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Derby duel: Grozdanoski vs. Brdarovski

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Vlatko Grozdanoski vs. Vladica BrdarovskiVlatko Grozdanoski vs. Vladica BrdarovskiAs the Derby of Macedonia takes place on Sunday, we asked Vardar's Vlatko Grozdanoski and Pelister's Vladica Brdarovski a series of questions before they face-off on the pitch.

Vlatko Grozdanoski was the best person to interview when it comes to the biggest Macedonian derby as he grew up a fan of the Vardar, the club that now employs him. The 31-year-old midfielder has exactly 50 caps for the Macedonian national team and is targeting his second league title with Vardar after winning one back in the 2002/03 season. On the other side, we interviewed 24-year-old Bitola native Vladica Brdarovski, a right-back who formerly played for the U21 national team of Macedonia. He also has one cap for the senior squad. Like Grozdanoski, he is also a big fan of the club in which he currently plays.

MF: Vardar utilized the defeats of Turnovo and Pelister to grab the first position. After concluding the winter transfer window, on paper you seem to have the best roster. The club’s ambitions are clear, but the overconfidence with which Vardar plays at times may cost some points in the future. Vardar beat the weak team of Napredok by only one goal, even though they had an extra player for a whole second half. How will the team get motivated for games against weaker opponents?
Vlatko: Vardar’s ambitions this season are clear, and that is to win the championship. Everything else would be a complete failure. Looking at the roster, I think that we have the best team in the league, without underestimating anyone. Still, the name Vardar must be respected first by ourselves and than by the opponents. The Napredok game doesn’t show anything as we played on a really bad pitch and against a very weak opponent that never even tried to play football. Anyways, it’s the 3 points that count in the end. The points from these games are very important as you win the league by beating the weaker teams and we are certainly motivated against anyone.

MF: Pelister is fighting for the title but keeping in mind how much the title challengers strengthened during the winter transfer window, not many believe that your team is capable of fighting until the end. What are your ambitions for the rest of the season?
Vladica: Our ambition is to win a place in a European competition. It will be hard as the rivals strengthened, but we have a good squad, we believe in ourselves and I think that we are capable of an international spot this summer.

MF: The biggest Macedonian derby will be played on Sunday. It’s something that is a challenge for every domestic player. Since you have played many games of this kind, which one do you remember the most?
Vlatko: Sunday should be a football holiday in Macedonia. I think we must appreciate the domestic football more as we are born and live here. It’s easy to say that there is no quality and that you don’t want to go to the stadium and watch a domestic league match, but with that attitude we only go against ourselves. I’m hoping that there will be a great atmosphere with a large number of fans. Vardar is getting back on the right track, and one of the things we must do in order to achieve that is for the public to return in the stands. The derby that I will always remember is the last one in Bitola when we won 2:1. There was a great atmosphere, good football and of course a very important win achieved in a tough road environment.

MF: You were defeated convincingly by Rabotnichki at the beginning of the second half-season. It couldn’t happen at a worst ttime, right before the Derby of Macedonia. What is the confidence level in the club before the Vardar clash?
Vladica: The players took the defeat by Rabotnichki very hard, but we managed to put it behind us now. With a good result at the derby everything will be forgotten. This derby is the most beautiful game to play at in the league and any player would like to be a part of it. I believe in my team and that we can get a result here.

MF: Pelister is traveling to Skopje again and with bad memories after getting demolished by Rabotnichki last week. What are Vardar’s advantages here?
Vlatko: In derby games there are no real advantages. The match can be won by the more motivated side no matter who the favorite is on paper. Still, I think that Vardar has a small advantage by the fact that we are playing at home.

MF: Pelister’s ultras group "Chkembari" are well organizing and will be present on Sunday in large numbers, also expecting a good outcome. Will that put a pressure on your players? And, what do you think are your advantages in this match?
Vladica: Of course they are expecting a good result, as every fan of Pelister should. That is normal. Their presence won’t be an added pressure for us, instead it will motivate us to play even better. I don’t see any advantages on both sides as each team wants the win. Everyone will leave their heart on the field and the team with more luck and resourcefulness will probably grab the victory.

MF: What do you think of one another?
Vlatko: Vladica is a good player, young and promising who has the ambition to play in a much better league. He is very fast with the ball, aggressive on defense and attacking minded as well. I know him personally and above all he is a great person.
Vladica: Vlatko is a great footballer, I have a very high opinion of him. He is a well regarded player in Macedonia and abroad as well.

We wish both Vlatko and Vladica luck, a good game and may the better team win! The game is scheduled for Sunday at 16.00 CET and will be broadcasted live on MTV Sobraniski. Those living abroad can watch the game by clicking here.

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