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28.02.2008, 10:38
The Zagreb secret
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Spirit, patience and defence - read about the secrets of an improving Zagreb team that will host Hamburg on Sunday.
 

The Zagreb secret

In last two matches of CL, the Croatian handball fans saw their team defeat Portland and Flensburg in the Ledena dvorana. This time Hamburg will be coming. The trap is placed and the hunter is ready for the next prey.

HSV won at home, but gave away a convincing leadCroatia osiguranje Zagreb had only one objective this season: the CL Main Round. They did much more then that already. A totally changed Zagreb team started the season with many new players and a new coach. Nevertheless, they now have a chance to make it to the CL semi-finals.

Handball fever in Zagreb

These great achievements did not stay unnoticed. The 6,500 seats in the Ledena dvorana Doma Sportova are not enough any more. Many people will stay in front of the hall because the tickets have been sold out many days before the match.

Everybody knows that the budget of Croatia osiguranje is significantly smaller then that of Hamburg, Flensburg or Portland. However, Zagreb keep winning more against these clubs. One wonders what would happen with Zagreb having a similar budget…

Club manager Zoran Gobac wants to give an answer on this question. He is working hard every day to attract new sponsors and he is negotiating about the return of the best Croatian handball players. The most important thing is that lots of new sponsors are coming and the old ones also prolong their contracts. With great results, new sponsors and great number of handball fans, Zagreb are stronger day by day.

Defence is the key

A chief architect of the success, Lino CervarLino Cervar prepared his team to play equally 3-2-1, 6-0 and 5-1 defence on a similar level. Cervar, who is one of the best coaches in the world, is famous for the following sentence:

“In defence you win the match, in attack you lose the match.”

His entire game philosophy is based on this.

However, there is something else than the brilliant handball mind of Cervar. In all three matches of the Main Round, the Croats showed something new, something they did not have in the first group phase.

Patience and concentration

The mood is all changed in Zagreb after a difficult first group phaseNow, they do not lose concentration no matter how many goals they are behind. The fighting spirit of the Croatian national “silver” team seems to be alive in the Zagreb players. They are fighting all the way for every single ball and every centimetre of the court. With great patience and concentration they can now wait 59 minutes to strike. Armed with the patience and this spirit, they will be waiting for Hamburg on Sunday.

Croatia osiguranje Zagreb vs Hamburg will be played on Sunday at 18:00hrs. The referees will be Viktor Poladenko and Igor Chernega from Russia. HRT2 and Eurosport will show the match live that will also be available in the www.ehfcl.com video archive on Sunday evening just few of hours after the end of the game.


TEXT: Ivan Ambros
 
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