We visited Turkey’s representative at Velux EHF Champions’ League at their training and talked to assistant coach İlker Şentürk as well as the stars Ivan Nincevic, Ramazan Döne and Tolga Özbahar to find out what they think about the upcoming match against RK Zagreb on Saturday.
AYCAN AY/ HENTBOLHABER.NET –What do you think about the performance of Besiktas Mogaz at the VELUX EHF champions league? Do you think, that there’s a difference between last season’s and this season’s Besiktas?
İlker Şentürk: We are not satisfied with our performance yet. There was a couple of matches that we could win. We played one match after the other against strong teams, but we are more experienced now and we want to win against Zagreb.
Ramazan Döne: First of all, our group is more difficult than last year. But we are accumulating match experience Which leps us improve our game. We want to have our first win on saturday. We are a better team this year and our new friends are getting over their adaptation problems. I’m sure we are going to be better in a short time.
Tolga Özbahar: Since last year was our first time in VELUX EHF Champions League, we were more motivated. Now we are motivated too, of course, but we have a new team, and everyone tries to adapt to the new environment. Except for the first two games, we have been playing better but this year, but Group A is really more difficult. The strongest teams, maybe the ones, that played the Final Four in last three or four years, are in our group. but we want to win this weekend.
Ivan Nincevic: First of all, we have a very hard group. This is the fact number one because we play against five or six teams, which are the best teams of Europe now together with Barcelona in the other group. And it is really difficult when you play against so strong teams and you want to fight good. Yes we fight, but that’s not enough. What is not good this year is also that we have lots of injured players. At any given time somebody is injured, David Rasic, me , Tolga, now Kocic… I think, we didn’t make so good in this part of champions league because every time somebody is missing.
We watched Besiktas fighting well against teams like RK Celje Pivovarna Lasko, Sg Flensburg Handewitt and Thw Kiel. The score was even for Besiktas’ favor until the middle of the second half in Celje match. But then the match was lost. What’s your comment about that?
Tolga Özbahar: We played against a young and dynamic team. Since lots of our players were injured, we had a rotation problem in Celje game. That’s why our team was tired in last minutes of the game. I believe, that if we didn’t have six injured players, we could have won against Celje.
Ramazan Döne: We were not that experienced, I can say. We played last year at the Champions League too but since it was the first match of this year, it was difficult for us. We made easy mistakes; new players were trying to adaptate. But we began playing better in matches after that. The teams we play against are too strong, and it’s difficult to fight against them, but we try to do our best.
Ivan Nincevic: These are the best teams in the world, they have maybe like fourteen-fifteen players,who they can use in match. We have a good young team, we have seven or eight players, who play every time. Of course when you play such tough games against such strong teams, sometimes you can fall a little bit down. This is the point where having a strong squad makes the difference. Those teams put new players in when the other ones are tired, but we play all the time with same players, and of course in such tough games this is not good for us.
Do you believe that the team can benefit from their Champions League experiences for Turkish Super League? What was the thing, the team did good and bad?
İlker Şentürk: As an improvement we are now more experienced than last year. But the down side to it is that priotirizing the Champions League is making the Turkish Super League matches harder for us.
Ramazan Döne: Even if in some matches we couldn’t show it on scoreboard, we benefit from the Champions League experience. We lost a match in Ankara after coming back from a Champions League away game. We were tired, made easy mistakes but we began getting over it. We want to play better matches without making the mistakes we did before. We try to take Beşiktaş to the best level we can reach in champions league but at the same time our actual goal is winning every cup in Turkey.
Tolga Özbahar: Champions League makes us really tired as we play now a match every two or three days. We had to give our everything for Champions League, because the teams we are playing against are so strong. I believe, that after January/February our Champions League experience will take us to the highest level in the domestic competition.
Ivan Nincevic: Of course, I don’t think that we need to be concerned of the Turkish Super League. We have a very good team with lots of good players. I think, that we need to continue fighting of course in the Turkish League and win every match in Turkey.
Besiktas has the Zagreb match on Saturday and Zagreb’s defence can be sometimes really tough. What is your prediction about how the match is going to be?
Ramazan Döne: It’s going to be a difficult game. Bu we are good and tough in defense,too. What’s espacially important is that you shouldn’t be playing like fighting and you should keep playing within fair play rules.
Tolga Özbahar: We have to adapt to their toughness, becacuse we play home. The team is young, dynamic and plays tough, but we have to play tougher, otherwise we would lose fast. We have injured players but of course we’re going to try to do our best despite of this situtation. This is a match that we believe we can win.
Ivan Nincevic: Zagreb plays really really nice this year, really incredible. They have young players as well as a couple of experienced ones. It has been a long time, since i haven’t seen a team that fights like this and plays like this with lots of emotion. I think they’re the favourites of this game but we need to fight, we have to give everything we can.
İlker Şentürk: We are going to play tough,too. We have to make them give up against the power of our defense. We made some strategies according to some of their mistakes.
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