Belarusian champions Meshkov Brest are hoping to take advantage of an unpleasant situation Vardar are currently dealing with and open the second part of the season with what would be a huge win. Match is scheduled for 19.00 (local time) in Victoria hall in Brest. That will however be harder to actually do than just say with Macedonians still flying on wings of an unbelievable, now a year long, series during which they haven't lost a single match.
Due to a recently finished EURO neither team had much time to prepare for this tough duel. 'Red&Black' are experiencing additional problems as coach Raul Gonzalez won't have some first-team players on disposal in Belarus like Ilija Abutovic, Vuko Borozan, Vlado Nedanovski and Ivan Cupic. They are all still dealing with some minor injuries and soreness so coach Gonzalez decided not to risk anything leaving them to recover at home during Vardar's two-game road trip as a part of which they will play in Brest and Presov. Reigning European club champions will also miss their recently crowned NT European champions from Spain - Joan Canellas and Arpad Sterbik who were also given an extra few days to rest and celebrate the title they won only a few days ago in Arena Zagreb.
Sergey Bebeshko, Meshkov Brest coach:
We’re playing against a well-known rival. They haven’t lost a single point in SEHA League so far this season and they give 100% each time they step on the court. That’s why we’re sure they’ll look to win tomorrow as well. In our first clash of the season we suffered a tough loss in Skopje and of course we’d like to deliver a much better outing tomorrow. This will be our first international match in 2018 and the goal is naturally to start the year off in the best possible way. We’ve both had a lot of players playing for their national teams on European Championship and, considering our players, they all came back more or less exhausted both physically and mentally. That’s why it will be additionally important to start the campaign off right because it would boost them all as well. We still haven’t made a final decision about who will suit up for the match. However, the team will mostly consist out of foreigners as Belarusians have a domestic league match to play on Saturday.
Rade Mijatovic, Meshkov Brest player:
Hard match is ahead of us as we’re playing against reigning both SEHA and Champions League champs. However, we’ll surely do our best to perform at the highest possible level in front of our fans.
Raul Gonzalez, Vardar coach:
Our trips to Brest are always hard, Meshkov always turn out to be a tough opponent for us. We’re expecting a very intensive game, hosts will surely try to play better than in previous games and start the year off with points. Our goal is to keep up with good performances and to prepare well for EHF Champions League challenges. We’re missing some players, but I can assure you others will play their best.
Daniil Shishkarev, Vardar player:
We did not have as much training sessions as we usually have when preparing for matches like the one we’ll play on Thursday against Meshkov but we’ll surely give our best on the court. They are a good team and they already proved it on multiple occasions during the course of the season. It will be a hard one for sure.