PPD Zagreb going through major changes
Croatian teams obviously like to get involved in every transfer window. PPD Zagreb are doing their fair share of trading and buying players. But, they will need to be ready for Vardar 1961 since there's a lot at stake. This could be the most exciting series out of all Quarter-Final matches simply because of the fact that the losing team will miss their first-ever Final 4 tournament. Hence, both squads will be looking to add something new to the mix which could make a difference on the court.
'Lions' are the only team in SEHA – Gazprom League that have already said goodbye to seven handballers. Some of them still haven't confirmed where they'll continue their careers (e.g. Ivan Laljek, Darko Stojnic and Paolo Kraljevic), while the remaining four already found their new homes.
Senjamin Buric, a longtime SEHA – Gazprom player, has finalized his move to Skjern Handbold and will be their line player for the next two seasons. Buric played for Izvidjac in first two SEHA seasons and scored over 120 goals. He wasn't that efficient in Zagreb, where he scored 57 times in 22 matches, but played the role of an experienced veteran perfectly.
Nemanja Obradovic will continue his SEHA – Gazprom journey, but at a different club. His new squad will be a strong Eurofarm Pelister team, which is in need of a taller centre back who can do the same thing as Josip Peric - dominate the court. Obradovic has already played for Metalurg in 2016/2017 which will make it a lot easier to adjust to the team from Bitola. Great things are ahead of them if Nemanja Obradovic replicates his spell with Metalurg!
Last but not least Zagreb will lose two of their goalkeepers - Matej Asanin and Todor Jandric. This goalie tandem has been working well the entire season. They are one of the main reasons why PPD Zagreb ended on top of Group A and won their domestic league and cup. Jandric has left for Creteil after four seasons of SEHA handball, where he saved 205 shots in 37 matches for PPD Zagreb, Metaloplastika and Vojvodina. Asanin left after only one and a half season at the club, but managed to accumulate 112 stops in only 15 matches for the Croatian squad. His new club, Die Eulen Ludwigshafen, have been relegated to the second tier of Bundesliga after an underwhelming year. Hopefully Asanin can help the team get back in elite company.
Despite losing six men, Zagreb will most probably enter Quarter-Final contests without many problems. 'Fresh' veteran blood should do the trick for them. Present and former players of the Croatian national team might turn out to be the best addition for the Zagreb side. Ivan Cupic will be leaving Vardar 1961 after five successful seasons, where they won three SEHA – Gazprom and two EHF Champions League trophies. The 7 meter expert scored over 200 goals playing at the wing and right back position for the 'Red an Black' and that is the type of experience Zagreb was looking for.
Sandro Obranovic is the second SEHA player who will be leaving his team to join the 'Lions'. Following three seasons at Meshkov Brest, Obranovic has decided to get back to the team that gave him an opportunity as a young player. His time at PPD Zagreb was filled with a lot of great moments and that could be the reason of his return.
Zeljko Musa and Jakov Gojun were once the main defensive forces of Croatia. Now they'll try to push Vardar 1961 players out and lead the 'Lions' to Zadar. The pair has been a part of Bundesliga teams Magdeburg and Fuchse Berlin for the last six years, which could prevail against less experienced offenses.
Two goalkeepers out, two goalkeepers in. Dino Slavic and Filip Ivic have been confirmed as the new goalkeeper duo for Zagreb. Slavic has been Ademar Leon's goalie for the last three seasons, while Ivic will reunite with his first professional team after almost five years.
This transfer window proved that handball is full of twists and turns and PPD Zagreb are a real indicator of changes throughout the league. It will be fun to watch how 'old-timers' influence young players as PPD Zagreb attack their second SEHA - Gazprom trophy.