"If you want to succeed, you need two perfect games"Article
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INTERVIEW: ehfcl.com talked to FC Barcelona’s back court ace Kiril Lazarov ahead of the VELUX EHF FINAL4 and the semi-final against SG Flensburg-Handewitt

»EHF CL Channel »2013-14 Men's News

"If you want to succeed, you need two perfect games"

Twice, in 2006 and in 2008, Kiril Lazarov was the top scorer of the EHF Champions League. Once, in 2012 with Atletico Madrid, he made it to the EHF Champions League Final but eventually lost to THW Kiel.

The all-time to scorer of EHF Euro events (61 goals in 2012 at Serbia) and World Championships (92 goals in 2009 at Croatia) has never won an international title on club level, but this year the Macedonian is confident that the time has come, as he arrives in Cologne, wearing his No.77 jersey in the FC Barcelona colours.

With Atletico Madrid you already played at Cologne. What is different this time that you come to the event with FC Barcelona?
Kiril Lazarov: I was part of the FINAL4 twice and this experience will help me to play even better this year. I’m so happy to be back to Cologne again.

For the semi-final Flensburg are said not to have such strong shooters as you have in the back court line. Is this an advantage for your team?
Kiril Lazarov:  I don’t agree! All German teams have good shooters in their squads. So we have no such advantage as both sides are on the same level in all departments. I have a lot of respect for Flensburg. During the last two, three years they are consistently showing their abilities in all competitions.

They are fighting for the titles in the Bundesliga and the Champions League. And I really have to say that their coach, Ljubomir Vranjes, is doing a great job.

Barcelona only narrowly beat Rhein-Neckar Löwen over two matches in the quarter-final. Is having only one match in the semi-finals and potentially the final at the VELUX EHF FINAL4 an advantage or a disadvantage for your team?
Kiril Lazarov: I prefer to play two matches, because thanks to this playing system we made it to the FINAL4 in Cologne. To have one game in Germany against a German team can be very difficult, as then the venue means a big advantage for our opponent.

And in order to eventually lift the trophy you need two perfect days.

Comparing the Löwen to Flensburg: Which team is stronger?
Kiril Lazarov: Simple answer: Flensburg made it to Cologne, so they deserve to be there.

Will some Macedonian fans come to support you and your team?
Kiril Lazarov:  I know that some friends will come to Cologne. Handball is very important in my country, and the level of performance has increased rapidly, proven by the fact that two teams – Vardar and Metalurg – were very close to the final destination Cologne in the Champions League.

What is FC Barcelona’s most important strength this season?
Kiril Lazarov:  It’s simply the team - and some great players with a lot of experience. We played very well during this season but I guess we did not show all our potential yet. But, again, to be successful at the FINAL4 you need two perfect games.

In 2012 you made it to the final with Atletico Madrid, but lost to THW Kiel. Do you think there is a chance to take personal revenge on THW?
Kiril Lazarov: An event like the FINAL4 is something very special by itself, so for me there are absolutely no thoughts about taking any revenge. The only task is to focus on two matches in 24 hours.

You are known for being a ‘goal machine’, how decisive will your goals be in Cologne?
Kiril Lazarov:  I don’t care about my goals. The only importance and significance is the team. Personally it is a gift to be back at Cologne, so I will try to work and train harder every day to play better in every match. No thoughts about goals!

Which headline do you want to read on June 2 in the Spanish sports newspapers?
Kiril Lazarov:  I don’t want to think about things like this before the tournament has started.

TEXT: Björn Pazen / ts