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30.05.2015, 13:30
Tom predicts the starting sevens of semi-finals
«Go back »Print Version


ehfTV commentator Tom O Brannagain second guesses the coaches and comes up with the line-up for the first semi-final

»EHF CL Channel »2014-15 Men's CL
»Final Four
»
 

Tom predicts the starting sevens of semi-finals

FC Barcelona

Barcelona have two great keepers this season, but a tremendous World Championship puts Saric ahead of Gonzalo in goal. Left and right wing must be Sigurdsson and Tomas. Right back will be Lazarov, even though Gurbindo has shown some touches of class this season.

The line will be Sorhaindo, who just edges out Noddesbo, due to his defensive partnership with Karabatic and his overall improvement on the line. The centre and left back partnership is interesting for me. Normally if Rutenka was having a great season, he would be in the team.

And at the moment, although I rate him incredibly highly, Sarmiento won‘t start which leaves Entrerrios and Karabatic at centre and left back. It‘s not a line-up that many will be surprised at, but I think that Xavi Pascual will go for power at the beginning against a huge Kielce defence.

KS Vive Tauron Kielce

Talant always has the ability to come up with something crazy to bamboozle the other coach, but he too has his strengths and although he has a few less definites, this is how I see him line up.

Aguinagalde plays on the line because he is the one and only; Strlek and Cupic on the left and right wing. Sego in goal, because he is just ahead, but there is very little between him and Szmal. Plus, if the game is tight at the end, how important will it be to bring on a world-class keeper, to maybe win the game?

In the right back if he is fit, Lijewski, because he brings more movement to the attack. The left back is a tough call. Bielecki is playing magnificently and his ability to shoot from 11 metres might draw out that Barcelona defence.

So I’m going for him above Jurecki, but only just. The centre is the problem area. Do you go for the Polish captain Tkaczyk? Or the Slovenian wizard Zorman? Or the man I rate very highly: Rosinski. I think he will save the latter for when the game opens up and he will go for Zorman at the start, because he knows him from finals past. Right or wrong, it‘s what I would do.

THW Kiel

There are only two positions of which I’m sure I will get absolutely right. Palicka will start in goal because Palicka must start. On the left wing an injury to Klein means that Lundström must start out there. Then we go to the right wing and both Ekberg and Sprenger are in great form. But I think Alfred will go with experience and play Sprenger.

On the line, it‘s a toss-up between the tried and tested Toft Hansen and the ever improving Wiencek. It has to be Toft because ‘Paddy’ can fast break later in the game when space starts to open up. An embarrassment of riches in the back court means Gislason has two starting line-ups. The trio of Jicha, Palmarsson and Vujin seem to go hand in hand, with Canellas, Duvnjak and Weinhold being the others.

Normally, he goes with the latter triumvirate, but I‘m gonna say Filip, Aron and Marko. The reason is that they are well versed in the minutiae of Alfred‘s game plan. Of course, maybe he wants to keep his long-serving trio until the end, butI‘ll stick to my guns and say, what team, as they fade, wants to face the 1-vs-1 prowess of Weinhold, Canellas and Duvnjak as the muscles tire and the brain tires with it?

MKB-MVM Veszprem

Veszprem is a bit clearer for me. Left and right wing will be Ugalde and Gulyas with the latter being the most improved player this season. Mikler must play in goal. He is the best keeper this season and has rightfully claimed his spot as no.1. Ilic and Nagy and Sulic are a shoo-in at left and right back and line, because they understand each other so well. The centre position is the toughest call.

Chema has been there and done that, but hasn‘t been at his best this season. Ruesga as we know suffered a season-ending injury. The other centre in contention for a starting berth is Lekai. A much more mobile player than Chema, with a box of tricks, he might just be the guy to open up the 3-2-1 defence that Kiel should employ. But in the end, I think Carlos likes a game plan that is fixed and I see him putting his faith in Chema.


TEXT: EHF / Iris Magerl
 
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