"Larvik is a tough nut to crack"Article
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Vâlcea's Ionela Stanca still believes that her team can celebrate a victory in Larvik.

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"Larvik will be a tough nut to crack"

Larvik HK hosts Oltchim Râmnicu Vâlcea in the EHF Champions League top game of the week. The Romanian team is hoping to win their first away game this season, after being defeated by Randers HK in the first match of the group. Pivot Ionela Stanca is confident that Oltchim will win this game even if Larvik is undefeated up until now in this season.

ehfCL.com: Has Oltchim managed to overcome the loss against Randers?

Ionela Stanca: The win against Toulon gave us the required boost to forget about starting off on the wrong foot. The quality and the experience of our roster enables our hopes for a win in Larvik. As unexpected as it was, the first loss is already forgotten and we are focusing on the next matches, which have to be won. Considering short term goals, Oltchim has to qualify for the Main Round, ergo it’s important to find our balance mentally.

ehfCL.com: Is Larvik the favourite to win this group after the first two matches?

Ionela Stanca: According to the first two matches, Larvik is the best team in this group. However, there are still four matches to be played and a lot can change. Even if we started with a loss, Oltchim is still one of the best teams in Europe. The EHF Champions League is not the right place to search for weak teams, therefore the table could be subject to several adjustments right up to the last games.

ehfCL.com: How did Oltchim’s players and staff perceive Larvik’s victory against Randers?

Ionela Stanca: We were all expecting Larvik to win, as they were big favourites before the game, even if Randers had defeated us a week before. However, the margin was big and after watching the game, we all concluded that the Norwegian team had a terrific match. Larvik is at the top of their game and will be a hard nut to crack on home soil, with their fans behind them, a great asset for any team.

ehfCL.com: What should Oltchim do in order to secure a win in Larvik?

Ionela Stanca: Winning in Larvik will never be easy, but I believe that Oltchim has the strength to overcome the Norwegian side. A large number of factors have to be taken into account, but if I were to pick one, I would say a good defence would help us snatch a win here. Of course, we have to analyze Larvik’s gameplan and try to disrupt the co-operation between their players. Make no mistake though, Oltchim is only interested in winning games like this and we will try to to take the initiative and dictate the rhythm of play.

ehfCL.com: Is Oltchim able to reach EHF Champions League final for the second year in a row?

Ionela Stanca: I believe that every player wants to become better and sets higher objectives every year. We will try everything in order to help Oltchim to qualify for the second year in a row in EHF Champions League Final. I strongly consider our team powerful enough to carry out this goal and failure is not an option. We give 100% during our training sessions and I am positive that the joint effort made by the staff and the players will help our team to develop into the best team in this competition.

The EHF Women's Champions League top game of Group C, Larvik HK (NOR) vs. C.S. Oltchim Rm. Vâlcea (ROU) on Saturday 23 October 2010 at 17:15 hrs (local time) will be broadcast live on our free-of-charge web stream on ehfTV.com.

TEXT: Adrian Costeiu