FEATURE: Twin sisters Dora and Larissa Kalaus of Lokomotiva Zagreb talk to eurohandball.com ahead of their second leg of the Women's Challenge Cup final v H65 Höörs on Saturday.
Dora Kalaus: "We didn't come to the final to be runners-up"
Lokomotiva Zagreb have reached the final of a European competition for the first time in 19 years.
The last time they played in a final was the 1997/98 Cup Winners Cup, when they lost to Baekkelagets Oslo over two matches (23:23, 28:17). Overall, this is their third European final one, and they are hoping that the third time will be a charm.
The side will take their four-goal lead from the first leg to H65 Höörs on Saturday (May 13).
Lokomotiva have been very convincing this season in the Challenge Cup, having lost only one match. That defeat came against reigning champions Rocasa Gran Canaria ACE in the away leg of the quarter-final.
They are also second in the Croatian championship, behind Podravka, to whom they lost in Croatian Cup quarter-final.
Lokomotiva, which translated into English means traction engine, have their own engine room in the team, in twin sisters Dora and Larissa Kalaus.
Larissa is currently the top scorer in this season's Challenge Cup with 53 goals, whereas Dora holds ninth place with 33 goals.
The Kalaus sisters came to Lokomotiva two years ago from their biggest rival Podravka, mainly because of education as they are both studying psychology.
Born in Križevci, the sisters have never separated during their handball careers. In their first final, they even played next to each other in the right back and right wing positions.
"Of course, it means a lot to me that I have chance to play with my twin sister. It's much easier for me to play with her because I know that I can especially rely on her. She is my support no matter what I do," Larrisa told eurohandball.com.
She also mentions how big this final is for Lokomotiva Zagreb: "I think no one expected this, not even the club management. We really fought hard throughout the whole season and in the end achieved a big result after so many years. We came all the way to the final and won in the first match."
Against H65 Höörs, Larissa scored four and Dora added one goal in a 23:19 first leg victory. However, both feel there is space for improvement ahead of the rematch in Sweden on Saturday (May 13).
"I would say that we didn't play according to the plan we had before the match, because we can play much better. We won, but I think we should have played better in defence and attack.
"We had too many suspensions and rebounds that went straight to their hands. We could have run more in the fast break but we allowed them to run, which wasn't our plan before the match," explained Dora.
For Larissa, defence was the key to their win: "Our better defence in the second half decided the winner. I think that tipped the scale. In the first half we were tense, but in the second we really started to run and play better."
The Kalaus twins and the whole Lokomotiva team are aware that they will have a very hard match in Höörs. However, Dora and Larissa believe that Lokomotiva can finally win a European trophy.
"I strongly believe we stand a chance in the rematch. We showed that we can play with them. We just need to give our best during all 60 minutes and I think we can win on their ground. It will be tougher than in Zagreb because they'll be highly motivated, but I think we can win," explained Larrisa.
Dora made it simple when it comes to the second leg in Sweden: "I think we can and need to handle the pressure we'll have in Sweden. We didn't come to the final to be runner-up.
TEXT: Jelena Bagaric / ap
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