On Sunday 23rd April, we return to the Serbian First Division with the greatest rivalry in Serbian sport, Partizan Belgrade and Red Star.
Partizan vs Red Star Rivalry
This is the eternal derby. In Serbian sport, there is nothing bigger than this game, and after the Round 1 matchup, where Partizan roared home in the last five minutes to snatch a draw at 32-32, this game shapes as the game of the year so far in either the Serbian League or the Balkan Super League.
What Have We Learned So Far in 2017?
What a difference a handful of key players makes… Partizan Belgrade have had a good start to the season, winning each of the games they were favoured to win well, with big wins against Radnicki Nis and Vitez in the first round of the Balkan Super League. Partizan played well in their one match against big opposition, drawing with Red Star for a record of three games, two wins and one draw. Red Star have played one extra match, and have had a much tougher list of opponents, playing Dorcol three times, Partizan once and Radnicki Nis once. In five games, Red Star’s record is two wins, two losses and one draw. For Red Star, consistency of performance is now the goal. For Partizan, protecting an unbeaten start to 2017 will install them as favourites in the big competitions in 2017.
Partizan and Red Star both put together magic first halves last weekend in their respective games, Partizan led 40-10 at Vitez and Red Star. Red Star led Dorcol 30-0 at half time in their corresponding match.
The Men to Watch
For Red Star, they always play better when Vojislav Dedic is available at first or second receiver in the backline. Voja’s experience and his ability to put players into gaps is an important part of Red Star’s play. For Partizan Dzavid Jasari is a Serbian International. Dzavid has a similar influence on Partizan who rely on their roll-on through the middle of the field and often play an extra big man at 5/8. The battle in the middle becomes important in this match. Pero Madzarevic loves crossing the white stripe – he has scored eight tries in two games, with five from the centres and three from the second row against Vitez. Red Star will need to mark him well.
The Magic Numbers
My magic numbers this week are 12 and 13. Maybe I am being biased, but it’s important to have an opinion! I tip Red Star by 12 this week. Partizan will be the toughest opponent of 2017 so far, and I think this will be the highest quality match of 2017, so join us on Sunday for the live stream, or even better, at the game! 13 is for the number of players on the pitch. In the last round between these teams, four players received yellow cards. Let’s keep all 13 players on the pitch boys!
Dorcol vs Radnicki Nis
Dorcol will welcome Radnicki Nis in the other match this weekend. Radnicki Nis’ last round was the ultra-impressive 24-18 triumph over Red Star. If they can bring the same team and the same attitude, they can spring an upset on a young Dorcol team. While Dorcol picked up the years only silverware to date, they have probably disappointed since their Super Cup win. Regardless, I think Dorcol will be tested for around 60 minutes before pulling away towards the end of the game with a 12-18-point win. Probable score? 32-14.