Men´s Challenge Cup final, first leg, Handball Esch (LUX) vs. SKA Minsk (BLR) on Saturday 18 May 20.15
Historical evening in Luxembourg
It will be a historical Saturday night in the Centre Sportif National d´COQUE, when Handball Esch receive SKA Minsk in the first leg of the Men´s Challenge Cup final.
Never before did a team from Luxembourg qualify for the final in any European Cup competition, and this obviously makes the occasion a special one for the players and fans from Esch, Luxembourg´s second largest city with a population of 31,000.
And the fans in particular are a factor which left back Jeff Decker from Handball Esch relies a lot upon, when it comes to creating as good as result as possible before travelling to Belarus next weekend.
“Our fans are at all our matches and support us all the time. They push us, and that is the reason why we are so much stronger at home,” Decker told eurohandball.com.
Being stronger at home may very well prove to be crucial to Esch, as Minsk have shown throughout the tournament that they are extremely strong at home, where they are always supported by a large and loud home crowd.
Considering Esch´s lack of international experience – not least with finals – compared to Minsk´s somewhat larger experience on the European stage, some might tend to see the Belarusians as favourites over the two matches.
However, one of Minsk´s key players, centre back Barys Pukouski, is cautious.
“I am not so sure (that we are favourites) But generally speaking handball is less developed in Luxembourg than in Belarus. Therefore we can say that we have more chances – and we will definitely give our best, although we are quite exhausted at the end of the season,” Pukhouski told eurohandball.com
TEXT: Peter Bruun / br
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