Alilovic: Fans are essentialArticle
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MKB Veszprem's goalkeeper will face his old club Reale Ademar Leon in the Last 16 of the VELUX EHF Champions League

Alilovic: Fans are essential

Bosnia, Spain, Slovenia and now Hungary: Mirtko Alilovic has seen a lot of the world of handball in his career – but the national team goalkeeper never played for a club in his home country of Croatia.

The Last 16 of the VELUX EHF Champions League is something special for 26-year-old Alilovic who, with his current club MKB Veszprem, will face former team Ademar Leon, where he played from 2005 to 2010.

In this interview with Alilovic talks about the support of the fans on both sides and which team is the favourite in this encounter, which starts on Saturday with the first leg in Spain. Were you pleased or frustrated when you found out that you will face your former club Reale Ademar Leon?

Mirko Alilovic: I was really pleased to hear that we will play Leon in the Last 16, but it could have been an easier opponent! You played for Reale Ademar Leon for five years – what do you remember most?

Mirko Alilovic: I had five really good years there and I only have positive memories. Now you're at Veszprem, what do you miss the most from your time at Leon?

Mirko Alilovic: Veszprem and Leon are two totally different cities, but both have their own special beauty. Both clubs are known for their fantastic spectators – will the fans be louder in Leon or Veszprem?

Mirko Alilovic: Of course in Veszprem the fans will be louder. How important is the atmosphere in general for the players at both clubs?

Mirko Alilovic: Fans are essential in any sport and in any arena, without fans you have no motivating atmosphere. For the fourth straight time MKB Veszprem have to face a Spanish club in the knockout stage of the VELUX EHF Champions League. Is there a Spanish curse on your club?

Mirko Alilovic: It is true, as it is really unlucky and really bad luck, as Spanish teams are some of the best in the world. Is it a big advantage to have the second leg match on home ground?

Mirko Alilovic: Yes it is. But this is only an advantage if we can get a good result in Leon on Saturday, which will give us a chance to proceed with a good performance at home. In the Group Stage Veszprem beat another Spanish top team, Atletico Madrid, on home ground. Is this a good omen for the games with Leon?

Mirko Alilovic: The match against Atletico Madrid was really important in reaching the Last 16, but the next matches are much more important for our club. Who would you say are the favourites for the Veszprem vs. Leon Last 16 match?

Mirko Alilovic: There is no obvious favourite in these encounters. Both teams have the same chance to proceed or to fail. Veszprem twice failed on their way to Cologne against FC Barcelona – are you dreaming of the VELUX EHF FINAL4 or is it too early to consider the final tournament?

Mirko Alilovic: In my opinion the VELUX EHF FINAL4 is too far away for all 16 teams still involved, you cannot dream of reaching Cologne at this stage of the competition.

TEXT: Björn Pazen