Nexe goalkeeper still believes in chance of group phase
In spite of having lost the first match 31:22 away against SC Magdeburg, RK Nexe goalkeeper Perica Lelic still believes in his team’s chances to reach the group phase of the Men’s EHF Cup just like the team did in the 2014/15 season.
“The hope is what dies last, but we do need a miracle.
“However, with a full and hot arena and loud support from our fans for the first till the last second, nothing is impossible.
“Anything is possible, but of course, everything will have to fit, if we should still reach the group phase, Lelic told his club’s website ahead of the home game against the Bundesliga team Saturday evening in Qualification Round 3.
HC Midtjylland have never been in the group phase.
In fact, the Danish club has never been in a European Cup competition until this season, but winning the Danish Cup last season gave them the ticket for the EHF Cup, where they started by drawing 29:29 away against Dinamo Astrakhan.
The result in Russia was a bit of a disappointment to Midtjylland who were leading 28:23 and were heading for a clear win.
Still, the draw give reason for Danish optimism ahead of the return match Sunday.
“I am sure if the first match went exactly as planned.
“We should have won big, but getting one point with us was fine after all.
“If we have the right attitude Sunday, I am sure we will beat them,”says Midtjylland´s experienced right wing and former Danish international Dennis Kirkegaard.
Midtjylland coach Morten Secher can send his team on the court that the club management believes in him.
During the week, his contract as extended until 2019.
Another Danish team, KIF Kolding Kobenhavn have a long an proud European history behind them, and they seem to be going to prolong that history after winning 27:24 in Spain against Abanca Ademar Leon last Saturday.
“I do not think you should expect us to win by five or six goals at home, and I expect a close match, but of course, a three goal win away gives confidence, and with a hopefully full Bröndbyhal to support us, “I think we can make it to the group phase,” KIF line player Morten Björnshauge said.
Ademar Leon are not the only Spanish team so far to potentially leave the tournament before the group phase.
Fraikin BM Granollers, who reached the final tournament last season and finished third seem to be in even bigger trouble than Leon.
Having lost 29:27 at home against ZTR Zaporozhye – despite leading 17:14 at half-time – Granollers are under heavy pressure before visiting the Ukrainian team in the Palace of Sports “ZAS” in Zaporozhye Saturday afternoon.
Helvetia Anaitasuna are the Spanish team with the best chances to reach the group phase ahead of the second leg of the third qualification round.
The Pamplona based team, who were also in the group phase last season, are leading 27:21 before travelling to Hungary and the Saturday meeting with Csurgói KK who were in the group phase in the 2013/14 season.
Füchse Berlin, who won the tournament in the 2014/15 season, can take the last step towards the group phase of the tournament this season, when they receive Slovenian Rk Gorenje Velenje in the Max-Schmeling-Halle Saturday night.
Being up 29:24 after the first match on away ground, the German Bundesliga side are clear favourites to reach the group stage.
TEXT: Peter Brunn / bc