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05.05.2016, 21:30
Martin: "Smells like team spirit"
«Go back »Print Version


INTERVIEW: The EHF FINAL4 fight is coming, but "La Guerrera" Carmen Martín would stop at nothing to see CSM București progress to the final.

»EHF CL Channel »2015-16 Women's News
»
 

Martin: "Smells like team spirit"

Five years have passed since Itxako Reyno De Navarra lost their only Women’s EHF Champions League Finals against Larvik, by the smallest of margins (1 goal), after a two-legged tie. The intensity and the drama of those two games could never be forgotten by the players and the revenge was sought by many.

Carmen Martin never forgot the painful loss and after a five-year wait, the Spanish right wing is vying for another final. This time, there is no second chance, no safety net after a near-miss. It is do-or-die time in the EHF FINAL4, as Martin and CSM Bucuresti are looking to complete an unexpected comeback in the Romanian team’s maiden season.

ehfCL.com: Carmen, CSM looked like they would stand no chance this season, but yet here you are, with a proper chance to play the final.

Carmen Martin: You know, if you put it like that, it sounds like a true underdog story. But if you look closely, CSM have been a strong team from the start. Of course, we had our issues, some players left, others were injured, but, in the end, we are here. We are still standing and we are getting better and better every day.

ehfCL.com: Still, CSM are the rookies, every team has already played the FINAL4. Moreover, you have not won against Györ, Buducnost or Vardar this season.

Carmen Martin: It is true, we did not win, but why not do it now? On a more serious note, we are the rookies here, but the team is experienced. We have players who won the Women’s EHF Champions League, we have players that have played several EHF EURO tournaments, World Championships and Olympic Games. The team may have a fresh face, but the players are used to this type of competition. And we have a great team, with a good spirit. It smells like team spirit.

ehfCL.com: Vardar won clearly in Bucharest, why would CSM still have a chance on Saturday?

Carmen Martin: Because we were still dealing with injuries back then. The first months after the World Championships were very, very difficult. The injuries meant that we had only four or five valid back players and we had to play outside of our comfort zone and on other positions. Fortunately, we are at full strength now and Vardar’s job will be much harder.

ehfCL.com: This was clear against Rostov-Don. How did you manage to pull of this surprise?

Carmen Martin: We knew that Rostov were very hard to beat, as they were the only unbeaten team in the competition. But we played as a team, we defended well, respected our gameplan, executed it almost flawlessly. Also, I must add that we came from the most difficult group in the competition and I think there is no surprise in finding all of the four teams that proceeded from this group straight to the FINAL4.

If I were to take a short flashback, I would say that we were very good defensively, everybody was very connected to the game. Also, we confused them a little in Bucharest, they did not expect to lose here.

ehfCL.com: There is no secret that CSM was satisfied with the draw. However, which are Vardar’s main strengths?

Carmen Martin: First of all, we lost both our games against Vardar, so they are a very good team. I would say they are physically very strong, they are running so hard and so fast, with devastating counter attacks. However, we have prepared very well in the last few days, tactically speaking, so we are prepared for the game, we know everything there is to know about them.

ehfCL.com: Who is Vardar’s best player, the one CSM really needs to block?

Carmen Martin: They really have a good team, which connected in the last years. But if I had to choose one player that can really change the outcome of a game, it’s Andrea Penezic. I played with her at Krim for two seasons and she really is an intelligent player, very good defensively, but also in attack, she can really influence a game with her strong shots.

ehfCL.com: Based on what you have already seen this season, who is the favourite to win the trophy?

Carmen Martin: You mean, besides CSM? I think it is an open year, with very good teams still standing. However, if I were to choose, I think Györ is the most dangerous team. They are peaking, playing very well in defence and this can be seen fin their results in 2016.


TEXT: Adrian Costeiu / es
 
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