Lino Cervar: It is hard to break records all the timeArticle
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Metalurg Skopje with high ambitions for the next season

»EHF CL Channel »2012-13 Men's News

Lino Cervar: It is hard to break records all the time

Metalurg Skopje won their domestic championship twice in a row without losing a single point. They were three times Macedonian champions, won their National Cup twice and last season the team from Avtokomanda reached the Last 16 of the VELUX EHF Champions League.

In the upcoming season the team’s ambitions remain the same: win the Macedonian championship, making a good result in the VELUX EHF Champions League, winning the National Cup and the Regional SEHA League - right in this order.

Two new players joined the team over the summer break. Tihomir Doder and Milan Vucucevic (both back players) will help to reduce the pressure on the current top players Naumche Mojsovski and Filip Mirkulovski.

Furthermore Metalurg decided to keep their goalkeeper Darko Stanic after the club and Frisch Auf Göppingen found a mutual agreement. Stanic stays in Skopje for the next three years and left hand Zarko Markovic joins the Bundesliga team. Coach Lino Cervar is happy that Damir Batinovic fully recovered from his knee injury and that pivot Mladen Rakecevic will be fit to start the new season.

„On each position, we have different players that can be taken into consideration. Last season several players suffered from injuries but they have fully recovered. Nevertheless, I always say "the grill should not be prepared when a rabbit is still in the woods". The most important thing is to get a place in the VELUX EHF Champions League Group Phase. When we reached that goal we will start to think about our next challenges,” said Chervar.

The first real test for Metalurg is a tournament in Struga (15-18 August) where Metalurg will play against Buzau and Dedeman Bacau (both Romania), Dinamo Minsk and Brest Meshkov (both Belarus), Dunkerque (France) and of course the host Struga. The next preparation tournament will be in Croatian Porec. Zagreb, Gorenje Velenje and Cimos Koper will be the opponents of Metalurg Skopje.

„We established quite a record over the past seasons, especially in the national championship. It is normal that we are hungry for more. In Macedonia we only have one real opponent, Vardar Skopje. They want to end our dominance and obviously we want to defend it. The matches between the two teams are the biggest Balkan handball derbies,” explain the coach.

Metalurg aim to play in the VELUX EHF Champions League but first they have to win the Qualification Tournament in Haslum, Norway. Metalurg face Alpla HC Hard in the semi-final. In the other semi-final, host Haslum HK meet Dinamo Poltava.

„Usually the host gets more support than the other teams but that does not mean that we don’t have a chance. We have to be well prepared. First we think about the Austrian team from Hard and then we focuse on the final. We will take it step by step,”said Chervar.

TEXT: Goran Antevski