Tamse: "It will not be easy, this is the biggest national derby"

Branko Tamse

In the first semi-final match of SEHA - Gazprom League Final four tournament PPD Zagreb will on Tuesday (17.30 local time) in Brest, Belarus face off against NEXE Nasice. We're bringing you statements from before what will be the third Croatian derby of the season. 

Branko Tamse, PPD Zagreb coach: 
Tough opponent, definitely not an easy match. However, the team is well-motivated since this is our biggest national derby, match between two great rivals. NEXE clearly have a quality team and I’m sure we’re all up to a great match fans will enjoy. Good, aggressive defense will be the key for victory in this one. Obviously there are many details which will in the end decide winner but solid defense and patient offense are definitely on top of that list. 

Urh Kastelic, PPD Zagreb goalkeeper: 
Great atmosphere ahead of an important game. NEXE are playing really good this season, they are obviously way better than they were last year and I’m sure this will be a great match fans will enjoy. I have to add I believe in my team an in the fact we’ll on Wednesday play in the grand finale here in Brest. 

Tin Kontrec, PPD Zagreb player: 
This has throughout the last few seasons become a big rivalry and we’re all looking forward to this one. We’ve already played NEXE twice so far this season and we’ll face off against them at least three more times apart from our duel on Tuesday so it’s clear we both know everything about one another. In matches like this defenses usually decide winner as well as effort the entire team puts in and I believe we’ll be on our best level on Tuesday. 

Hrvoje Horvat, Nexe coach: 
We’ll need a lot of motive, a real team effort and one of our best performances to come out victorious from this one. However, I believe this team is cabale of doing all that and defeating Zagreb booking a place for ourselves in the grand finale on Wednesday. We’re having a great season so far and we don’t want this to stop. 

Marin Jelinic, Nexe player: 
Tough one is obviously ahead of us but in case we play best handball we’re capable of playing at the moment everything is possible. In general I have to say I expect a good tournament and a real battle between four quality opponents and may the best team win in the end of course. 

Mario Tomic, Nexe player: 
Organization here is really good, us players really feel honored and special to be here in Brest for the tournament. This is obviously something we’ve been preparing for with every match throughout the entire course of the season and I believe the team is ready. We know everything about them, they know everything about us but we did everything we could to prepare for this one in the best possible way and I feel like we’re ready. 

Photo credit: Kolektiff Images