Vardar touch up their tacticsArticle
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FEATURE: With less than two weeks left until the MVM EHF FINAL4 throws off in Budapest, Anja Althaus says Vardar have only Buducnost in their mind as they make their final preparations.

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Vardar touch up their tactics

As WHC Vardar SCBT look ahead to the MVM EHF FINAL4 in Budapest, where they will face Buducnost in the semi-final, the modest results achieved at the beginning of the season are a distant memory. 

The slow start to the season forced the Macedonian champions to look for solutions to improve their results, and as they once again qualified for the biggest weekend of the year, it seems they found the winning combination. 

Vardar have had two Danish teams – Team Esbjerg and Copenhagen Handbold – as sparring partners over the last week, then hosted Cup Winners’ Cup finalists and current leaders in the French championship, Fleury Loiret Handball for two matches.

The French team was in Skopje for a few days and while Fleury won the first game, Vardar demonstrated their power in the second match achieving a high-scoring victory of 34:23 (19:11).

“These preparation matches are very important for us. It is very good that we have these teams coming here and helping us to better prepare for the Champions League. We are focusing a lot on the things we do in training, especially in defence. 

“For our energy it was not good that we lost the first game, but we saw which things we needed to improve. In attack we improved ball movement and played our systems better,” said Anja Althaus of the matches against the French side.

Vardar demonstrated their diversity on the court this week, combining impressive goalkeeping performances with strong and compact defence.


Fleury’s Spanish left back, Alexandrina Barbosa, acknowledged Vardar as a quality team composed of many good players.

“I think that Vardar are a very good team. At the beginning of the Champions League they had some problems with a lot of new players that needed to adapt but now I think they are in good form. From what I have seen so far I think they can achieve a good result in the FINAL4.”

Barbosa has some experience against Vardar – when she played for Thüringer HC alongside Althaus last season the German team played Vardar in the EHF Champions League Main Round. 

With less than two weeks before the final campaign in Budapest Althaus reveals what her team will focus on in the upcoming period:

“At this point we focus only on the first game; only Buducnost is in our head. We are going to train very hard and I think that in the remaining period both teams will try to find the tactics needed to win. 

“But right now we leave our opponent and focus only on us, trying to improve those things that are not our strengths. It is also important not to look right or back, but just straight and do the things we have planned.” 

Barbosa has yet to play in the FINAL4, but believes there are advantages to this playing format.


“I played before in the normal Champions League system and I know what it is like to be part of that competition. The FINAL4 tournament is a great idea because everything is happening in one weekend. You have the opportunity to see the other teams playing and get a better idea of your opponents,” said Barbosa, continuing with her favourites to win the title. 

“Buducnost are the favourite this season, but you never know what may happen in the final tournament as all teams must be their best in order to win.”

TEXT: Amina Adrizi / cg