00 CET) welcome Macedonian vice-champions Metalurg in a match in which winning is a ‘must’ for Slovenian champs if they want to keep up with clubs from the upper part of the table and stay in SEHA Gazprom Final 4 race.
It is however easier to say that than to actually do it. Slovenians just returned from a long and exhausting trip to Brest and Metalurg will surely be highly motivated, flying on wings of a victory from a week ago when they managed to edge highly favored Tatran in front of their own fans in Skopje. On top of that, win would bring Aleksandar Jovic and his boys on a verge of F4 race as they would have 12 points and come within one game from Tatran Presov which is currently holding fourth place.
Celje PL will on the other hand in only four days play another highly competitive and important match against Gorenje so it is left to see whether Branko Tamse will manage to find the right defensive answer for Metalurg’s recognizable 7-on-6 playing style or will player factory from Skopje bring another big SEHA name to its knees?
Aleksandar Jovic, Metalurg coach:
We know Celje is a strong team which is having a great season in both Champions League and SEHA Gazprom League. We must give our best match in - match out because that is the only way to grow and become better. These matches can only serve us well as we can gather a lot of experience, see where we are at the moment and we hope to achieve a good result against Celje.
Filip Kuzmanovski, Metalurg player:
We’re playing good handball all season long but have huge oscillations late into the match and it often costs us points. However, we believe in ourselves and feel like we can play competitive matches against anyone. Celje will be a huge test for us ahead of the derby against Vardar.
Branko Tamse, Celje PL coach:
We have a very interesting match against Metalurg waiting for us on Wednesday. They are playing real good handball this season, often attacking with seven players. That is quite the challenge for us as they can score a lot of goals from such actions. They don’t make much mistakes which we’ll have to find a way to cause in order to score easy goals. Speaking of us, we must improve defensively as we’re not on a required level in that part of the game lately and as a result we’re not as dangerous as we’d like to be in transition so that is our main goal. If we do all that I hope we can win despite of the fact they’ll play without pressure and we on the other hand need this win.
Matic Groselj, Celje PL player:
We just returned from Brest and did not really have much time to prepare for the match against Metalurg. However, we have two more days for that so hopefully we’ll do it the right way. Tempo of two matches per week is quite tough and takes its toll but this is not an excuse, we must be prepared both mentally and physically. Goal is clear although it is not going to be easy but there is no other way to accomplish goals we set for ourselves before the season.
Match will be broadcasted on Arena Sport channels, ehf TV, Sport TV (Slovenia) and MRT (Macedonia).