MATCH PREVIEW: RK Metaloplastika and IK Sävehof enjoy memories from highest European Cup levels as they face for the first leg on Saturday
Clubs with rich tradition meet for Challenge Cup Final
IK Sävehof have participated in the EHF Champions League five times, including the previous three years. In the 2011/12 season, they even qualified for the Last 16, but AG København proved to be too strong in the knock-out phase.
Metaloplastika have even better memories about their former European Cup participations, although they go further back. Long before the EHF Champions League was launched, the Serbian side won the competition's predecessor, the Champions Cup, in 1985 and 1986 after having reached the final already in 1984.
Men´s Challenge Cup final first leg
RK Metaloplastika Sabac (SRB) vs IK Sävehof (SWE) Saturday 17. May 19.00 local time
While both Metaloplastika and Sävehof have a proud European history, both teams are also rebuilding at the moment: Metaloplastika recovers from some financial and organisational troubles; Sävehof are building a new team for the future.
"Playing a Challenge Cup final at this point is very good for developing our young players, and we are really looking forward to playing those finals," Sävehof coach Magnus Johansson tells eurohandball.com.
"We know we will be up against a very strong team. Of course, one thing is watching them on video, and another is seeing them live, but we know that they are practising a very efficient 5-1 defence, while their attack is characterised by some strong and well-shooting back court players and a very good line player.
"I see our chances at 50:50, but there is no doubt that we will have to be ready from the start, if we are to have a chance of a good result in Serbia," Magnus Johansson added.
For Metaloplastika it comes as a bit of a surprise that they have reached the final.
"This is a huge success for us if you are aware of the whole situation, in which we have been working all these years," said club director Mile Isakovic, former Metaloplastika left wing and the team's all-time top scorer.
TEXT: Peter Bruun / ts
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