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20.04.2018, 12:35◄ last page     


FEATURE: After a disappointing season in their domestic competitions, Chambery look to the EHF Cup as their chance to achieve some success – but face the tough hurdle that is back-to-back defending champions Göppingen in the quarter-finals.
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Melic and Chambery looking forward to “games of the season”

Chambery’s Montenegrin right wing Fahrudin Melic is quite realistic about his club’s season. Stuck in the lower half of the French league, out of the national cups, Chambery can now rely only on the EHF Cup to win something this season.

Hence, Melic says the two matches against Göppingen are: “the games of the season for us. To go to the finals would mean that we’ve achieved something, because, for now, that’s not exactly the turnout that we’d hoped for.”

There are many reasons for the disappointing results this season: A change of coach mid-season seems an obvious one, with Laurent Busselier stepping in for Croatian Ivica Obrvan. But injuries and, strangely enough for a team that has gathered considerable experience through the years, lack of consistency are also to blame.

For the French side, Europe has been the light in quite a dark season. With six wins, one draw and a single defeat, the record is pretty good, but Melic would have liked something more:

“We wanted to finish first in order to avoid German teams in the quarter-finals. But we have to admit that Granollers played very well against us and that they deserved their first spot.”

“Always great events for handball”

The goal remains the same: qualifying for the finals, two years after the team took part in the same stage in Nantes. Melic was not playing for Chambery at that time, but was in Cologne with Paris Saint-Germain for another kind of FINAL4 – the final weekend of the Champions League.

“These weekends are always great events for handball. Even though I didn’t play much, I really enjoyed Cologne. It was the very top of handball and a great show. And from what I've seen, the EHF Cup Finals are quite an event also,” says Melic.

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But in order to make it to Magdeburg, Chambery will have to pass Frisch Auf Göppingen – the back-to-back defending title holders.

“They’re a team that actually means something in Europe. They’re playing the semi-finals of the EHF Cup every season. They’re a really good team. We might look like the underdogs, but we haven’t lost the confrontation just yet!” Melic says before the first leg on Sunday.

The French side will definitely need their top scorer to be at his best come this weekend, but according to Melic, it is not only the team on court that will make the difference:

“We know how important the fans are in this kind of face-off. At home, we already played very well against big teams this season, and I hope the atmosphere can help us again this time.”

And if you ask the right wing what he thinks would be a good result: “A win, no matter by how much – but going to Germany with an advantage would definitely be a good thing.”


TEXT: Kevin Domas / cg

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