Stars collide in Veszprem as Ilic takes on LandinArticle
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FACE TO FACE: Last season's top scorer and All-Star Team goalkeeper are both ready for another encounter on Saturday night.

Stars collide in Veszprem as Ilic takes on Landin

When MKB-MVM Veszprém and Rhein-Neckar Löwen meet in Group C of the VELUX EHF Champions League Saturday night, it will not only be a remake of their extremely close encounters in the group phase last season, when Veszprém won by one goal at home, while the match in the SAP Arena in Mannheim ended in a draw.

It will also be another meeting between two of the greatest current stars - the top scorer from last season, Momir Ilic and the goalkeeper of last season, Niklas Landin.

In the two meetings between the teams last season, the Serbian sniper got the better of Landin, scoring 20 goals in the two group matches against Rhein-Neckar Löwen, 11 in one and nine in the other.

Although Ilic had a lot of success against his Danish adversary, Ilic has a lot of respect for Landin ahead of their new meeting Saturday night, though.

“Landin a complete player on his way to greatness. He is capable of making unbelievable saves and demoralise opponents with his crucial interventions. Last year I was lucky to get past him a couple of  times when Veszprém met Löwen but in the 2012 EHF EURO final Landin emerged as winner in our duell,” says the Serbian international, referring to the final of the EHF EURO 2012 final in Belgrade when Denmark defeated Serbia 21:19 in a match, in which Ilic was only able to score twice on Landin.

“Yes, when it comes to the national team meetings, I have always had good experiences with him, but that was before he joined Veszprém. After he has joined them, I think he has improved a lot. He is an extremely intelligent player who is particularly good at reading the way the defence stands and the way the goalkeeper stands and make his decisions based on that. That separates him from many other shooter, and I only hope I can stand a bit better against him than I did last season,” Niklas Landin tells

Potentially deciding duel

Both players realise that the duel between them may become deciding for the outcome of the encounter in the Veszprém Arena, and despite his success against Rhein-Neckar Löwen, Momir Ilic is absolutely not sure that things will be as easy for him against Landin as they were last year.

“I know Landin has a lot of strengths, his fast reactions being the most important of them, but I cannot recall any weakness worth mentioning. He is already one of the best goalkeepers in the world and he is only 25.

“I usually don’t focus my preparation on the goalkeeper of our opponent, but I know most goalies do analyse where shooters like to aim. After all I have the ball in my hand so I have a slight advantage over goalkeepers,” smiles Ilic.

Landin, on the other hand, realises that he alone cannot stop Ilic.

“We will have to decide how much forward we should move our defence in order to stop him, but the start will be important. If he is successful with his first three or four first shots, we may have problems with him,” says the Danish international.

Follow the Match of the Week live on on Saturday, 21:00 hrs local time

TEXT: Peter Bruun, Bence Martha / br