In-form Janc urges 'no surrender'Article
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FEATURE: A superb season for Blaz Janc is entering crunch time, as the in-form youngster claims ‘there will be no surrendering' in the fight for Celje's Last 16 berth

In-form Janc urges 'no surrender'

From a promising youngster to taking the leader's baton at RK Celje Pivovarna Lasko, Blaz Janc has become one of the first names on Branko Tamse's team sheet of late.

The Celje starlet is enjoying life at his boyhood club, nurturing his untapped potential while surpassing even the most optimistic expectations with his performances this season. 

The 19-year old has topped his exceptional 2014/15 campaign, leading the club’s VELUX EHF Champions League score charts in the current season with 56 goals scored.

“I am extremely happy at Celje, and it may well be one of the reasons behind my good performances,” said Janc.

“I feel very confident, and have the full backing of my teammates to do well. I thrive on being one of the leaders of this team, without feeling any pressure. 

“We [the players] have adapted excellently to our coach’s system, working well. The focal point is to help the team do well,” said the youngster.

However, with five points in the bag in Group A and two more games to decide their fate, we certainly have not seen the last of Janc, as Celje’s enthusiastic bunch approach zero hour in their bid to secure a Last 16 berth.

100 more wins to come

Reckless as the youth are, the masterful youngster was quite unaware of just how important their Round 11 31:26 win against Orlen Wisla Plock was. 

His eight-goal performance was essential for securing the crucial two points, but the game was also a milestone achievement for Celje, who celebrated their 100th win in the VELUX EHF Champions League with the victory. 

“To be honest, I wasn’t aware of that [100th win in the VELUX EHF Champions League]. But it was nonetheless an important occasion, and a nice record to go along with it. I would like to congratulate the club on this achievement,” said the talented teenager.

“It gives me a huge sense of pride, being at a big, successful club like Celje. It is a great honour for me as a young player to be part of club’s rich history.” 

Celje have an illustrious history in Europe’s elite competition, having made it all the way to lifting the elusive trophy in 2004. 

However, playing their landmark 19th season among the continent’s finest, the team must be striving to mark the occasion. 

“The odds are on our side”

The current season has shown many positives of this Celje team, underlined by their wins. However, a draw against THW Kiel (23:23), as well as an inspired performance against Flensburg – playing neck-and-neck for 50 minutes, before eventually succumbing to unfortunate defeat – have also drawn attention. 

The penultimate round visit to Zagreb (27 February), followed by the home fixture against Besiktas (5 March), will reflect how Celje’s success in this season’s VELUX EHF Champions League has developed the squad, but the big question is: how far can this immensely talented team go?

“I am satisfied with the way the season has unfolded. I think we have made some good progress as a team, and I am personally feeling more confident – but we all must always strive to do better.

“I feel we’re on a good path. We are preparing for Zagreb and Besiktas just as we would for any other match. 

“What I know for sure is, the odds are still on our side. We will fight, believing we can make it, until the very last minute ends,” says Janc confidently.

Approaching their decisive group phase matches, Celje must be itching to set the record straight with Zagreb, having lost only narrowly (20:21) at home following the last-gasp winner from Stanko Sabljic, after Janc brought Celje to the brink of victory only two minutes prior. 

“We are very much aware of what awaits us in Zagreb, but also later at home against Besiktas. However, we are a battling bunch, and are no strangers to fighting until the very end.

“I don’t know how far we can go this season, but I underline – there will be no surrendering from our side. We will see how far it takes us in the end,” concluded Janc.

TEXT: Nemanja Savic / cg