Popović: Győr will not repeat mistakes from the pastArticle
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Six times EHF Champions League winner is convinced that Győr will not let the title slip out of their hands this time.

Popović: Győr will not repeat mistakes from the past

With an accolade of six trophies and two awards for the top scorer, Bojana Popović is considered to be one of the best players of the EHF Champions League history.

After she won her sixth title last May with Budućnost (before that she was three times EHF Champions League winner with Slagelse and two times with Viborg), she finished her brilliant career and become a sport director of Montenegrin champions.

Interestingly, Bojana Popović won the EHF Champions League titles with some players from this season’s finalists – with Cecilie Leganger in 2005 and 2007 playing for Slagelse, and with Katrine Lunde in 2009 and 2010 playing for Viborg.

Popović speaks for ehfCL.com about the first leg of this season’s final between Larvik and Győri Audi ETO KC and her expectations for the second and decisive game.

ehfCL.com: What are your impressions after the first final game?

Bojana Popović: I expected a little more energy from both sides and more fighting what all should belong to the Champions League final. In the first part of the match Larvik played well in defence and stopped the main players of Győr, and by that time no one was playing well in the Hungarian team.

Therefore, Larvik had a lead, as that was the only way to compete with Győr, to play a perfect defence with a reliable goalkeeper Cecilie Leganger and to score goals from counterattack, because in positional attack, actually, Larvik is not so dangerous.

But, in the second half Larvik lost the momentum, I think Joan Radičević was "guilty" for that fall, because in few minutes she scored four goals from counterattack. She has a fantastic feeling to ran a counterattack, so she was punishing the rival with easy goals. Győr then managed easily to come back and to take a lead.

ehfCL.com: Did you expect Győr to win as they defeated Larvik in all three games this season, twice in the Main Round?

Bojana Popović: Győr played much better during the whole season, while Larvik had a lot of ups and downs, they didn’t play a perfect and beautiful handball as they are is quite limited in attack with outside shots. Even the counterattack of Larvik is not as lethal as it was in the last years, although in this segment they were very good against Krim Ljubljana.

So, for me, this was an expected result, although Larvik could have got a better result if they played smarter in certain moments of the game, and didn’t allow counterattacks to Radičević. Győr played with a lot of patience and waited for the right opportunity and got it at the end.

ehfCL.com: You played with Budućnost against Győr in the last season’s EHF Champions League final? Beside a coach, they practically didn’t change the team. Has anything changed in the way of their play?

Bojana Popović: Nothing special. Perhaps last season they were more euphoric, with more energy. Other thing are still standard in their game. Katrine Lunde is excellent between the posts, she saves many situations when her defence fails to prevent the attack, and then with a quick counterattacks they score easy goals. Anita Görbicz has the quality, and I think this season she played more for her team. Spanish coach Ambros Martín really analyses a lot opponent teams, unlike last year when the coach was not much concerned about rivals.

ehfCL.com: Győr also won the away game against Olthim Vâlcea in the semi-final (24:22), but lost the second leg by one goal, after being down by six goals less than 10 minutes before the end. Can Larvik in Hungary catch up what they lost at home?

Bojana Popović: I’m sure that Győr will be ready not to repeat the mistake from the semi-final, that they will be maximally concentrated, as in the final a twist is always possible. Olthim was a good lesson for them, and they will have a much better approach. I don’t understand how a team like Olthim, who wants to play the final, afford to lose a six goals lead in the final nine minutes. But, it says a lot about the quality of Györ, who didn’t give up. They fought till the end, and managed to cut the deficit to just one goal within five or six minutes. I think this time they will not afford to repeat the mistakes from the past.

TEXT: Saša Jončić / br