First CL Final since 2000?Article
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Gunnar Prokop talks confidently about the semi-final against Togliatti at a press conference.

First CL Final since 2000?

The first leg of the Champions League semi-finals will take place on Saturday afternoon, 5 p.m. local time (14:00 CET), when the home team of Togliatti will clash with the Austrian team HYPO-Noe.

Prokop is optimistic and found the new coach“We are pleased with the draw; we only wanted to avoid Slagelse. We played against another Danish team in the quarterfinals (Aalborg DH), so it is really pleasant that we do not have to meet another northern team. They are the most probable winners of this year’s CL and in the group matches we could hardly beat them despite all our efforts” – handball pope Gunnar Prokop said at the press conference.

The HYPO manager shortly touched upon the quarterfinals against Aalborg: “If a match can be lost by 10 goals, then it also can be won by the same difference.”

The team from Maria Enzersdorf lost the away game in Aalborg by 34-24, and then on home ground hammered last year’s semi-finalist by 12 goals and thus prevented their qualification to the next round. “We were over-motivated in the first match, and that proved our undoing” – recounted HYPO’s Brazilian team captain Dani Piedade.

“We have learned our lesson from the quarterfinals. Our goal is to win in Togliatti, since winning is better than losing” – Prokop continued.

The preparations were not smooth, as some players were carrying minor injuries (Piedade, Nascimento) or had colds (Rotis, Boklashchuk). During the last two weeks, the team could only train together for the first time yesterday.

“Our opponent has no weak points. Three of them (Sidorova, Bliznova, Postnova) are key players in the Russian national team, and their wing has scored a whole lot of goals. Gumyanov, the new coach, has shaped them into a really good and fast team. We are in for a really tough game, especially due to the long trip (Togliatti is situated 1000 kms south-east of Moscow). Luckily, in Jet Alliance, we have found such a good, new partner that it makes our journey and preparation easier for the Saturday match” – said Prokop, as he highlighted the difficulties of the long trip.

The New Coach – Hungarians in HYPO

András Németh, Hypo coach from next seasonDuring the press conference, the name of the new coach was revealed: from this summer, the present trainer of Ferencváros, the 53-year-old András Németh, will coach the team, with left-back Tímea Tóth and left-wing Erika Kirsner accompanying their coach to Vienna. Quoting Gunnar Prokop: „We tried to lure this respected trainer 3 years ago, but were unsuccessful as he wanted to continue with his team. We are now very pleased that he is coming. His name was at the top of our request list. We were planning our future with him, so this plan will reach fruition next season.”

András Németh signed for 2 years with HYPO and he will start working in Austria at the beginning of July. „We acknowledge the superb work he has carried out with Ferencváros for many years. With a weaker squad he has achieved serious international successes from year to year. I am convinced we can cooperate well. The deputy trainer of HYPO, Ferenc Kovács will also be of assistance. András Németh has great experience in his favour, and I regard him as an excellent professional, who can lead HYPO to a CL victory. This is our primary goal for the next 2 years!” – said the manager in his closing remarks.

TEXT: Márk Hegedüs, Time Out Magazin (