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26.04.2011, 16:45
Montpellier’s hopes and fears
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Vid Kavticnik and Nikola Karabatic still do not believe that their club Montpellier has already qualified for the VELUX EHF FINAL4.
 

Montpellier’s hopes and fears

Despite their 29:27 away victory at Rhein Neckar Löwen, the stars of Montpellier AHB are not at all confident that their team will qualify for the VELUX EHF FINAL4 for the first time. Vid Kavticnik and Nikola Karabatic still have bad memories from their time in Kiel, as they mention in this interview with ehfCL.com.

ehfCL.com: Despite some injured players you took the away hurdle in Mannheim. What were the keys to success?

Nikola Karabatic: The result is very good for us – as you mentioned that we had to replace several players. I think the key to success was the improvement in our defence after the break and our ability to play much more concentrated in attacks. We could avoid Löwen counter attacks and at the same time scored some easy goals.

Vid Kavticnik: We did not know how to play and how to replace those players in the beginning of the match, but later on we found our rhythm. Especially Nikola’s brother Luka made one of his best matches ever for Montpellier. I think the team spirit and the fighting spirit were important for taking the points from Mannheim.

ehfCL.com: Next Saturday you can fulfil your dream of reaching the VELUX EHF FINAL4 in Montpellier. How do you rate the chances?

Nikola Karabatic: The first half is played, nothing more. The VELUX EHF Champions League is something special and everything can happen, especially in the knock-out stage when you face the best teams of the world. Nothing is decided yet, a two goals advantage means nothing in modern handball – it can take only one minute on Saturday and we are back at 0:0 again.

Vid Kavticnik: Nikola is right, we have the second half to play. And you can laugh at me, but I estimate the chances are still 60:40 for the Löwen. They are really strong away team – and they can play much better as they showed in the first leg.

Nikola Karabatic: You just have to look at Löwen’s away results of this season. They won in Kiel and Barcelona – that is a warning signal for us.

ehfCL.com: Your statements sound fearsome. Isn’t their reason to be more optimistic?

Nikola Karabatic: To win away does not mean that you cannot lose at home with a higher goal difference and be eliminated from the competition. Vid and I had this experience and those bad memories when we were in Kiel. We had won the first leg of the EHF Champions League Final 2008 at Ciudad Real and everything was planned for a big party in Kiel. Then we lost our home match and Ciudad Real took the title. We are warned. We are optimistic – but we are absolutely aware of the Löwen strength. Nobody will talk about the VELUX EHF FINAL4 before we haven’t reached it.

 


TEXT: Björn Pazen
 
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