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Pavlovic and Gran Canaria dream of a trophy

ER 2842 (1) EHF / Danijela Vekić

EHF European Cup Women 2021/22 has come to its peak with an all-Spanish final. Rocasa Gran Canaria and Costa del Sol Malaga both qualified for the final with second leg victories in the semi-finals. It will be a clash of a former two-time Challenge Cup winner and reigning EHF European Cup champions

Rocasa Gran Canaria raised the third-tier European trophy in 2015/16 and 2018/19, coming in second in 2017/18. The Spanish club have become almost a regular in such European competitions with their fourth final in six years; always bringing high hopes and pure passion when it comes to the finals.

One of the key players this season for Gran Canaria is Croatian International Katarina Pavlovic. The 27-year-old right back joined the club from BSV Zwickau after spending five seasons in Germany.

"This is my first year in the club and I’m very satisfied with my first season so far. We had some good wins and some hard defeats, but all in all, it’s good. Rocasa Gran Canaria is a great club and they accepted me from the first moment," said Katarina Pavlovic.

Gran Canaria will have no surprises in the first match against Malaga on Sunday, 8 May, at 14:00 CEST, live on EHFTV. The two teams know each other very well from the domestic championship and cup. After losing 26:23 to Malaga in the Cup only a week before the European Cup finals, Gran Canaria will push even more to get even in front of their fans before the away rematch.

"Being in the EHF European Cup final is a great success for us. Playing for the trophy against Málaga is very interesting as we know each other very well. It’s the third competition this season we are facing them in. We were knocked out in the domestic cup by them and to be honest they played very well."

"We have more time to prepare for this European match and I hope that will be to our advantage. Malaga is on a winning streak and we know it’s going to be hard to play against them,’’ concluded the Croatian international.

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Two matches, 120 minutes, and only one chance to celebrate

Having an advantage of home court in the first final match, Pavlović hopes to be their wind on the wing. Having lost chances of winning the Cup and Championship in Spain, the EHF European Cup Final is their last chance for a trophy this season.

"We know it’s going to be hard both home and away but this is our last chance to take a trophy this season and we will give our best to succeed. We are eager to win and we will not give up until the end. I believe this is going to be our year again," Pavlovic is confident ahead of the first leg.

With 65 goals scored this season for the Spanish team, Pavlovic is unstoppable from the back court. Netting a total of 17 against Lviv in the semi-final matches, proving her good work and her style of play was finally recognised by Croatia's national team. Pavlovic has played her first minutes in a Croatian jersey during EHF EURO 2022 qualifiers against Ukraine and the Czech Republic.

"I’m very proud of my accomplishment this season. Being my club’s top scorer and being part of the Croatia national team is proof of my good work. I’m happy that I was able to qualify for the EHF EURO 2022 and I hope I will play at that stage too," says right back, born in Čapljina.

Coming from an all-handball family, it’s no wonder this Croatian International is getting better with every season. Her brother Dragan plays for Koper and the Bosnia and Herzegovina national team, while her father used to be a professional handball player. Family support means a lot when you are on the other side of Europe enjoying 40x20 meters.

"My family is my biggest supporter and they are proud of what I achieved. I come from a sporting and working-class family. My parents have taught my brother and I that hard work and persistence always pay off. I’m thankful to them as I believe we both are in the right places. Of course, my brother and I compete a little bit, but that’s what siblings do," says Pavlovic with a smile on her face.

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