Dear handball friends, another exciting month is now behind us. Once again we’ve witnessed amazing encounters and splendid moves on all of our courts. The end of the regular part of the season is close and races for top spots, which are leading directly to quarter-finals are slowly heating up. In Group A, five-time League champions Vardar have managed to secure the top spot. In the most recent match of the Group, guys from Skopje solidified their leading position coming out on top against their biggest group rivals Motor Zaporozhye. Right behind Ukrainian champions we have very good Vojvodina team as well as Tatran Presov from Slovakia who have the same amount of points. Fifth place is reserved for the ‘Thunders’ from Nasice – Nexe and bottom-placed are Beijing Sport University who are also the only team which still hasn’t managed to reach a victory. For the second month in a row, top spot in Group B is reserved for Telekom Veszprem. Right behind them is Belarusian Meshkov Brest who have the same amount of points as PPD Zagreb. We have a heated race for the next two spots as well with Bitola’s pride, Eurofarm Rabotnik, finishing November on fourth place while Metaloplastika remain fifth. Russian Spartak are currently on the bottom of the group standings. In this season’s fourth Magazine we’ve brought Russian back-court bomber, Aleksander Dereven, in front of our cameras as well as another star from Spartak – Igor Radojevic. Sit tight and get ready for our fourth SEHA – Gazprom League TV Magazine of the season. Back-court bomber, member of Vardar’s golden generation and now one of the main assets for Russian Spartak as well as the star of our Magazine. In his rookie season in red and white jersey, Aleksander Dereven is proving to be one of the most valuable offensive weapons for his team. However, not many people know this Russian gem started his handball career on a completely different position. At the beginning I used to be a goalkeeper. And I wasn’t bad at it but I wanted to actually play. I was also tall so one day coaches told me that from now on I’m going to be a left back. As he is almost two meters tall it wouldn’t be surprising at all to see him on the basketball court. However, among everything he tried at a young age basketball never became Sasha’s go-to sport. I used to practice taekwondo and karate. I never really liked basketball because for me it’s kind of soft, whenever you touch other players you get disqualified. Handball, on the other hand, always had a special place in the heart of our guest. Quick tempo, physical game, defense and attack are just some of the reasons why this sport never ceases to amaze him. Handball simply has everything, all the best features from other sports. That’s why I love it so much. It is intensive and quick-paced but it also takes intelligence and lot of thinking to play it. By entering SEHA, Spartak have written a whole new page in our League’s history books. In their premier season they’ve so far showcased serious potential and will to achieve good results as well as intention to learn as much as they can from the best. It’s a big step forward for Russian handball. Matches against such great teams like Veszprem, Vardar and Motor are all opportunities for us to get to know a whole new level of the game. It’s very good for us of course and we are so happy to be the first Russian team in SEHA League. Luckily, this Russian gem already has whole lot of SEHA experience behind him. He was a member of Vardar’s golden generation which has climbed the European throne back in 2017 as well as won SEHA title the same season. Macedonian capital will because of that always have a special place in Dereven’s heart. I have very warm memories of that country. I’ve spent two years there but Macedonia will remain a part of me for the rest of my life. It was really cool. Who he is still in contact with from his ‘Red&Black’ squad, what is it like to live in a cold Russian capital after sunny Skopje and some more details from Sasha’s life – all coming up in the second part of the interview. Traditionally, between two parts of our interview, we’re bringing you the best of the best from the month behind us. And for November, perfect lineup looks like this: Youngster once again showcased his enormous potential with nine saves against Eurofarm, 11 versus Veszprem and an explosion with 14 against Spartak. Without doubt – best goalie of the month! League’s best scorer from last year is officially back on track. In his return match he was shining with 14 and we believe he’ll keep on proving his worth in matches to come as well. Fantastic six goals against Spartak and then three versus Metaloplastika. Borut Mackovsek once again showed everything he’s capable of. Veszprem’s gem added seven assists as well and is taking ‘the best left-back’ title in November. It was really hard to slow Vardar’s golden boy down in November. Fast and furious Skube was with seven goals leading ‘Red&Black’ versus Vojvodina after which he gave out 11 assists against Motor. Centre back was really a no doubter! For the second month in a row Mikita Vailupau has continued with breathtaking offensive outings. Seven goals in a win against PPD Zagreb and then an explosion with 14 goals and seven assists versus Eurofarm. Once against, best scorer of the month title and a huge round of applause for Vailupau! Another ‘Red&Black’ player has managed to earn the ‘Best 7’ honors for the month of November. He scored five against Vojvodina and then went nine from nine versus Ukrainian champs. Unstoppable! Slovenian giant in Vardar’s jersey Domen Sikosek Pelko finished the match with four against Vojvodina and then five against Motor. Rising talent has been delivering some solid outings so far this season and is proving to be a huge potential for years to come. After a slow start to the season Metaloplastika have finally managed to catch the right rhythm and their maestro Veselin Vukovic certainly has the most to do with that. They managed to come out on top against Eurofarm and Spartak which will surely be a confidence booster for a young and motivated team from Sabac as well as for League’s best coach in November. After November’s ‘Best 7’ we’re going back to our guest who has in Skopje formed some friendships not even hundreds of kilometers separating Macedonian capital and Moscow can break. Those will forever remain the best memories for him from his Vardar days. I still talk a lot with Russian guys from over there – Shishkarev, Gorbok and Dibirov. We always get together when it’s possible but messages and making fun of each other are things that are present all the time as well as congratulating on victories. I’m still in contact with everyone. After a successful closure of his SEHA story in Skopje, Dereven opened a new page of his career putting on Spartak’ jersey. New club brought