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11.09.2015, 10:30
Complete restart for Cervar & Co.
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VELUX EHF Champions League club countdown: 5 days to go - HC Metalurg Skopje (MKD)
 

Complete restart for Cervar & Co.

If seven or eight players leave a team, it is a huge transition, but if - like in the case of Metalurg Skopje - 25 players say good-bye, it is a complete restart. After facing some financial problems in the previous season, coach Lino Cervar had to push the reset button in the Macedonian capital.

With the exception of the Austrian international Janko Bozovic, arriving from Meshkov Brest, Metalurg only signed young players.

As they do not compete in the multinational SEHA-Liga this season, they can focus fully on the Macedonian league.

In the domestic league they will try to snatch the title from their city rivals Vardar. Cervar’s team will face Skjern, Zaporozhye, Schaffhausen, Baia Mare and the winner of the qualification tournament in Group D in the VELUX EHF Champions League.

Despite all their difficulties, Cervar hopes to make it to the Last 16: “We have a young team eager to take on new challenges. I hope we will start the Champions League fully motivated and I also hope that some good results will come our way. Our goal is to get out of the group and to be among the best 16 teams. I know it will be difficult given that this is a young and new team that does not have too much experience on the international stage.”

Metalurg started their preparation in Mavrovo, and then took part in two test tournaments in Bursa (Turkey) and Skopje.

The former national champions even have to replace one of their biggest talents for the rest of the year, as Marko Neloski is still recovering from knee surgery after an injury which occurred in the last match of the 2014/15 season at Vardar. Metalurg hope for a Neloski-comeback in 2016.

Cervar calls the Group Phase opponents: “Interesting and challenging we are up against experienced teams like Kadetten or Zaporozhye, home and away matches will be tough. Skjern are dangerous, and motivated debutants Baia Mare are a bit of an unknown entity to us.”

But the coach is confident that being part of the VELUX EHF Champions League brings Metalurg forward: “Playing in the Champions League for us has always been very special. Despite losing more than 20 top players it is a privilege to play against the best handball teams in the world.”

New team captain Zarko Pesevski hopes to “play our game in the Group Phase. We should not worry so much about the names of our opponents, but we should believe in ourselves and that we can beat any of them. Since the team changed completely, we aim to restore confidence in our performances and positive results. I hope that despite all the problems we have, we have a team that can deal with all opponents and fight to make it to the next stage.”

HC Metalurg Skopje (MKD)

Qualification for the 2015/2016 VELUX EHF Champions League season: Macedonian runners-ups

Newcomers: Janko Bozovic (Meshkov Brest), Marko Matic (Mecklenburg-Schwerin), Luka Mrakovcic (RK Zamet), Milos Vukovic (Spartak Subotica), Kemal Fazlic (RK Gorazde), Antonio Pesevski (HC Metalurg II), Daniel Dupjachanec (Besa Famiglia), Konstantin Petrov (RK Radovis), Filip Kuzmanovski (RK Pelister)

Left the club: Darko Stanic (Rhein-Neckar Löwen), Miroslav Kocic (RK Vojvodina), Dejan Manaskov (RK Vardar), Naumce Mojsovski (El Jaish), Pavel Atman (Meshkov Brest), Filip Mirkulovski (HSG Wetzlar),  Vuko Borozan (N-Lübbecke), Luka Cindric (HC Vardar), Renato Vugrinec (Maccabi Rishon LeZion), Vladan Lipovina (HSG Wetzlar), Goce Georgievski (Fenix Touluse), Ace Jonovski (Bergischer HC), Velko Markoski (RK Rabotnicki), Nikola Markoski (RK Rabotnicki), Mijajlo Marsenic (HC Vardar), Vanco Dimovski (RK Rabotnicki), Janja Vojvodic (RK Vrbas), Gjorgje Golubovic (destination unknown), Darko Djukic (Besiktas), Damir Efendic (Borac Banja Luka), Dragan Vrgoc (Benfica), Martin Manaskov (RK Vardar II), Goce Ojleski (Odorhei), Nikola Mitrevski (Benfica), Petar Misovski (end of career)

Coach: Lino Cervar (since 2009)

Opponents in the group phase: Skjern, Schaffhausen, Zaporozhye, Baia Mare and the winner of the qualification tournament in Group D

VELUX EHF Champions League records:

Participations (including 2015/2016 season): 8
Quarter-final (1): 2012/13, 2013/14
Last 16 (1): 2011/12
Group Matches/Phase (3): 2006/07, 2008/09, 2014/15
Qualification (1): 2010/11

Other EC records:

9 participations in other European cup competitions

Macedonian champions: 2006, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014

Macedonian Cup winner: 2006, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013


TEXT: Björn Pazen / bc
 
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