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26.03.2010, 16:10◄ last page     

Zlatko Horvat returns just in time for the match against Barcelona.

The captain is back

Good news for Croatia Osiguranje Zagreb: After six long months recuperating from a knee injury, left winger Zlatko Horvat is ready for his comeback.

"I have been missing handball very much during my convalescence period. It wasn’t easy but I am back now and I can’t wait for the first match to start."

Horvat is aware of Barcelona’s strength, but knows how he would like Zagreb to play: "Full speed from the very beginning. With a maximum of concentration and great fighting spirit over the entire match we can do it."

Catalonian handballing nemesis

The two rivals have a long history in the Champions League, and the Croatian champions never managed to win over their bogey team Barcelona. Their most memorable confrontations were about eleven years ago, as they faced each other in the 1997, 1998 and 1999 Champions League finals. The Catalonians won the trophy all three times.

But Barcelona have never played in the Zagreb Arena which holds the attendance record for this Champions League season. The games against Ciudad Real and HSV were watched by 15,000 spectators. That is also the expected amount for the upcoming match.

The Croatians hope that their new coach Nenad Kljaić and the new hall this time will provide better luck against the Spanish team.

Barcelona in top form

Last weekend Barcelona won the final tournament of the "Copa del Rey". It was their 17th Spanish cup trophy. At the same time it was already the fourth title for the Spanish top team this season.

On Wednesday Barcelona convincingly defeated Antequera with a ten goals difference in the Asobal league. This assures that Xavi Pascual’s team will arrive in Zagreb with a great amount of self-confidence.

The clash on Saturday between the Croatian and the Spanish top team starts at 18:00 (CET). Watch it live on ehfTV.com!

TEXT: Ivan Ambroš

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