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30.04.2014, 17:30
An indescribable achievement
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FEATURE: Katarina Bulatovic was Buducnost's leading light in realising a dream of generations
 

An indescribable achievement

On 13 May 2012, a club’s long-time dream came true – Buducnost won their first EHF Champions League title. After seven unsuccessful attempts in semi-finals, including five consecutive appearances between 1998 and 2002, Buducnost managed to reach the final for the first time in 2012.

However, that was not enough for the Montenegrin side, who wanted to go a step further and lift the trophy.

They managed it in a fantastic final against Györi Audi ETO KC. Buducnost had a two-goal deficit (27:29) from the first leg in the Veszprém Arena, but won the second leg, in a sold-out Moraca hall, after a thrilling game, 27:25. Dragan Adzic’s team became champion thanks to scoring the greater number of away goals.

Right back Katarina Bulatovic finished the season with a personal record of 97 goals (third in the top scorers list), and was one of the key players in Buducnost’s final success, the second in her career, after she won the title with Slagelse in 2007.

“If I remember well, we were down by six goals during the first leg with Györi Audi ETO KC, in Hungary, but we finished the game with an acceptable two-goal loss.

“In the second leg in crowded Moraca hall we could not lose. We were not burdened by the deficit, we didn’t chase the opponent from the very beginning, because today two goals are easy to catch.

“We were just waiting for our chance, and when Djokic scored from a counterattack to make it 27:24 a minute before the end, everything was decided,” recalls Bulatovic.

She scored just three goals in Hungary, missing 11 shots, but played an excellent game in Podgorica, scoring nine goals.

“I knew I can’t play so bad again and I was prepared for the second game to improve and repay the team in the best possible way for the first game. And I did it, but it was all the merit of the team. They believed in me and I believed that with my better game we could win,” added the left hander.

The perfect year

Buducnost finished the 2011/2012 season with 14 victories and only two defeats.

“That season for me was the one I'd been waiting for. The team played great, I felt great on the court and it was only when we took the trophy we realised how much it meant to us, to the club, Podgorica and all of Montenegro.

“Only two defeats in the season speak for itself about our commitment and desire to finally take the desired trophy.”

The team, led by Katarina Bulatovic, Bojana Popovic, Maja Savic and Clara Woltering, was top quality, but that was not all decisive.

“I think the relationship between all players in the team and a wish for what we did that year played a crucial role.

“The way we behave towards each other, helped and worked for each other was the basis of all success and, of course, our greatest asset was our great fans.

“It still gives me the creeps when I think about all the people standing in line to enter the hall. I am very proud that I was part of the team to have done something that was a dream of generations before. It is a feeling that can’t be described if have not experienced it,” admitted the 29-year-old.

That year was unforgettable for Katarina and most her teammates, since Montenegro won silver at the Olympic Games in London and then became EHF EURO 2012 champion: "I didn’t have anything to add or want more. It was the perfect year. I can only wish to repeat these successes.”

Returning home

Bulatovic is preparing to face the first MVM EHF FINAL4 in Budapest with the team she defeated in 2012, Györi Audi ETO KC.

The Hungarian champions will have the advantage to play in front of more home fans then other teams.

“It’s going to be a great spectacle in Budapest, but I'm kind of sorry there will be no the old system of semi-final and final. But, this will be a new challenge for all the teams involved.

“We are not thinking a lot about the fact that we play at "home". For us it will be the same as for the others. But, I believe that we will have the right support from the stands and the fans will support us as in it was in all games so far this season.”

There’s a possibility that Bulatovic could meet Buducnost in the final, her former and future team, since in the summer she is returning to Buducnost.

“My desire is to see Györi Audi ETO KC and Buducnost in the final. I'd really like it to be so, and I'm glad both teams qualified this far.

“But before that we both have to earn the place in the final. In case I play against Buducnost, I will leave any other feelings aside and do my best to once again climb to the top of Europe,” concluded Bulatovic.


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