Novi Beograd, the runner-up in the previous two editions of the Champions League, changed its team during this transfer window. However, the ambitions remain the same. The Serbian champions aim to win trophies in all four competitions that are ahead of them.
The new team was presented today. Slobodan Soro, the director, emphasized that Novi Beograd, as a club, functioned flawlessly. A stable system has been established. As for the senior team, Soro said:
“The team has changed, but I believe that we will be even better in some parts where we showed some weakness last season. We are playing on four fronts this season again– the Serbian Cup, which we haven’t won yet, the Serbian Championships, the Regional League, and the Champions League. Of course, the most important goal is the Champions League. We lost in two finals in the previous two seasons. I hope we can climb one step higher and become the European champions in the third attempt.“
3 Novi Beograd, founded in 2015, has won three trophies.Last season, Novi Beograd finished the season with the title in the Serbian Championships, won silver medals in the Champions League and the Serbian Cup, and reached the semifinals of the Regional League. Two years ago, it clinched the Serbian Championships and the Regional League, while it was defeated in the finals of the Serbian Cup and Champions League.
A new team leader is Slavko Gak, the winner of the gold medal at the 2009 World Championships. He has been at the club’s management for a few years. Now, he has taken on a new role. Gak underlines that it’s clear that Novi Beograd’s ambitions are high:
“I think we have learned from our mistakes in the last two years. We aim to win all four trophies in the 2023/24 season. Novi Beograd has a respectable team. I believe it can achieve the high goals we have set and that we will have a lot of reasons to celebrate at the end of the season.”
Filip Filipovic new captain
One of the reinforcements is Filip Filipovic, a multiple winner of the awards for the best player of the year in Europe and the world. He joined the team yesterday evening (this summer, he played in the Maltese Summer League). Filipovic, who is a new captain of Novi Beograd, said:
“This is a group of great guys. We need to keep the level of play and the atmosphere we have throughout the season. Let’s go step by step. The season is long and specific due to the European and World Championships, which will be held in January and February. The first goal is to win the Serbian Cup. After the break due to the Worlds and Europeans, the continuation of other competitions awaits us. This team has been composed to achieve the highest goals. We are here to fulfill them”.
Great combination of three generations
Zivko Gocic, the head coach, has the same opinion regarding the goals as the club’s management. He emphasized that he was happy and satisfied to be a part of the club and an excellent team:
“Novi Beograd’s team is a mix of three generations. We have guys who are perhaps the best players of all time, in their positions on the team. Then there are the players who are among the best in the world right now and the generation of young players. This combination is well put together, and I think that we have a chance to claim titles in all the competitions we participate in.
Goalkeepers: Lazar Dobozanov, Francesco De Michelis. Field players: Dusko Pijetlovic, Filip Filipovic (captain), Milos Cuk, Angelos Vlachopoulos , Nikola Jaksic, Radomir Drasovic, Nikola Lukic, Alvaro Granados, Dimitrios Skoumpakis, Djordje Vucinic, Savo Cetkovic, Marko Radulovic, Miroslav Perkovic, Vasilije Martinovic.
Coaching staff: Zivko Gocic (head coach), Djordje Filipovic (assistant coach), Aleksandar Bakic (coaach), Dragan Trandafilovic (physiotherapist), Bojan Medjedovic ( coach physical preparation).
Arrivals: Lazar Dobozanov, Milos Cuk, Marko Radulovic, Nikola Lukic (all Radnicki), Filip Filipovic (Olympiacos), Francesco De Michelis (Distretti Ecologici Nuoto Roma)
Departures: Dusan Mandic (Ferencvaros), Strahinja Rasovic (Vasas), Viktor Rasovic (Noisy-le-Sec), Radoslav Filipovic (Oradea) Joao Fernandes Coimbra (Partizan), Nika Shushiashvili (Apollon Smyrnis).
After the press conference, journalists spoke to Gocic about the new competition format of the Champions League. The road to the final tournament of the Champions League is more complex than before. Until last season, eight teams participated. The Final Four replaces the Final Eight from this season.
“Of course, it will be more difficult to qualify for the final tournament. In addition, it is very possible that already in the quarter-final group, we will get two opponents that are candidates for the trophy. But, I don’t feel any pressure However, I am not thinking about the second part of the season now. There is a lot to be done until the quarter-final group. Anyway, Novi Beograd aims to participate in the Final Four, regardless of which rivals will be in our way. We are aware of our qualities but also our flaws. However, I consider we have many more qualities than flaws.”
Novi Beograd enters the new season with a new pair of goalkeepers. Lazar Dobozanov and the Italian Francesco De Michelis replaced the Brazilian Joao Fernandes Coimbra and Radoslav Filipovic.
“I believe the new goalkeepers are a good combination. They have a different style of playing (compared to Fernandes and Filipovic-Ed -Ed), and they give different energy to their teammates. I’m excited and looking forward to the start of the season, Gocic concluded.
Memorial Tournament from Friday
Between September 8 and 10, Novi Beograd will organize the second Memorial Tournament “Vlaho Bata Orlic”.
Six teams will participate. They are split into two groups – Group A: Novi Beograd, Partizan, Mladost Zagreb. Group B: Sabac, Jadran Herceg Novi, Spandau 04 Berlin.
After three rounds of the group stage, the 1st-placed and the 2nd-placed teams will advance to the semifinals.