Montpellier's Kavticnik has erased bad memories from 2010
To say that Montpellier HB have their back against the wall before hosting Chekhovskie Medvedi in Group C on Saturday is an understatement. After two losses against La Rioja and Elverum, the French side have to win this weekend at home.
With only two points so far, a third loss would reduce the chances for coach Patrice Canayer’s team to qualify for the Last 16 of the VELUX EHF Champions League, their main goal for the competition.
"We lost these two games by one goal and for sure we have to win the next one," says Vid Kavticnik, admitting the mood was not the happiest at the end of last weekend.
"Nobody shouted but we had a conversation on our way back from Norway. We know what we can and can not do. These defeats were not planned on our schedule. Now we have to make up for them."
Controlling the pace of the game
Despite massively improving their roster this summer by adding right back Valentin Porte and goalkeeper Nikola Portner, the team have yet to find their feet on the court.
Too much inconsistency within each match have prevented Montpellier from controlling the pace of the game. Time will help settle everything, but time is scarce.
"Not everything has to be thrown into the bin. We saw some good things this week in the league game we won in Aix," Kavticnik says.
In fact, this league match was probably the best Montpellier have played since the beginning of the season, with Vincent Gerard on top form between the posts and Kavticnik scoring five goals and ending up best scorer in the 31:22 win.
"This is the way we must play every time. We gave 100 percent and took control of the game right from the beginning," the left-handed Slovenian says. "And if we control the game from the beginning against Chekhov, chances are good that we will win it as well."
Two Montpellier players left from 2010
Meeting Chekhov in the René Bougnol Arena will be something special for Kavticnik. He is one of two players, alongside Michael Guigou, who suffered a bitter loss against the Russian side in 2010.
After winning 32:27 at home to compensate for the 32:27 defeat in Russia three days earlier, Montpellier lost the penalty shoot-out to decide which team would go to Cologne for the EHF FINAL4.
"It is a bad memory, that is for sure," Kavticnik recalls, who himself could not play these matches because of injury.
"It took us a while to recover from it. But much water has flowed under the bridge and the two teams are very different. Chekhov have changed a lot, apart from one or two players, no one knows this episode."
In fact, three players from the current Chekhovskie quad were involved in that match six years ago: Goalkeeper Oleg Grams, who saved the decisive penalty, captain Dmitry Kovalev and line player Alexander Chernoivanov.
But even if he obviously remembers it all, Kavticnik is convinced that Saturday's game will not have much in common with the previous encounters.
"This will be a lot different. In our team, no one will be thinking of Cologne, only of taking the two points."