Ratgeber Thrilled About Return To Salamanca

31 March 2009

The coach of two-time defending champions Spartak Moscow Region, Laszlo Ratgeber, wants to win the EuroLeague Women Final Four this weekend in Spain.

But more than anything, it seems, the Hungarian boss is excited about returning to Salamanca to experience the electric atmosphere at Perfumerias Avenida games that has reverberated around Europe this season.

"I am looking forward for the Final Four because I can say without any fear of making a mistake that their fans are the most passionate, most knowledgeable in basketball and loyal in Spain and possibly in Europe," Ratgeber said on Avenida's website.

"The Salamanca fans are passionate and we all respect how they support the team. It's going to be a beautiful and exciting competition. It's always a pleasure to play in a packed arena, with fans that appreciate the sport and that adore their team but that also show a lot of respect towards the rivals."

Avenida needed two overtimes but finally beat CSKA Moscow in the Eighth-Finals before defeating Ratgeber's former team, MiZo Pecs, 2-0 in the Quarter-Finals.

This will not be the first time that Ratgeber has made the journey to the beautiful Spanish city.

 "I remember when I played in Salamanca while coaching MiZo Pecs two years ago that for the first time in my career," he said, "it felt as though we had played against six players rather than five - the five on the court and the sixth was the stands.

"As coach of Spartak, we are going to Salamanca feeling a great respect for the basketball tradition that the city and their fans have."

Spartak face Russian rivals UMMC Ekaterinburg in one Semi-Final on Friday while MKB Euroleasing Sopron go up against Avenida in the other.

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