Veszprém throw down the gauntletArticle
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After beating Madrid and Kiel this week, Hungarian champions MKB Veszprém are emerging as serious contenders in the VELUX EHF Champions League

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Veszprém throw down the gauntlet

Undoubtedly the top team in the last week in the VELUX EHF Champions League was MKB Veszprém, who beat two of last year's VELUX EHF FINAL4 competitors, Atlético Madrid and THW Kiel, in four days to underline their bid to reach Cologne in this season's competition. spoke to coach Antonio Carlos Ortega about the great progress his team have made. How do you feel after starting with four wins in the VELUX EHF Champions League? The last two must have been special as they were against some of the top teams in Europe, Atlético Madrid and THW Kiel.
Antonio Carlos Ortega: Of course I feel very good, but we are in the same situation as we were 10 days or three weeks ago. We have to continue to work with the team. Veszprém can play better, especially in attack where we need more continuity. Kiel is a perfect example of that, and this will be our task in the coming period. What did you hope to achieve in the preliminary group before the start?
Antonio Carlos Ortega: We have never spoke about our goals with the players. Yes, we have made fantastic progress with two wins against the best teams and that is a good thing for the club, but there are still a lot of matches ahead. The most important match is always the next one. That was Kiel some days ago, now it is the derby match with Pick Szeged in the domestic championship. Now, our position in the group is comfortable, but as I said, we are going step by step. Since you beat teams like Madrid or Kiel, your fans will probably expect that you are ready to play in Cologne next June?
Antonio Carlos Ortega: I understand that people think we are ready for something big this season. Ok, that is our mission in Hungary, but it is still a long way to Cologne. It all depend on the team's form in March and April.

Only one bad performance can mean you're going out of Europe. The best example is FC Barcelona from the last season. Just one bad match in Copenhagen and they were out without a chance to defend title in the Lanxess Arena. That’s why I hope that we will be the best at the crucial moments of the season. After you came to Hungary with your assistant Javier Sabate, Veszprém has formed a mixed roster mainly made up of Hungarian and Spanish players. Can you explain that vision?
Antonio Carlos Ortega: We have big names in the team. Our idea was to mix physically good domestic players with the players from the Asobal League who are well versed in tactical matters. It’s going slowly, but players are learning and working hard and results are telling us that we are on the right track. This is your first challenge abroad in your coaching career after you worked with Antequera in the Asobal League. What did you think of this oportunity to work with one of the best teams in Europe?
Antonio Carlos Ortega: We took the oportunity with two hands. This chapter is very important in my career. After we left Antequera because of financial problems, I was without a team for almost a whole season. Now, I am working with a team in the Champions League so of course, I am very satisfied. Who are the biggest favorites to win the VELUX EHF Champions League 2012/13?
Antonio Carlos Ortega: For me, Kiel is the number one - they are on the highest level. Gislason has led most of the players for many years, so they know each other. Kiel have a system and play under the same rules. That is very important. What about your team from playing days - FC Barcelona?
Antonio Carlos Ortega: Of course, Barca is very strong. Perhaps, they are better in defence than last season. And they have a couple of stronger goalkeepers, especially with Sterbik. We will see how they progress in attack. Barca is the biggest favorite to win the trophy after Germans.

Further information
Find more information about MKB Veszprém HERE
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TEXT: Žika Bogdanović / br