|16.02.2011, 12:00||◄ last page|
Chekhov are qualified for the Last 16, but left wing Timur Dibirov aims at the VELUX EHF FINAL4.
Dibirov: "Hungry for European handball"
The city of Chekhov is regarded as a handball capitol and the base of men’s handball in Russia. The local team of Medvedi is coached by the legendary Vladimir Maximov, who is also head coach of the national team.
Last season 'The Bears' surprised the handball world by qualifying for the EHF FINAL4, this season, the Russians are aiming for Cologne once again.
Despite offers from HSV Hamburg, F.C. Barcelona-Borges, and Ademar Leon, Chekhov’s classy Timur Dibirov has recently extended his contract with Maximov’s team by 2 years, until the summer of 2013.
The 27-year old left winger talked to ehfCL.com about the team’s preparation and the upcoming match against the Danish opponents AaB Handball.
ehfCL.com: What is the condition of the team before heading to Denmark for the match against Aalborg?
Timur Dibirov: Everybody is in a good shape. We had a lengthy period of preparation for the VELUX EHF Men’s Champions League restart. The best Russian players from Chekhov missed the World Championship, but we could check our form level in the games of the Russian league.
ehfCL.com: The last CL game took place two months ago in early December 2010. Will the team be able to play at full speed at the weekend?
Timur Dibirov: The upcoming game will show, but I’m 100% sure that we are ready to play at full speed. The team is looking physically strong after some of the well-known training camps of our coach, Vladimir Maximov.
We had two short series of 3-times-a-day trainings. It reminded of last season, when the national team collapsed at the EHF EURO 2010, but after that, Chekhovskie Medvedi reached the EHF FINAL4.
ehfCL.com: Where and how did you spend January? Were you at a training camp or did you prepared in Chekhov?
Timur Dibirov: Just before the new year we played a friendly match against the national team of Serbia. The whole month of January was spent in the training camp of the Russian national team in the Moscow region. The most important point was to work on our physical condition.
In the Russian league we played 5 games and only once we didn’t reach the mark of 50 goals. Now we are very hungry for handball of European standard.
ehfCL.com: Russia didn’t play at the World Championship in Sweden. Do you see it as an advantage or a disadvantage from the club point of view?
Timur Dibirov: It was a big loss for Russian handball that we missed the World Championship for the first time ever. However, we at Medvedi had a lot of time to rethink our attitude and to get ready for the forthcoming matches of the VELUX EHF Men’s Champions League and the EHF EURO 2012 qualification in March.
ehfCL.com: Five players of AaB Handball took part in the World Championship 2011. Who was the best among them?
Timur Dibirov: In the first matches Danish right-back Mads Christiansen played good, but in the end phase of the major tournament he didn’t play too much.
Jonas Erik Larholm had a very strong and stable tournament with the Swedish national team. Kristian Kjelling is a world-class back player from Norway, but Medvedi managed to stop him at Chekhov in our Group Phase opener and I hope we’ll do the same in Aalborg.
ehfCL.com: Your opponents are at the bottom of the table, whilst you’re leading the group. Will it be an easy game, a walk-over?
Timur Dibirov: It's no good looking at the table before this game. At home, AaB Handball have always performed much better than away. The Danish league is a tremendous competition with many very strong teams. We have very important points at stake and we can’t afford lose even one of them due to complacency.
ehfCL.com: One of your team-mates recently underwent surgery, how is he doing?
Timur Dibirov: Our back court leader Alexey Rastvortsev had an operation on a metatarsal bone in early December, but he’s working with the team again and has already played in the Russian championship. So the team is ready to reach the first target of this year’s VELUX EHF CL campaign – first place in Group C.
VELUX EHF Men’s Champions League, Group Phase, Round 8
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TEXT: Márk Hegedüs / Шмельков Артем Александрович