Cañellas still dreams about another trip to CologneArticle
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One of the Spanish heroes from the recent World Championships believes that Atlético can make it to the VELUX EHF FINAL4 again.

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Cañellas still dreams about another trip to Cologne

It has only been several days since the final match of the World Championships, but the busy match schedule at the club level followed for most of the reigning champions of the world. With games every three days, no wonder if the Spanish team's triumph in Barcelona is quickly fading away as a distant memory.

However, the centre back Joan Cañellas is definitely not the case, as his face still lights up when talking about his experience at a World Championship, in which Atlético Madrid's player was a one of the main figures.

Only in the final Cañellas scored seven goals and became one of key elements responsible for the overwhelming victory (35:19) over Denmark.

He demonstrated an excellent form also with his eight goals against Quabit Guadalajara on Wednesday, but he desires to prolong the great shape at least for next two weeks, as his Atlético fight for the ticket to Last 16 of the VELUX EHF Champions League and matches against Celje Pivovarna Laško and IK Sävehof should decide about their fate.

"I feel very confident. Although now, possibly, our opponents will pay more attention to the players who just won the World Championships," said Cañellas to

Atlético cannot realistically dream about the top two spots in the Group B, but two victories in next home matches in Palacio of Vistalegre could seal the third place in the group and can help them to avoid meeting any of the group winners in the knock-out stage.

"We must win, no matter the score. Even by one goal. We know it will be very difficult, because Celje and Sävehof are two very good teams, but we will play at home and I think we have arguments to win," added Cañellas.

However, Madrid player warned of the possible difficulties when facing Celje on Sunday. The Slovenian team already caused a lot of problems to Talant Dujshebaev's team in the match played last October, although visitors won 22:28.

"Our goalkeeper Hombrados played very well in that game, but in the first half we had many problems, so we must stay focused for all sixty minutes," explained Cañellas recalling on the match, in which Atlético were trailing by two goals at the break.

And this time, they cannot rely on their goalkeeping legend, who will not be available in the rematch against Celje due to the long-term injury.

Cañellas also highlighted the great collective effort of the Slovenian team combined with individual skills of several Celje´s players like Sebastian Skube and Máté Lékai on the centre back position or the left back Borut Mackovšek.

"Celje is a team that plays very well. A team with young lads, but with a lot of discipline," the Spanish player praised the upcoming rivals.
Having virtually lost the domestic title, the main objective of Atlético is now their campaign in the VELUX EHF Champions League, in which Dujshebaev's team aims to repeat at least their presence at the VELUX EHF Final4 in Cologne.

"In Europe our dreams are still alive, unlike in the Spanish League, so we have to give everything to reach the Final4 again. It is an ambitious goal, but we must try to achieve it," concluded Cañellas.

Follow the match Atlético Madrid vs Celje Pivovarna Laško on Sunday at 18:00 hrs local time here

TEXT: Javier Villanueva / br