Obrvan: "I expect a spectacle!"
A little look back to the Main Round of the EHF Champions League season 2008/2009: after two draws between Zagreb Croatia osiguranje and Rhein-Neckar Löwen (33:33 and 27:27), both progressed to Quarterfinals. The biggest difference to the Last 16 of the VELUX EHF Champions League 2010/11: this time only one team will go through.
RK Zagreb Croatia osiguranje’s coach, Ivica Obrvan, is fully aware of the advantages of the Rhein-Neckar Löwen. As he told ehfCL.com, the opponents may be in favour, but his team will definitely not surrender.
ehfCL.com: How satisfied are you with your opponents in the Last 16?
Ivica Obrvan: When I look back, I have to say that from the three possible opponents that we could meet, our hope was to be drawn against Valladolid, while the Veszprém and Löwen both were equal options.
ehfCL.com: Do you consider the draw result not too lucky?
Ivica Obrvan: The situation in the other groups was quite complicated. Frankly, I do not care too much about the opponents, I just would have preferred Valladolid. It might be true that we got stonger opponents than Valladolid, but we can play against any team. So it doesn't really matter who our opponents are.
ehfCL.com: While Löwen will come to Zagreb with a complete squad, your team still has injury problems. How will that affect the duel?
Ivica Obrvan: We have problems due to injuries, that is true. But I am still hoping for a victory. In these two matches for me the Germans are clear favourites, so if we manage to win the first match, anything can happen.
ehfCL.com: Which players could be decisive factors in the first leg match?
Ivica Obrvan: For sure the return of Tonči Valčić will be very important for us. Many things will depend on the fact how long he will be able to help us during the match.
ehfCL.com: Do you see it as a disadvantage for Zagreb to play the first game at home?
Ivica Obrvan: Not at all. For my team it is good to play the first game at home because there will be clearly less pressure than it could be when you play the return match at home. So from that point of view, I expect a spectacle in the first game.
The last game of the first lag matches, when RK Zagreb play hosts to Rhein-Neckar Löwen will be broadcast as a free-of-charge live web stream on ehfTV.com.
VELUX EHF Men’s Champions League, Last 16, First leg
Sunday 27 March 2011, 18:00 hrs (local time)
HC Croatia Osiguranje Zagreb (CRO) vs. Rhein-Neckar Löwen (GER)
ehfTV.com is the official Internet TV platform of the European Handball Federation and offers free live streaming as well as a video on demand service.
TEXT: Ivan Ambroš