Difficult experience for Baia MareArticle
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INTERVIEW: The head coach Costica Buceschi speaks about a priceless experience of Romanian newcomers in the Women's EHF Champions League. After two straight defeats Baia Mare managed to record first two points last weekend.

»EHF CL Channel »2013-14 Women's News

Difficult experience for Baia Mare

Life in the most important European competition was tough for HCM Baia Mare until last weekend.

Costica Buceschi’s side surprised both Viborg HK and Team Tvis Holstebro in the Women’s EHF Champions League Qualification Tournament 3 and qualified for the Group Matches after the Romanian runners-up defeated both Danish teams. But they lost their first two matches, against German champions, Thüringer HC, and Györ, the current title holder.

But Baia Mare did not flinch and managed to grab their first win last weekend, by defeating Austrian champions, Hypo Niederosterreich, by a one-goal margin, 24:23.

It was the first win ever for the Romanian team in the group stage of the European top flight and both the players and the coach are overwhelmed with joy after this result.

After this huge win, ehfcl.com sat down with Costica Buceschi, Baia Mare’s coach, who explained how difficult the Women’s EHF Champions League is for a team without experience.

ehfCL.com: You were underdogs against both Viborg and Team Tvis Holstebro. How did you manage to win against the Danish sides?

Costica Buceschi: It was very difficult. We knew Viborg had made some transfers and wanted to become one of the best teams in Europe again.

But we weren’t able to find them on tape and prepared the match based on what we knew about them and how they played last year. I thought that an agressive defence or a 5+1 defence should put them in a tough position. And it worked! It was a huge win for us.

Against Holstebro it was easier. We knew how they played and based on what we’ve seen in the first game of the tournament, against Dutch side Sercodak DALFSEN, we managed to win at a big margin.

ehfCL.com: However, the group stage is more difficult. What was the impact of the first two matches on you and your team?

Costica Buceschi: We feel honoured to play in the Champions League’s group stage. But it’s very hard.

It didn’t help that our first match was in Germany against a very good side. We would have wanted a home game at first. We weren’t used to playing against such strong opponents.

Also, we were rookies at this stage and the emotions got the best of us. But we had very good flashes at times and I thought that we were able to play a good game during several stints.

ehfCL.com: Your first two games in the Women’s EHF Champions League Group Matches were two defeats. How did you feel? What did you change in the team?

Costica Buceschi: I won’t lie: it was quite difficult. Let’s put things straight, we weren’t expecting miracles, therefore the defeats weren’t surprising.

But we had a lot of injuries to some key players. Gabriella Szücs and Georgeta Dinis-Virtic didn’t even feature in the first two matches, while Paula Ungureanu and Eliza Buceschi were playing with knocks.

It was very hard for us to keep the rhythm for 60 minutes in these conditions. We are an unexperienced team at this level. However, we managed to make some tweaks in our play and managed to beat Hypo.

ehfCL.com: The game against the Austrian champions was not easy. Baia Mare was down by four goals at half time. What did you tell your players then?

Costica Buceschi: Many of Hypo’s goals were scored after big mistakes from us. We gave them the ball too easily and were too passive in the defence.

I told them to be more focused on the task at hand. And also, that Hypo’s players are no giants. They were as good as my girls. We changed also some things in attack and the win was very rewarding.

ehfCL.com: A loss against Hypo and you would have been eliminated. What is Baia Mare’s objective right now?

Costica Buceschi: Our objective is being third at the end of the group. It’s both a correct and an achievable target. Judging by our experience and our value as a team, we deserve this.

Of course, we would be excited to qualify for the Main Round, but it will be difficult. We need to win in Vienna in order to keep our hopes up. But we also focus on the Romanian championship, a competition we want to win.

ehfCL.com: Do you think that the third place in the group is now achievable?

Costica Buceschi: Of course! We feel very good after our first win and we want to continue our European route. It doesn’t matter if we play in the Champions League or in the Cup Winners’ Cup.

ehfCL.com: Could you highlight one of your players after the first three matches in the group?

Costica Buceschi: I’d like to point out that the whole team has been excellent. Our main strength is the team.

And, let’s not forget, that the superb audience in Baia Mare helped us win the game against Hypo. They were great and we expect the same level in the last home game, against Thüringer HC.

TEXT: Adrian Costeiu / br