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21.03.2012, 16:32
Adžić relishing Larvik challenge
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Dragan Adžić is aiming to lead Budućnost to the EHF Women's Champions League final with victory over Larvik.
 

Adžić relishing Larvik challenge

For the eighth time in the club’s history, Budućnost have reached the semi-finals of the EHF Women's Champions League. The Montenegro champions will try once again to make a dream of many generations of this club come true, and finally reach the finals of the strongest European handball competition.

In this interview with ehfCL.com, coach Dragan Adžić talks about the great results so far in the EHF Women's Champions League and the upcoming games in the semi-final with Larvik.

Dragan Adzic-250ehfCL.com: Last season, for the first time in the club’s history, Budućnost won all six games in the group phase of the EHF Women's Champions League. This year you became only the second team, after Hypo Niederösterreich in 2008, to finish the Main round with all six victories. What are your thoughts?

Dragan Adžić: I'm really proud of my players. They are working exceptionally hard, they are very dedicated to their work, and have a great love for handball. This is the award for them. Their attitude in training has been exceptional and this resulted in six major victories.

In the last matches of the Main Round, the favourites lost some matches. We didn’t, although we had to use all our players including some who were in the Champions League for the first time. Most of the games we played at a very high level, in a few games we went for 25 minutes and only conceded four or five goals and that's something I'm pleased as a coach.

This is something that gives security to a team to play more diverse and be more confident in attack than last season. With a quality goalkeeper, as we have (Clara Woltering), that’s the road to success.

ehfCL.com: Although the last match in the Main Round against Oltchim had no real importance for the your team, you achieved another victory without any problems (31:25). Was it difficult to keep your concentration?

Dragan Adžić: Throughout the week before that game we had a lot of problems. Bojana Popović practically came out of bed to play the match as she was ill for a couple of days, while Radmila Miljanić, Dijana Jovetić and Clara Woltering had problems with injuries. But we managed to overcome all that and play the game at a good level and, most importantly, avoided injuries.

ehfCL.com: For a second consecutive year you will play Larvik in the semi-final of the EHF Women's Champions League. They defeated you twice last season. What are your chances this time?

Dragan Adžić: Last season Larvik were stronger than the Norway national team. They were favourites from the start, they won the Champions League and their wins against us were not a surprise. With the experience from last year and the extra energy we get from some new players, and some from the ones who have been for a while at the club, I think we can deal with Larvik. I will not burden the girls in this direction, we will work normally until then and do our best to be ready for those games.

Dragan Adzic 2-250ehfCL.com: Larvik seems to be weaker than last year, without Heidi Løke, Gro Hammerseng and Olga Medvedeva, plus they have a lot of injury problems. Is your team this year closer to the quality of Larvik?

Dragan Adžić: The court will be a true measure, but I think we are closer now. With the experience we have as a national team of Montenegro playing against Norway, and as Budućnost played Larvik last year, I think it will help us to play better than any match so far against such rivals who represent the top of handball. But you must always be cautious against Larvik. They have great quality, Larvik players have won everything, and it’s very difficult to talk about their weak points. But I think we are now a team that can play tough matches against strong opponents, and win.


ehfCL.com: What must Budućnost try to avoid to overcome such a rival?

Dragan Adžić: Larvik, like Norwegian handball, lives on easy goals and exceptional defence with outstanding goalkeepers such as Cecilie Leganger. They catch their opponents in a few weak moments of the game to score some easy goals and decide the match. In the past we worked a lot on that segment of quality going back in defence. Also, our attack must be patient and disciplined. I think this year we have all that, and I think we are able to prevent Larvik demonstrating their qualities.

We will not have too much time to prepare for the semi-final - just a week after the games with Russia in EHF EURO qualifications. Also Clara Woltering, Elena Gjeorgjijevska and Dijana Jovetić will be joining their national teams. But we have a system to analyse the opponent, which can operate at a distance.

ehfCL.com: Like last year, you will play the second leg in front of your fans. Can this time it be an advantage?

Dragan Adžić: I think in the semi-finals that doesn’t give us any particular advantage. In the past two seasons Budućnost showed that we know how to play away games and that we have no problem playing away. Norwegian audiences are not like in Podgorica, in Hungary or Romania.

However, I don’t think the fact we are playing the second match at home is a big advantage. We must be better than Larvik in both matches. Any good result from the first match cannot be a guarantee for an easy rematch, because Larvik maybe play away even better than at home.

ehfCL.com: You finished the Main Round of the EHF Women's Champions League without two standard line players, Ana Đokić and Dragan Cvijić, due to injuries. Will they be ready for the semi finals?

Dragan Adžić: Ana Đokić has already joined the team, and I expect Dragana Cvijić to start training in the last week before the semi-finals.


TEXT: Saša Jončić
 
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