Coaching legends congregateArticle
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FACE TO FACE: Two masterminds of contemporary women’s handball meet up in Baia Mare, where the Romanian champions of Tone Tiselj take on Ambros Martin’s Györ.

Coaching legends congregate

There are not too many coaches in women’s handball who have two EHF Champions League trophies under their belts but the second round of the main round will bring two of this rare type together. Ambros Martin, head coach of defending champions Györ and Tone Tiselj, Baia Mare’s coach.

A different approach

Tone Tiselj was HCM Baia Mare’s surprise appointment in the head coach position, after the Romanian champions replaced former coach, Costica Buceschi. The Slovenian, who won two Women’s EHF Champions League trophies, started with a win in Sävehof, but the second match is more difficult, as Baia Mare must face Hungarian powerhouse, Györi Audi ETO KC.

“I have come to Baia Mare, because I had a connection with Romanian handball. I played against huge players, like Cristian Gatu or Radu Voina and I coached Luminita Hutupan-Dinu and Simona Gogarla. It felt like the right time, I took a break, but now I feel rejuvenated and I am ready to focus on my task at hand,” Tiselj explained.

Ambros Martin is not a newcomer in Györ but the Spaniard is having the most difficult period of his tenure with the defending champions. “Of course it is never a pleasure to lose at home but there were a lot of positive things we can build on. Considering the number of players we have been missing we put up a fight against one of the best teams in the world so I must say I am satisfied," Martin told after Györ’s first defeat of the season against Larvik.

One result does not matter

The Slovenian coach was particularly happy to see Baia Mare earn its first win in the main round, but his plan is for the long haul: “We have won against Savehof, it’s a result that helps us, but I am more interested in the long run, we have to build a good team here, I’m not a one-result man.”

Martin also believes that one result does not mean anything as far as a team’s ambitions are concerned. “We have not changed our goals. Why should we? Larvik played an excellent game, in the first half they had an almost flawless 30 minute run but we climbed back in the second. I drew the conclusions but all I can say is that despite of the defeat I was more than happy to see my team play like that.”

Huge clash coming up

Martin knows how hard it is going to be to beat Baia Mare but claims Győr still want to win all matches. “A truly big team with a great coach will put us to a massive test, which would have been hard to pass even if we did not have such a long line of sidelined players. We are working hard and focusing on what is ahead, not the past.”

“I think Győr is the best team in Europe. They really put on a dream team this season, one of the best teams ever, which would have been a great rival to powerhouses like Viborg HK and Slagelse DH in the last decade,” said Tiselj.

“However, they have some injuries and some pregnancies, which will help us. It’s difficult to say how we can beat them. I think we need our best game and they will have to make some mistakes. A loss against Larvik was not on their plans and I think they will come with all the guns firing”, added Baia Mare’s coach.

Martin knows what it will take from his team to beat Baia Mare. “We have to remain focused all the way, we cannot afford to lose focus just like we did against Larvik in the endgame. And we also have to believe in ourselves, that is the most important thing.”

Two masterminds of women’s handball

The clash between the Romanian and the Hungarian champions will also mark a clash between two coaches that have one the European top flight’s trophy twice. But Tiselj insists that there will be nothing but respect between himself and Martin Ambros: “He is an excellent coach, with a proven track record both in Spain and in Hungary. His results speak for themselves, it’s very hard to win back-to-back the Women’s EHF Champions League.”

“Of course we know each other very well. His results speak volumes about how great a coach he is: a two-time Champions League winner and that says it all," said Martin about Tiselj. “I really like the way his teams play, no doubt he is one of the masterminds of the contemporary game.”

Tiselj was also praising Györ’s strategy and patience: “It did not matter for them that they lost several semi-finals before winning their first title. They stayed true to their purpose and values and that brought wins. We are trying to do the same here in Baia Mare and I hope we can achieve our objectives”.

TEXT: Bence Martha, Adrian Costeiu / br