INTERVIEW: For 2012 EHF Cup winner Momir Rnic another EHF Cup finals would be the perfect end of Melsungen’s first season on the international stage
Rnic: "The competition really gets started now"
Momir Rnic (27) has handball in his veins. The Serbian international followed in the footsteps of his father, a world and Olympic champion with Yugoslavia, and started an international handball career. Now he has the chance to reach the EHF Cup Finals in Berlin with his club MT Melsungen.
He enjoyed his first international experiences at Slovenian powerhouses Celje and Velenje, before he moved to Germany in 2011.
In his first season, he won the EHF Cup with Frisch Auf Göppingen in 2012 – and one year later he qualified for the premiere edition of the EHF Cup Finals in Nantes.
Before the current season he transferred to MT Melsungen – and has the chance to repeat history with the international debutants and clinch the berth for the EHF Cup Finals in Berlin on 16/17 May.
Right before the quarter-final duels with Danish side Skjern Handbold, Momir Rnic talks about the international upswing of MT Melsungen, the importance to qualify again for EHF European Cup competitions and the hard time the Serbian national team is going through.
eurohandball.com: Are you surprised that your team has qualified for the EHF Cup quarter-finals in their first season on international stage?
Momir Rnic: For the club it is a debut, but a large amount of players have already gained international experience, which is s a huge help on our mission. We were lucky at the draw of the group phase and didn't have to face the toughest opponents, so we managed to finish on top with five wins. But to be honest: For me the competition really gets started now!
eurohandball.com: What’s your opinion about your upcoming quarter-final opponent Skjern?
Momir Rnic: They are a tough nut to crack, they are the current Danish league cup winner, they beat Champions League participant KIF Kolding on their court. But we have the chance to proceed, knowing that two extremely close and hard matches are ahead.
eurohandball.com: In the squad of MT Melsungen you are the only one who already won the EHF Cup trophy, in 2012 with Göppingen. Can you give certain advice to your teammates, having experienced moments like those?
Momir Rnic: It was an incredible experience. At that time the EHF Cup was played in the old system with two finals, one home and one away against Dunkerque. Now after merging the competitions we have the new system with a final tournament – and it is our great goal to be part of the EHF Cup Finals in Berlin. Last year I watched some matches of the event, and I was impressed with and excited about the high level of organisation in a great and full arena. So now we want to share this excitement in this atmosphere of the Max-Schmeling-Arena.
eurohandball.com: What would be a perfect result in the first leg of the quarter-finals in Skjern?
Momir Rnic: In the group phase you can proceed tactically and a single defeat doesn't hurt that much, but in this knock-out stage it's impossible to think like that. So it makes no sense to say that a close defeat in Skjern would be a good base for the rematch. Stupid! It must be our aim to win both matches, nothing else.
eurohandball.com: Have Melsungen already arrived in the EHF Cup after the successful group phase?
Momir Rnic: We have to go back to qualification, this is where it all started. We eliminated experienced and strong teams like Toulouse and Presov, so we began our path to the group phase quite confident. Now only two more matches separate us from the EHF Cup Finals. We are in good form at the moment, as we proved in domestic and international competitions.
eurohandball.com: Is it tough to accommodate the Bundesliga and EHF Cup at the same time?
Momir Rnic: I had this negative experience in Göppingen, when – at the crucial stage of the season – we only focused on EHF Cup and didn't care about the Bundesliga that much. This must not happen to us now. Currently we are sixth ranked in the league with the chance to make it to fifth position. So we want to qualify again for an international competition, we are hungry for those special matches on the international stage.
eurohandball.com: How large is the excitement and anticipation among the fans?
Momir Rnic: Simply huge! It was a special motivation for us that our fans accompanied us to France, Slovakia and Sweden and will also travel to Skjern. So we want to go all the way to Berlin - especially for them.
TEXT: Björn Pazen / me / cor
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