Koper focus on Saint-Raphael clashArticle
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Cimos Koper are aiming to top the Wild Card group and maintain their VELUX EHF Champions League campaign

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Koper focus on Saint-Raphael clash

After only finishing third in the Slovenian league last season, Cimos Koper have been thrown a wild card lifeline which keeps their dream of participating in the VELUX EHF Champions League alive.

Cimos Koper had a fantastic season in Europe last term, reaching the VELUX EHF Champions League quarter-finals. But they paid the price in their national championship and only finished third which meant they did not automatically qualify for the VELUX EHF Champions League competition in 2012/13 .

But coach Fredi Radojkovič is hoping his side can reignite their dreams with success against the French side, starting on Saturday (8 September).

"We want another Champions League season, even though we did not earn it on the field. After Kobenhavn rejected it another opportunity opened for us. But we are not in our best form yet," he said.

After Sebastian Skube left the club they signed Nikola Manojlović and Nejc Poklar, while Bojan Skoko was replaced by Filip Gavranović. Gašper Hrastnik and Novak Bošković joined too, and Radojkovič added: “The really difficult task is waiting for us, with more quality opponents waiting for us if we get through.”

But Cimos Koper are not looking too far ahead just yet, and are focused only on Saturday's game against hosts Saint Raphael.

"Their back players are extremely good. They are all capable to score from virtually anywhere, and from every small opportunity,” said experienced goalkeeper Gorazd Škof.

They also have another advantage, a home crowd, and Škof added: “If we play at a high level and keep our tempo until about the 45th minute, I expect the last few minutes will be tight.”

Koper and Saint Raphael will both play again on Sunday in the wildcard group, but the Slovenian team is not thinking about final. "First the French, then we will have one night to think about it and analyse what we have to do. Nothing other than Saturday is in our minds right now," adds Škof.

If Cimos Koper wins the tournament, they will be the third Slovenian representative in this season’s VELUX EHF Champions League after Gorenje and Celje. 

TEXT: Maja Mastnak