With the group stage of the 2022/2023 SEHA – Gazprom League season in the books, it is time for the quarter-finals! The first two teams to take the court will be Eurofarm Pelister and Tatran Presov. The first leg will be played in Bitola on Tuesday (18.00 CEST).
Tatran Presov finished the regular part of the season on top of the group, ahead of Vardar 1961 and Partizan defeating both teams at home and losing on the road. Eurofarm, on the other hand, finished behind Vojvodina, and ahead of Nexe, also winning both home games, and falling short on the road. With their overall scores being pretty much the same, it is obvious that Eurofarm Pelister will have the favorite role at home, in front of their home fans, with their coach surely aiming for his team to deliver the best possible performance, and travel to the second-leg match in Slovakia with a comfortable lead in their pockets.
Slovak champions will, however, also have their say in that - especially with Oliver Rabek and Nikola Ivanovic finishing in the top five at the end of the regular part of the season when it comes to goals and assists combined. It will also be an interesting battle between two coaches who haven’t really had much time to get everything to function the way they’d want it to, taking over the coaching duties during the season.
Will Rabek and Ivanovic manage to lead their team towards a good performance in Bitola – the one that would open up the possibility for them to fight for the final tournament in the second leg, or will the reigning SEHA bronze-medalists from North Macedonia led by Oussama Hosni mess up their plans? Is it going to be Gernat or Jovic in the end? Soon we’ll find out, so definitely make sure not to miss this one!
Aleksandar Jovic, Eurofarm Pelister coach:
Tatran has a quality team, and I’m sure we’re up to a difficult game. I can say that we’ll do everything to prepare for this one in the best possible way. I think we have two crucial months ahead of us, and we have to find a way to elevate our game in order to try to win the double crown in North Macedonia, and fight for the SEHA – Gazprom League final tournament again.
Marko Kizic, Eurofarm Pelister goalkeeper:
We’re facing a good team, a team that has proved its quality in the SEHA – Gazprom League this season. There are two legs, and we won’t have much time to prepare, but I believe we’ll be ready. Obviously, we’ll aim to win this one. They have an experienced team that deserves respect for everything they did so far this season, but our goal remains the same, and that is to secure the spot at the final tournament.
Marek Gernat, Tatran Presov coach:
In this knock-out round of the competition, we’ll face off against the team of Eurofarm Pelister. I have to say they are a very good opponent, a team made out of a lot of foreign players – an international group, quite similar to ours when you look at it that way. I expect this to be a well-balanced, quality match. Of course, we’ll do our best to win the game. They have a very well-trained offensive transition, and their second offensive wave runs through the wingers. It will be very difficult, but I really believe we’ll manage to stay in it for as long as possible and bring home a positive result in the end.
Oliver Rabek, Tatran Presov player:
Pelister has a lot of high-quality players – they are playing very well on the defensive side of the court, and are running the court well when it comes to the offensive transition. We’ve got a difficult match ahead of us, that’s for sure. Our goal is however to fight for the final tournament spot, and we’ll do our best to reach it. We’ve still got some time to prepare for the match, and I’m sure we’ll analyze the video and choose the best tactical approach for this one.