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29.03.2013, 14:26
Perkovac optimistic before key matches
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Switzerland want to qualify for an EHF EURO event for the first time since 2006
 

Perkovac optimistic before key matches

The Swiss men’s national team had been part of three EHF EURO events in 2002, 2004 and as the host in 2006, since then Switzerland did not manage to make it to neither an EHF EURO nor a World Championship. But things are in transition in the team of head coach Goran Perkovac.

“Our youth and junior teams had been highly successful on an international stage in the previous years. 

"It is our long term strategy to continue like this with the senior team,” Perkovac said to ehf-euro.com.

The objective is to be part of the major competitions in future and maybe even at the 2014 EHF EURO in Denmark.

Switzerland had lost both matches against FYR Macedonia and world champion Spain in the first two qualification rounds.

“Now our two encounters against Portugal are absolute key matches.

“Beating Portugal twice and then taking additional points against FYR Macedonia on home ground. This can be enough to secure the 15th spot for the EHF EURO as best third ranked team,” explains Perkovac.

But as mentioned the plan is long-term.

“Players like Luka Maros, Nikola Portner or Luca Spengler are only 19 years old and have a bright future ahead.

“I hope that in last three years we have bridged the gap to top nations,” said Perkovac.

In March the Swiss team had two test matches against Germany – and lost both very clearly, but some key players were missing.

Swiss star Andy Schmid and back court ace Marco Kurth are back in the squad. Schmid had missed the friendly matches against Germany as he played with his club Rhein Neckar Löwen in the EHF Cup, while Kurth was injured.

But still Perkovac cannot count on all his players, as Nicolas Raemy, Fabio Baviera, Ruben Schelbert, Florian Goepfert and goalkeeper Andreas Merz miss the crucial encounters due to injuries.

The interest in the first leg against Portugal in St. Gallen is very high: Nearly 2000 of 2500 tickets have already been sold.

Perkovac will start his preparations on Monday. He can count on several players with a big international experience in the VELUX EHF Champions League like Andrija Pendic, their top scorer in the matches against Germany from Kadetten Schaffhausen. 

Although the Swiss champions have missed the Last 16 of the European flagship competition this season after being part of the knock-out stage twice, Kadetten are still highly important for the development and the promotion of handball.

On Thursday another Kadetten player might have his debut in the senior national team: 23-year-old right wing Nikola Cvijetic.

“Pendic and Schmid gained experience and are the clear leaders in our team,” Perkovac said.

Besides Schmid, he had nominated two German league players for the encounters with Portugal, David Graubner (Großwallstadt) and Manuel Linger (Balingen).

Switzerland squad for the EHF EURO 2014 qualifiers against Portugal on 4 and 7 April:

Goalkeepers: Auren Bringolf (GC Amicitia Zürich), Nikola Portner (BSV Bern Muri), Remo Quadrelli (Kadetten Schaffhausen)

Wingers: Nikola Cvijetic Kadetten Schaffhausen), Manuel Liniger (HBW Balingen), Severin Ramsier (BSV Bern Muri)

Backcourt: David Gaubner (TV Grosswallstad), Marcel Hess (Pfadi Winterthur), Thomas Hofstetter (HS Biel), Marco Kurth (Pfadi Winterthur), Luka Maros (GC Amicitia Zürich),  Andy Schmid (Rhein Necker Löwen), Andrija Pendic (Kadetten Schaffhausen), Michal Svajlen (Pfadi Winterthur)

Line players: Stefan Freivogel (GC Amicitia Zürich), Thomas Heer (BSV Bern Muri), Alen Milosevic (BSV Bern)


TEXT: Björn Pazen / cor
 
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