Budućnost youngsters keep surprisingArticle
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Rejuvenated team of the defending champions eager to get to the top eight of the Women´s EHF Champions League

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Budućnost youngsters keep surprising

Two wins in a row in first two games of EHF Champions League should not be too surprising for defending champions. But after all changes in the team last summer, when players like Bojana Popović, Katarina Bulatović, Maja Savić, Ana Đokić, Sonja Barjaktarović, Ana Radović and others left Budućnost or finished their careers, probably only a few handball experts predicted such a good start for Montenegrin title holders.

After unexpected easy win at home against Russian Zvezda Zvenigorod (29:21), Budućnost made a great surprise by beating Viborg in Denmark (26:20).

“We controlled the whole game and deserved that victory. Our defence in the first half could have been at higher level, but we needed some time to feel the opponent and to keep them at a level that suited to us,” coach of Budućnost Dragan Adžić said.

The game in Viborg was decided between 44th and 54th minute, when Budućnost made a 5:0 run for a decisive lead - 25:19. Viborg managed to score just one goal in the last 16 minutes …

“We had a great finish of the game. The players have complied with all the things we agreed on, and the result was a big victory. All players showed great desire and confirmed that they have a tremendous quality. We have to be very satisfied how we played the last 17-18 minutes when we staved off Viborg’s top players.

"We stopped their best players, their goalkeepers had minimum number of saves, and our execution in attack was on a high level, so the victory was a logical consequence. I am grateful to my players for the great performance,” Adžić added.

Budućnost won in Viborg only for the second time in their history, but for the second consecutive time, after the 34:25 win two years ago.

“What I wished before the game in Viborg was to show the energy from the match with Zvezda. And we did show it, as well as the character of this bunch. Viborg is a great handball name, they have a lot of quality players, more experienced than us. However, the experience is not the only advantage, but also a desire and fighting spirit. Only who believes in miracles, can create some,” stated right wing Radmila Milanić, who scored four goals in Viborg.

After two games, Budućnost is one of four teams with maximum points, beside Oltchim Rm. Vâlcea, Györi Audi ETO KC and FTC Rail Cargo Hungaria, while Milena Knežević is the top scorer of EHF Champions League with 19 goals.

“It's different to play in this team. In the past years Bojana Popović and Katarina Bulatović were wearing the burden of responsibility in attack on their shoulders. Now it is completely different. Sometimes I take responsibility, sometimes Majda Mehmedović, Radmila Miljanić or Anđela Bulatović.

"But the most important thing is that we all play. Against Viborg we didn’t start the game like we should, but from the beginning we sent a clear signal to them who is better, even though they were absolute favorites," Knežević said.

“In all positions they have better players, but we are stronger as a team. I think in the last 15 minutes, when we conceded only one goal, we showed where we are compared to them at the moment,” she added.

In the next game Budućnost is also playing away, in Germany against Thüringer HC who has a win against Viborg and a defeat against Zvezda in the first two games. In the past season, Montenegrin champions won both games against German side.

“We made a big step towards our goal to reach the last eight, but we need two more wins to make it through to the Main Round and we know that every game will be very tough and demanding. We have already turned our attention to Thüringer HC and we know all about their quality. In Germany we will try to maintain the level of first two games and get a new victory.

"If we qualify for the Main Round, the players would get an opportunity to play six more top matches, which would mean a lot for their careers and the opportunity to build a new Budućnost who have the potential to continue to be at the top of the European handball”, concluded Adžić.

TEXT: Saša Jončić / br