Truchanovicius on brink of EHF FINAL4 historyArticle
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FEATURE: If Montpellier get past Flensburg-Handewitt in the quarter-final, the left back will become the first ever player from Lithuania to make it to the event in Cologne
»2017-18 Men's News

Truchanovicius on brink of EHF FINAL4 history

Ask Jonas Truchanovicius, Montpellier's left back, how many of his Lituanian compatriots have ever been to the VELUX EHF FINAL4 in Cologne, and he will give the answer in a millisecond: “None.”

At 24, Truchanovicius could be the first to make it. And this single thought makes him feel, well, a little bit awkward.

“It is kind of bizarre for me. For sure, I want to be the first Lithuanian to go there,” he says in fluent French after nearly two seasons with Montpellier. “But, you know, Cologne is like a kid’s dream for me. Going there is one of the boxes I want to tick during my handball career, and to think that we have got the opportunity to do it is just nuts.”

But on the other hand, he says, “we deserve to be in that position, both individually and collectively. We have put so much work into everything we have done so far, we haven't stolen anything from anyone.”

Montpellier not discussing FINAL4 yet

Although Truchanovicius talks about Cologne on request by, he assures that this is not the topic Montpellier players are discussing yet.

“We don't talk about it. We know we have to beat Flensburg first,” he says. “And we have so many important games at the moment, in the Champions League and in the French league, that we can't focus on something that is one month away and that we haven't even qualified for yet.”

Last week Montpellier drew with Flensburg 28:28 in the first leg of the VELUX EHF Champions League Quarter-final. In the decisive second leg (Sunday at 19:00 hrs, live on, a one-goal win would book them tickets to the LANXESS arena.

“If think the draw was a good result. It is never easy to play in Flensburg. We have got our fate in our hands, all we have to do is win on Sunday,” says the 24-years-old left back, adding “it is really a fifty-fifty affair.”

Learnt from elimination by Veszprém

Montpellier just missed out on their maiden trip to Cologne last season, but Truchanovicius is confident that Montpellier have learnt from their elimination by Veszprém.

“We definitely gained some experience from it. We saw how the Veszprém players didn't panic, even though we were pushing them to the edge,” he says. “We understand at which level we have to play in order to make it through.”

Montpellier showed exactly that required level in the Last 16, when they got the better of Barcelona.

Now the French side find themselves with 60 minutes to make their dreams come true.

“There is pressure but this is the kind of things that we, handball players, live for. To think that we have to win everything until the end of the season, in domestic and continental competitions alike, is very exciting,” says Truchanovicius, who after Sunday’s match will still know right away how many Lithuanians have ever played at the VELUX EHF FINAL4.

Photos: EHF/Benjamin Nolte

TEXT: Kevin Domas / ew