A real final in Ciudad RealArticle
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Read an exclusive double interview with the coaches Talant Dujshebaev and Alfred Gislasson before the match Ciudad vs Gummersbach.

A real final in Ciudad Real

It will be one of the three “finals” between Spanish and German clubs on the last match day of the CL Main Round. Ciudad Real will meet VfL Gummersbach on home court. For Ciudad (8 points) a draw would be enough to reach the semi-finals, while Gummersbach (6) have to win by more than one goal to go through. In an exclusive double interview with Eurohandball.com, both coaches – Talant Dujshebaev (Ciudad Real) and Alfred Gislasson (VfL Gummersbach) – talk about the chances of their teams.

Gislasson dreamt about a chance like thisEurohandball.com: Talant, your team were very lucky to win the first match in Germany with one goal. Did you expect such a strong opponent?

Dujshebaev: It was an extremely close match between two very strong teams. If I’m honest, a draw would have been the right result. Luck was on our side.

Eurohandball.com: Alfred, were you very disappointed after the defeat? What does this defeat mean for the re-match?

Gislasson: We don’t think about the first match any more; it’s history. With our victory against Montpellier and with Ciudad’s defeat against the French, we have the situation we dreamed of. It will be a real final in Ciudad Real. We could not expect this situation to come after losing at home against Ciudad.

Eurohandball.com: Talant, what are your expectations for the match?

Dujshebaev: It’s very easy: we just want to reach the semi-final. This match is the most important for us in these weeks. But it’s the same for Gummersbach. This single match decides everything in the CL competition for both teams. Gummersbach have an experienced and clever team. We have to give 100% if we want to reach our objective. I believe that we have a good chance to win the match as we play on home court and our fans will add important extra percents to our team. This should be a plus for us.

Eurohandball.com: Alfred, what are your chances to go through?

The objective is still the same for Dujshebaev: semi-finalsGislasson: Very, very, very little. Look at the team of Ciudad Real and compare it to our team. They have a lot more options and their options all mean world class players. Besides, they will play at home and it’s nearly impossible to beat Ciudad on home court. But accordingly, the pressure will be on our opponents. We want to enjoy a great match and hope for our little chance and have fun in Spain. But maybe Ciudad Real will underestimate us, which can be our chance.  

Eurohandball.com: Talant, how can you explain that your team lost in Montpellier?

Dujshebaev: It also a very easy answer: We played worse than usual, that’s it. But this defeat doesn’t count so much, as it was our plan to win two away matches. We won in Velenje and in Gummersbach, so it’s still the same for us.

Eurohandball.com: A question to both of you: what about the players? Who will be missing?

Gislasson: Vedran Zrnic is out for a couple of months, but apart from him, only Oleg Kuleshov could not play in our last Bundesliga match in Kiel. I hope that he would be alright by Sunday.

Dujshebaev: Our situation is quite different: Chema Rodriguez is injured since September and will not play anymore this season. Petar Metlicic will be able to play in the final stage of the season, but not on Sunday. Unlike in our match in Cologne, our goalkeeper Árpád Sterbik is fit again after his injury.

Gislasson: And this is a very important fact: With Sterbik, Ciudad Real are much better.

The first match was a tough one, the second also promises excitementEurohandball.com: Talant, before this season, the objective of Ciudad Real was to win the Champions League. Will your team be able to win the second title after 2006?

Dujshebaev: The finals are so far away, we have a lot of important matches before, we didn’t even reach the semi-final yet. If we reach the last four teams, we will meet a world class side, for sure, just look at the possible opponents. We want to win the CL title, but whether it is possible, I don’t know yet.

Eurohandball.com: Alfred, the schedule of your team is very difficult: in 12 days you have played against Montpellier, Kiel, Hamburg and Ciudad Real. Do you have enough power?

Gislasson: We can only rest between the matches, you cannot make real trainings. But my team are absolutely eager to play these matches, one great opponent after the other. After losing against Kiel on Sunday we concentrate now on Hamburg. We have to win this match on Wednesday, important for the ranking of the Bundesliga. From Thursday on, we will fully concentrate on Ciudad Real.

TEXT: Björn Pazen