Seven teams head into round 3 unbeaten
Seven teams in the group phase of the Machineseeker EHF Champions League have started their season with the perfect two wins from two games. The four teams with back-to-back wins in group B will meet each other this week in round 3, which is highlighted by the Match of the Week between Industria Kielce and Paris Saint-Germain Handball on Wednesday at 18:45 CEST.
It will be a big game against a big team. We are fully prepared for this and hope for good performance. We will play in front of our fans again and we want to achieve our first win at home this season in the EHF Champions League. For me, Nikola Karabatić is the best player of all time. This guy has won everything. I had the opportunity to play with him and
for me he is the best. This season is his last, so he will give his everything in every game. We have to be careful, because Paris has a lot of weapons. Every position is strong in this team. I think we have to play our handball and do our best. Especially stay focused on ourselves and be confident all the time. If we do that, we can beat anyone.
We have analysed Kiel's matches, they prefer modern handball and dynamic play. My team need to play patiently in attack and with that we will prevent their quick game. Eurofarm Pelister will only grow, we won two games from the Superleague and they were a good sign for us.
It will be a really heated atmosphere. We have to focus on our game and do what we set out to do. We shouldn't get too irritated by what's happening in the stands. After the two defeats Pelister is even more dangerous, they will try with all means to beat us. Pelister is a stumbling block for every team and we don't want to be the first to stumble over it.
We have to bring a lot of speed into the game, like we did against Pelister and Kielce, and really challenge them on that. And at the same time stand together in the defence, not giving away too many easy goals. Then I think we will take the two points with us back home.
We've got a game against a top-class opponent coming up. Looking at their roster, you feel like you're playing the Norwegian national team - they have a really good roster that knows how to run the court extremely well. That is exactly one of the aspects of the game in which we'll have to perform much better than we did against PSG, if we want to achieve a good result in the end of course. They have a solid number of exceptional players like Sagosen, Bergerud and Johanessen, while Rod's injury appears to be a certain problem for them at this point. I feel like their rotation is, on the other hand, not as long and that is exactly where I see our chance in this game. As the game goes, their fatigue might end up playing an important factor, and that's when we'll try to capitalise.
"No question, we want to get our first points in the Champions League on Wednesday. Celje has a young talented team, but we hope for many spectators in GETEC Arena and two points."
SC Magdeburg is a top team, current European champion. Maybe they are in a bit of "points crisis", losing against Veszprem and Barcelona, so they will really need points against us. Overall, they are playing attractive handball, one of the most beautiful in Europe, so they will overturn their result curve. On us is to show again that our young team belongs between these giants. We were really close in first two matches to get points, but missing experience hit us hard. So will will work on that.
It's going to be a great game on Thursday. I hope our hall is full and the fans are in for support. It's a special day, FC Porto's 130th anniversary and we hope to finish with a win. There's no small games in Machineseeker EHF Champions League, so we can hope to be good and better than Barcelona, at least we've working on that. We've been putting our hearts out everyday to be better every game!
All Champions League games are complicated and playing away from home even more. We have started on the right foot but each game is a story and we cannot relax.
They have four points, like us. In these two games there have been times in which they have been losing with a clear adverse score and they have been able to come back. That says a lot in their favour. We have to continue building our game based on defence, continue going out on the counterattack, being intelligent and also dominating the positional attack.
We have had a really good start to this year's EHF Champions League with two wins in two matches, and we hope to continue that trend against Veszprem, even though they might be favourites on paper.
Last year we also met twice in the group stage, where both clubs won close matches away from home, and it is obvious that we hope to repeat or better the success this year.
Veszprem is well equipped in all places, but we are ready for the task, and I am convinced that the spectators in Odense - and in front of the TV - can look forward to a close match with watchable handball.
GOG have a very good team, there's no doubt about it, and they are one of the best when it comes to fast breaks. Of course, this requires good performance from their goalkeepers, which can give them a significant advantage. That's why it's vital for our attack to function well and for us to capitalize on most of our opportunities. In order to help ourselves to transition back, we need to score – it's that simple. We must minimize our mistakes. Capitalizing on mistakes and fast breaks are GOG's biggest strengths. We saw their match against Kolding and their two victories in the EHF Champions League, so we are facing a team that has been dominant and very confident so far. That's precisely why we need to take this match very seriously.
We have a lot of experience as a club in the Champions League but we have a young team with players who still have everything to prove in this competition. Our level at the moment is not good enough to compete with teams like Barcelona and Veszprém, but that doesn’t mean that we won’t be at their level in three months’ time.
This week we are playing against a historical club in the EHF Champions League that is Montpellier Handball. They showed in Veszprem what they are capable of by playing a fantastic match and almost winning it on the incredibly difficult terrain that is the Veszprém Aréna. We expect a tough encounter against such an experienced and great club, but we will try to do our best and get there our first points of the season.