Kiel to face Dragon’s infernoArticle
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PREVIEW: For the first time in history the European top flight will be played in Dragao Caixa in Porto. The home team could hardly wish a more attractive opponent for their premiere as three-time winners of the EHF Champions League from THW Kiel are coming to the town.

Kiel to face Dragon’s inferno

FC Porto will face Kiel this Saturday, in one of their most difficult games of the group, but also, one of the most important games ever for the history of the Portuguese handball and the first ever played in Dragao Caixa.

Even though this match is of major importance for the sport in Portugal, it is just normal that in a smaller country where football is king, this EHF Champions League fever take a while to get into the fans veins. However, FC Porto informed that the arena is most likely to be full as already on Wednesday the ticket sale percentage was already over 80%.

Tiago Rocha was one of the interviewees in the press conference that previewed this game, and said exactly what the blue and white needed.
“Our country will be watching us, however it’s very important that the full house doesn’t mean 'people to watch Kiel', but instead FC Porto fans, as we always have at home.

“We want an atmosphere even more infernal than the one we usually have against our rivals, we need a complete inferno on the stands,” Rocha underlined.

Hugo Laurentino also spoke in the Dragons conference, where the ehfTV commentator Tom O Brannagain was inevitably mentioned in the opening as he confessed his feeling that Portuguese can make a surprise at last Tuesday's Hangout discussion of handball experts. And the goalkeeper completely agrees with him.

“I think we can surprise them, because at home we are tremendously strong, that’s exactly what we are working for!

“Everyone saw what we did in our first two games, and taking the Danish example, we were great in that first half, so it’s of most importance that those 30 minutes become 60, because we have potential to make even better,” Laurentino said.

The Portuguese International keeper also commented on the 'over 60 goals' prediction, with a gawky, but smiley face.

“You might be certain that I’ll do everything I can to stop that from happening! Of course, it will be a fast match, full of counter-attacks, but that is the way we play. They do it as well, it is the modern handball!”

He also added to be in the clouds with this Champions League participation, once his first goal ever as a senior player was scored in their last match against Kielce.

“This is a whole different level. There are taller and stronger teams, and also more experienced goalkeepers, which are different from the ones we are used to face in our domestic league. So it isn’t a surprise when we use our interior game,” said Tiago Rocha, Porto’s starting  line player who has been crucial to the team offensively.

Journalists were allowed to watch part of the blues training, and the fact which jumped to their view right away was Alvaro Ferrer, who is injured but is one of the most experienced players in the squad, being given the stage by Obradovic himself to speak to his colleagues about the match against the Germans.

The atmosphere was great during practice, something that isn’t surprising after having three wins in the past week in just five days.
THW Kiel is the only thing the Portuguese champions have in mind at the moment, with a certainty that it will be an easy match for neither of the sides, and also, Dragao Caixa’s atmosphere will be stupendous to receive the VELUX EHF Champions League for the first time.

Further information

Follow the match FC Porto Vitalis vs THW Kiel live on ehfTV on Saturday at 20:15 hrs. local time


TEXT: Carlos J Santos / br