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25.09.2015, 15:20
Creativity to run the show in Skopje
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FACE TO FACE: Two trailblazing playmakers and long-time acquaintances open up about each other ahead of the VELUX EHF Champions League match between Vardar and Szeged.
 

Creativity to run the show in Skopje

A lot more than two points at stake when HC Vardar take on MOL-Pick Szeged in Skopje on Sunday. Two successful, analogous systems established by two “Spanish school” disciples come under scrutiny in a match that promises a real eyeful attractive moves.

Both teams have done well to reach the VELUX EHF Champions League Quarter-Finals last term, entering the new season with improved squads ready to make the decisive step this season.

The leading protagonists, and the creators of such spectacle, the 2014/15 VELUX Champions League All-star Team nominees Igor Karacic and Dean Bombac, come face to face for ehfCL.com ahead of the tie in Skopje.

“The team spirit is excellent. Actually, it’s more than that  - the togetherness in our team is perfect. 

“We do a lot together, and there is always some joking around – I think you can see it on the court; we are like a family here,” said Karacic of his enjoyment being part of the Vardar setup, while Bombac had a similar outlook on his team.

“We believe we can beat anyone if we’re playing the best handball we can. The coach Pastor has implemented a lot of variety in the team this season.

“We have good shooters, now everything starts from our backcourt. We have the fast break specialists as well as line players who make space. I feel we click well in all phases of the game, and can only get better,” said Bombac.

Karacic: "I see myself as the coach’s right hand"

With the role centre back has in concept of both Vardar and Szeged, it is a big responsibility on Karacic and Bombac to direct team play and translate their coach’s vision onto the court. Both playmakers do it with excellent drive and creativity.

“I feel privileged to be one of the leading players in a system like Vardar’s. I see my role in the team like the coach’s right hand in a way. I am the one to bring his tactical plans into fruition.

“We all have a special chemistry here at Vardar. I feel very close and connected with my teammates, the way I work with the back court and the line players and wings is all a part of that.

“Raul is really special. He is a top-class tactician, and has elevated my game to a whole new level. He is the best I’ve ever worked with,” said Karacic who plays his fourth season for Vardar, working with Gonzalez since January 2014.

Bombac was also full of praise for his Spanish mentor, highlighting the similarities with his Vardar counterpart, and the effect Pastor’s approach had on his game.

“Just as Igor and I enjoy similar handball, our coaches have lot of similarities as well. They come from the same school, and nurture a similar approach, but the beauty is in the details - elements that make both of them unique and special.

“I feel both of us (Karacic and Bombac) have benefited greatly from working with the two Spaniards. Our game has improved in ways we couldn’t imagine, and we both play our best handball enjoying our roles,” added Bombac.

Mutual respect

The acquaintanceship between Karacic and Bombac goes a long way back to their youth days. Today it is the quintessential modern handball’s friendly rivalry, making the spectators stand in awe of the on-court magic they produce.

“Dean is a great guy. We do not meet very often, but every time we do we have a chat. I know him and Szeged very well. It’s a similar style of handball we play and of course Dean is a big part of that.

“He is a prime example that looks can be deceiving. He seems like a shy, quiet guy, but once he gets on the court he explodes into a very skilful, intelligent player who pulls the strings in offence, but can decide games on his own. I like him a lot,” said Karacic in praise of his counterpart.

Dean remembers Igor from his junior days, and how his game translates well into a top-class player he is today.

“We know each other a very long time. Since the junior competitions, as I recall. Igor’s style of play draws a lot of similarities to mine, as much as our teams play a comparable style of handball.

“I love Igor’s game. He is nimble, skilful and intelligent, and absolutely the main threat in an otherwise very strong Vardar team. For me he is one of the best on his position,” said Bombac of Karacic.

But the match on Sunday will have the two trailblazing centre backs giving the utmost to win, seeking to gain momentum for their team in the competition.

“Jane Sandanski is the most difficult away court in the entire competition. We will have to give our all and then some to get anything from Vardar over there. We go the win of course,” said the ambitious Bombac.

“The arena is our house and everyone thrives and enjoys the atmosphere around it. I am sure Szeged are aware of that as much as we are, and will do their utmost come the match. We will be eager to secure a victory for our fans,” concluded Igor Karacic.


TEXT: Nemanja Savic / cor
 
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