EHF European League Qualifiers: NEXE against Bjerringbro - To Be or Not To Be?

By 27 September 2021
EHF European League Qualifiers: NEXE against Bjerringbro - To Be or Not To Be?
Slobodan Kadic

September 27, 2021 - It will be NEXE against Bjerringbro in the second match of the second round of the EHF European League qualifiers in Našice on Tuesday. 

To be or not to be? That is the question. This is the simplest way to describe tomorrow's scenario of the EHF European League match between RK Nexe and Danish club Bjerringbro from Silkeborg, which will be played at 6:45 pm. To go further and achieve a real feat, Našice would have to make up for six goals. The NEXE handball players had two minus goals at halftime in Silkeborg. In the first attack, Mario Tomić reduced the lead to 16:15. After that, it was only -1, and less than half an hour later, the scoreboard showed 33:27 for the hosts.

With this result, the first match of the second qualifying round ended. Bjerringbro Silkeborg recorded a big six-goal difference ahead of the return match, played in Našice on Tuesday (September 28) at 6:45 pm. It is pretty clear that the NEXE has a difficult mission ahead, but not an impossible one. Some things need to be kept, like great goalie releases; first of all, Moreno Car kept NEXE in the game for 45 minutes. Halil Jaganjac was excellent again. Ten goals scored against the Danish runner-up were yet another one of his great performances. This confirmed that he is no longer just national team potential but already a player that coach Hrvoje Horvat and NEXE's Branko Tamše can rely on. The problem with Jaganjac was already two exclusions in the early phase of the game, in the first half. In general, playing with a player less and conceding goals on an empty goal was crucial in the first game against the Danes.


Slobodan Kadic

"I'm still talking with a hothead, but I think that they made less difference with our player. We fouled on two or three clean shots, hit the post, and instead of connecting, our shutdowns happened as well. Instead of scoring, we conceded goals on an empty goal three or four times. These gifts were not just given that way. They turned it into goals, and of course, morale, no matter how strong, must fall. We conceded too many goals. It is difficult when the Danish machine flies around the court," said NEXE coach Branko Tamše, who will not agree that the first half was good.


Slobodan Kadic

"The game is played for 30 minutes, and we were not great all 30 minutes. We were good as long as we had concentration and did what we agreed in both attack and defense. The goalkeeper also helped us then, but we didn't use it. First of all, in our transition, we were aggressive too few times, especially after good defense. And what now? Hope dies last. This is not a result that cannot be compensated. That is to be believed. And we believe that the NEXE players started believing in that as soon as they boarded the plane to return to Croatia."

He believes in a great turnaround.

"I already told the guys that we would be very, very prepared for the return match in a week. If they did it and beat six differences, then so can we. I firmly believe in that. Let us now realize all those posts and what went next to the goal. We hope to have a bit more breadth, but 16 who run against Silkeborg have to do everything to enter the EHF European League."

Tamše and his players are already inviting the audience.

"In Denmark, it smelled like victory, but as the match progressed, something was not good. We lost, but now we have to fix it and enter the group stage. Certainly, for every good goalkeeping defense, the defense is also important, i.e., teammates, so for me and my colleagues Radovanović and Kuzmanović it is imperative because then we are also good in our defenses," said Goalkeeper Moreno Car, adding that he counts on spectators and invites all fans to Našice because they also saw in Denmark how much the support from the stands meant to the hosts.

A real refreshment in NEXE's ranks is goalkeeper Dominik Kuzmanović from Dugo Selo, multiple Croatian champion at the cadet level and winner of the Dražen Petrović award as a member of the Croatian cadet national team that won gold at the European Youth Olympic Festival in Baku.


"I feel like I have been in NEXE for several years, my teammates have accepted me very well, and I am satisfied with Našice as a peaceful town. Although the summer was very successful for me, we won European silver at the cadet championships in Varaždin and Koprivnica. It remains a pity that we didn't get gold, but we will have two more competitions in the younger categories to be able to correct it," said Kuzmanović.

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