Jaukovic hoping it will be third time lucky in Budapest
Brest Bretagne Handball have a chance for a season to remember. The end of May offers the chance to win three titles and they already won one of them. With the French Cup in their hands, they are battling with Metz for the league their debut appearance at the DELO EHF FINAL4 will be icing on the cake.
Young Montenegrin Djurdjina Jaukovic will play at the season-ending event for the third time on 29/30 May in Budapest. This is Jaukovic's first season in France and she is very happy with how everything worked out for her.
''I can say that I’m really satisfied in Brest. In the beginning, it was really hard for me. It was my first time leaving Montenegro, my family, friends and Buducnost, where I spent five years with the senior team and two years in the academy.''
Jaukovic's start of the season was not easy but she eventually found her feet: ''At the beginning of the team preparations, I was positive for COVID-19 and I was out for a month. That is why I joined Brest later. All of the players and coaches helped me to adjust as soon as possible. Since January I really felt that good and I started to perform at my best. I am really happy.''
Season to remember
Brest have a chance to write history and everyone in the club is aware of it, despite losing the first leg of the French league final, 31:24 to Metz.
“We achieved the best result in the EHF Champions League. I'm glad that I have a chance to be a part of it again and happy that we already won one trophy, the French Cup, and still have to play a rematch of the French league final.''
Jaukovic had to change her life, her way of training and adapt to the new surroundings. When she looks back to the season so far, the 24-year-old pointed out the most memorable part of it.
''When I look back on the season I would point out January 2021. We suffered two losses in the French championship and our play plunged. All of us, I can really say for the whole team, not just me.'
''At that point, we showed what we are made of, that we are a true team. All of us were talking about the problem and decided to give our best in the matches and we united over the idea we want to win as many things we can. And it came. DELO EHF FINAL4, cup finals and league finals against Metz. We have a great team and I am super proud of all my players.''
''I hope this will be third time lucky”
In Budapest, Brest will face Györi Audi ETO KC in the semi-finals, the reigning champions packed with experienced players. The match is scheduled for 29 May at 15:15 CEST, live on EHFTV, and Jaukovic has good knowledge of playing semi-finals against Györ.
''What to say about Györ, we all know who they are. It is a club with a long tradition, with five European titles and each season they have a team able to win it. I cannot wait for that match. I was at the FINAL4 with Buducnost twice and played against Györ both times in the semi-finals, both lost. I really hope this will be the third time lucky for me. To get my revenge for those two years.''
''This season we had two draws with them. I think they are favourites but we are not going to surrender. We will fight hard, from my point of view, our style of play does not suit Györ. To speak about their players and roster would be waste of time. They have two or three players at each position with a great coach in Ambros Martin.''
She also revealed what the key for the match will be: ''Our defence has to be strong and we have to be quick in running back. We have to minimise technical faults.''
The Montenegrin left back has scored 55 goals this season and will add more to her tally but she is also valuable for defence. Jaukovic is one of the nominees for DELO EHF Champions League 2020/21 All-star Team, presented by the Delo Group.
''It is always great to see your name as a nominee or a chosen player for the All-star Team. That is not only my success, it is the success of my colleagues and my coach. But I always say team success is more important. I would be happier if I scored only one goal but my team win rather than I am the best scorer and my team lose. Of course, I am happy but it would make me happier to win the Champions League.''
Coach Laurent Bezeau will say his goodbye after eight years on Brest’s bench, some of the players are leaving the club and others have never been a part of this showpiece event, making this event all the more special for Brest.
''I would like to win everything we can this season, especially the Champions League. We will have some changes in the club and it would be a great farewell. Ana Gros has never played there, Bella Gulden only won once. Only three of us were ever in Budapest - SandraToft, Bella Gulden and I. It would be an amazing wrap-up of the most successful season so far. I know we have a tough task ahead of us but nothing is impossible.''