Buricea vows to write history with Constanta
HCM Constanța have overcome a disappointing start of the season. The ”Sailors” have been denied qualification in the VELUX EHF Champions League group phase after being beaten by FC Porto Vitalis in the qualifying tournament.
However, the Romanian champions have had a successful campaign in the EHF Cup. They are only two steps away from Berlin’s EHF Cup Finals, as a two-legged quarter final against Lugi HF await them.
eurohandball.com talked about Constanța’s way to Berlin and the “Sailors’” season with George Buricea, one of the most experienced player on the roster.
eurohandball.com: Your season has not started well. After you lost to Porto, the atmosphere in the team was surely not good...
George Buricea: Well, it was not easy. Going to the Champions League group stage was our goal before the season. But we realised that we can make history in the EHF Cup, a very strong competition, in which we could play on home court, in Constanța.
eurohandball.com: You said that the EHF Cup is a strong competition. What is the difference between the Champions League and the EHF Cup?
George Buricea: We played against Füchse Berlin and Chambery Savoie Handball, two teams which plied their trade in the Champions League the years before. There is not too big difference between the two competitions. No disrespect for our other opponent, HC Sporta Hlohovec, but they would have found it hard to play in the Champions League.
eurohandball.com: The draw for the group phase of the EHF Cup was not easy for Constanța. Did the prospect of playing against teams like Füchse Berlin or Chambery Savoie scare you?
George Buricea: From the start of the competition, we felt that we are in a good form. Therefore, we were very confident and knew we could make good results against any other teams, no matter their names or their rosters.
eurohandball.com: You are a member of HCM Constanța since 2003. The team has not been very active on the transfer market for the last two years. Is this an advantage for your team?
George Buricea: In order to achieve great goals, you need to control the transfers. Bringing many players in a transfer window can hamper your chances. You need to keep the core of the team intact and choose wisely the new additions. We did this and now we are in the EHF Cup’s quarter-finals. Therefore I think that choosing this approach was helpful for our goals.
eurohandball.com: Buzau and Bucharest were your home venues in the VELUX EHF Champions League. In the EHF Cup, you were able to play at home, in Constanța. Was that the most important perk in order to find your way to Berlin?
George Buricea: I would dare to say that was the most important thing that helped us proceed to the quarter-finals. We have a great audience, a hall with very, very good acoustical properties. Of course, another upside is that we do not have to travel to another city to play there. We have more time to rest and our energy levels are better.
eurohandball.com: Could be the trip to Berlin the most important performance in HCM Constanța’s history?
George Buricea: Of course! This will be the top achievement of our club and we are focusing all our strength in order to achieve this objective.
eurohandball.com: To find your way there, you must defeat Lugi HF, the 4th placed team in the Swedish championship. Has the draw been easy for you?
George Buricea: We have the utmost respect for the Scandiavian handball, we know they have very good players, but Lugi was the best choice for us. Of course, the quarter-final will not be easy. We expect two very tough games against Lugi and they have an advantage by playing the second leg at home.
However, I think that both Szeged and Montpellier would have been tougher opponents, so we are happy with the draw.
eurohandball.com: Judging by your reaction, you must be confident of completing this mission...
George Buricea: We don’t think for a second we will have it easy. The chances are split: 50%-50%. But make no mistake: we will do everything to write history for our club and to qualify for the final tournament in Berlin.
TEXT: Adrian Costeiu / br