Raul Gonzalez faces his future club in his last match as Vardar coachArticle
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3/4 PLACEMENT MATCH PREVIEW: On Sunday, the 2017 finalists will play earlier than expected, in a farewell match for many players and both coaches
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Raul Gonzalez faces his future club in his last match as Vardar coach

They were the favourites to make it to the trophy match, but after losing their respective VELUX EHF Champions League 2017/18 Semi-finals, HC Vardar and Paris Saint-Germain Handball will meet to decide third position in LANXESS arena on Sunday.

• Uwe Gensheimer (PSG) can become Champions League top scorer for the third time
• Paris have already played a 3/4 placement match in Cologne, beating Kiel in 2016
• PSG left back Daniel Narcisse will finish his international career with this match
• The last duel between these sides was the 2017 final, won 24:23 by Vardar

Paris Saint-Germain Handball (FRA) vs HC Vardar (MKD)
Sunday 27 May, 15:15 local time, live on ehfTV.com

Half of the Vardar team, many PSG players and both coaches will take the court for their last international matches with their current clubs when the 2017 finalists duel for third position at the VELUX EHF FINAL4 2018. Next season, current Vardar coach Raul Gonzalez will take over Sunday’s opponents PSG as successor of outgoing Noka Serdarusic.

Both coaches missed their major goal to make it to the final, as Vardar were defeated 27:28 by Montpellier, while PSG lost 28:32 against Nantes. “We have to focus on a new opponent, we have to forget the semi-final,” said PSG coach Serdarusic.

“Not to play the final is not good for the team and for the whole situation in our club,” said Vardar goalkeeper Strahinja Milic. Players such as Arpad Sterbik (moving to Veszprém), Luka Cindric (Kielce), Joan Canellas (Szeged), Mijajlo Marsenic (Berlin) and Ilija Abutovic (Rhein-Neckar Löwen) will play their farewell match in the Vardar jersey.

On the other hand, two-time Champions League winner and multiple world, European and Olympic champion Daniel Narcisse will end his career after the placement match. Others, such as Jesper Nielsen (Löwen), will leave the club without winning the trophy.

PSG left wing Uwe Gensheimer needs to score only one more goal to become the VELUX EHF Champions League 2017/18 top scorer for the third time after 2011 and 2017, as he is currently equal with Skjern’s Markus Olsson on 88.

On the other hand, Vardar right wing Ivan Cupic missed the chance to become the first player since members of Barcelona’s golden generation (in 2000) to win the Champions League three years in a row. “We have to rest and re-focus on PSG now,” Cupic said, while goalkeeper Sterbik added: “It is always the goal to end a season with a positive result, so we will try everything to beat Paris.”

Photo: EHF / Heimken, Hocevar, Lämmerhirt, Stadler

TEXT: Björn Pazen / cg