him back to Russia where he first dreamed of becoming a professional player. We have traffic jams and a lot of people. Everybody’s always on the run. I prefer quiet and calm lifestyle but Moscow also has a lot of wonderful places. I can’t name them all because you need a couple of months to be able to visit them all but be sure that we are waiting for you. Moscow is waiting for you the same way Spartak were waiting for Dereven who has in a short period of time managed to become their leader on the court. How much of a responsibility is it actually? Being a leader means forgetting about everything and taking the initiative when it’s tough. Making a final shot or assist. It comes with experience and for me it is now happening automatically. Like with every other job, there are always things making your life harder. However, in such situations, real love for the game of handball pushes Dereven forward. My motivation comes from the heart. We do what we love which is why we’re enjoying it so much. We also like the fact that our fans
are enjoying it so much. That’s why I feel like if you lack motivation at a certain point in your career it can be useful to make a break. Before the match you have to feel like a king ready to go out there and do what he does best. You should make people fall in love with the game. Due to his amazing outings this season, unstoppable back shooter soon became fans favorite – especially for the kids. His message for all those dreaming of entering the handball world is clear: Listen to the coaches, train hard and watch quality matches SEHA and Champions League can offer because you can learn a lot from them. We have no doubt Sasha will enjoy the rest of the season as well as we’ll enjoy his performances. We wish him all the best with his own life quote: And the most important – love what you are doing, love handball. Colorful and warm holiday atmosphere is probably the most important thing in the month that’s ahead of us. In this most wonderful time of the year – SEHA December, exciting matches and whole lot of presents will simply be knocking on your doors because holiday perks are reserved for both our players and those in the stands. That way we’ll once again get to experience the most wonderful parts of the SEHA story. We’ll also need SEHA Claus and his elves to help us in order for presents for our loudest, most creative and most dedicated fans to come in time. You guessed it – fourth edition of our Be8player Best Handball Fan Contest is underway and SEHA December fairytale will become reality for our final winner! First obstacle on your way will be Be8player Quiz through which we will select 20 of you who provide us with the fastest, most accurate answers. In the next round we’ll ask you to think of a Be8player hashtag with 12 answers which receive the most ‘likes’ going through to the final round where we will be giving out 2 all-inclusive SEHA Final 4 tickets. And how to win them? You just have to make a photo which will impress our jury made out of SEHA players and you can start packing your bags for the Final 4 adventure! To make SEHA December even more interesting – it won’t only feature Be8player finals but also final matches of the regular part of the season. 18 matches, which will decide everything in Groups A and B are ahead of us and those tickets leading directly to the quarter-finals are definitely something a lot of teams would like to see wrapped up underneath their Christmas tree. And while we’re waiting for the most wonderful time of the year, it’s time to meet the incredibly charming city of Moscow with our tourist guide – Spartak’s gem, Igor Radojevic. Metropolis with 12 million residents, Red Square and cold winter days are the first things that come to mind when you think of the newest city on our SEHA map. This charming city is the home of
Spartak and the heart of a country which houses a huge variety of differences. Russian capital Moscow will welcome you in the best possible way just as it did with Igor Radojevic who has decided to move on from Metaloplastika and continue his career in a jersey of Russian vice – champions. Life in Moscow is phenomenal. One of the most beautiful cities in the world, except for the traffic jams which are causing us a lot of troubles. But, with all the beautiful attractions this city has to offer, streets that are telling their own stories and sky-high buildings you simply forget about all the bad things. Sports heart of Moscow is Spartak, the club which has this season made its first SEHA League steps. Spartak, as a club in general, have huge tradition. Handball is not playing such a big part in that story but they have an army of fans and that puts some pressure on you. However, it is also a big honor to be a part of Spartak. Being a part of Russian vice-champion brings a lot of long trips. By all the well-known places, hanging out with former teammates and friends is one of the things that puts a smile on the face of every professional player. Travelling to Macedonia always makes me happy as well as, of course, when we finally get to play in Sabac, against my former team. I’m really looking forward to going there. What makes people in Russia happy are also sun rays which are not something you often see in Moscow. That’s why, every Spartak player has to be prepared for the Russian winter. And what’s the easiest way to handle the temperature lows? Well they better bring fur hats, haha, and winter coats. Because, yeah, it’s going to get really cold and we’re definitely going to have some long trips. Feeling the cold breeze on your face while walking down the city streets is surely something that shouldn’t surprise you. By that, you’ll be able to smell some of the most famous dishes of the traditional Russian cuisine. And what is it Radojevic would recommend trying? Shakshuka for breakfast definitely. Face of the city will surely satisfy everyone. There is not a single thing you can wish for that can’t be fulfilled around here or people unwilling to help you. Spartak players noticed that and they would like to win as many matches as possible for their biggest fans. Message for our supporters is that we’ll fight best we can for every win and every point because that’s what they deserve. They are coming through in every match and we have to fulfill their expectations. We also have zero doubts Moscow will seduce anyone eager to get to know and see everything this metropolis has to offer. Story by story we’ve reached the end of another TV Magazine. Apart from more group stage matches, month ahead is bringing us various kinds of holiday activities as well as finals of the Be8player competition. Stay tuned and find out who is going to have presents knock on their doors and which team will manage to book a quarter-final spot for themselves. Until next time, best regards and experience handball!