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06.05.2010, 10:30◄ last page     

FC Barcelona Borges coach Xavi Pascual is dreaming of the final at the EHF FINAL4.

"Total respect for Chekhov"

After the last official draw of the season, the draw for the semi-finals of the Men’s EHF Champions League, to be played at the EHF FINAL4 in Cologne (GER), FC Barcelona Borges coach Xavi Pascual expressed his opinions.

On the official Barcelona web site Pascual talked about their upcoming opponent Chekhovskie Medvedi from Russia. The Spanish team does not feel unlucky over the draw result, but Pascual is fully aware of the good form and the high-quality players that Russian club has.

Barcelona’s coach explained that Chekhov is not the easiest rival, as it is the most unknown for the fans: "We know almost everything about Ciudad Real and THW Kiel. But that is not relevant; we have to know who Chekhov is. A lot of handball fans do not know too much about them and have the misconception that it might be easy. But we must have total respect for Chekhovskie Medvedi."

Pascual’s opinion is underlined by the Russian victory over Montpellier HB in the Quarterfinals: "They are an excellent team, that at any time knows exactly what to do. Their game play might be very repetitive, as they always try to do three or four things only, but they accomplish those very well."

Also their defensive system is seen as crucial by Pascual: "The 5-1 defense with left winger Dibirov at the top, can create problems to move the ball for attacking teams. It will be very difficult because there are very unique and skilled."

The fact that the EHF FINAL4 is being carried out in Cologne is seen as a possible advantage for German club THW Kiel in Spain. But Pascual is not convinced: "Kiel has this advantage, but that does not give them a single scored goal. For us the location is not important. If we manage to reach our first objective – a victory in the semis – we can be able to reach the next one, too."

TEXT: Fernando Urra Goñi

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