Krim depleted by injuries, but under no pressureArticle
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Slovenian champions style themselves as underdogs against Larvik, but still hope to stop the losing streak against Norwegian powerhouse.

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Krim depleted by injuries, but under no pressure

Before the start of the current season in the Women's EHF Champions League Tone Tiselj, the coach of Krim Mercator, set a goal for his newly assembled team. That goal was reaching the semi-final, "provided everything goes to plan," as he put it in October.

Half a year later the Slovenian champions have reached the top four for the first time in seven seasons, although coach Tiselj could not have possibly imagined the roller-coaster ride his side endured before their contest with the Norwegian powerhouse Larvik in the battle for the final.

Krim is struggling with injuries again, the doctors are deciding the fate of the training process. The Swedish bomber Linnea Torstensson's broken finger has not healed yet and it looks she will not be able to play in the return match as well.

Maryna Vergeliuk-Strile (knee) and Andrea Penezić (ankle) have not trained for a week because of their injuries, Susann Müller (knee) is also doubtful, not to mention Liudmila Bodnieva's constant injury woes.

But this is nothing new for Tiselj, who is by now well-versed in seeking alternatives on and off the field.

"We are trying to prepare the girls with the help of our regular medical team, as well as two bioenergy therapists. We will see on the day who will be able to play," Krim head coach said.

"Larvik are the clear favourites, they have and experienced squad with medal-winners from all of the important tournaments. Their style of play is no secret to us, but the main question is, will we be able to counter it."

Krim have played Larvik 12 times. The Norwegians have won 7 times, last four in a row. Last season the teams have met in the group stage with matches in Larvik and Ljubljana ending 31:19 and respectively 19:22.

"That's history, we have a different team now. We are under no pressure to win. All I ask of the girls is they put in a good fight, never give up and follow the tactical plan," Tiselj added.

Krim has quite a few problems with the fitness of its backcourt players, so the burden of responsibility will fall on the German playmaker Nina Wörz, who is also able to switch positions if need be.

"They are excellent in defence and counterattacks, but they also have some weak points, for instance their transition from offence to defence. We have to take advantage of that."

With Müller more or less out the danger for the right will have to come from Barbara Lazović-Varlec, who will play her first game against Larvik.

"I hope the debut will be a happy one. We need to give a good, focused performance with as little technical errors as possible and deny the opposition chances for easy goals. Hopefully we will bring home a good result," she said.

Further information
Follow the match live on on Saturday 15:15 hrs local time

TEXT: Grega Sever / br