With only 646 kilometres separating the arenas of Adler Mannheim and Grenoble, these two teams won't be too concerned about the travel distance when they start their 2020/21 Round of 32 series against each other.
Both teams are returning to the competition having taken part last season and at different times before as well.
“Grenoble are an unknown opponent for us, but it is clear that even these supposedly small opponents are very tricky,” said Adler Head Coach Pavel Gross about his side's opposition. “They do have a few good import players and are not to be underestimated in terms of skating. We have to prepare ourselves intensively and must not underestimate our opponent.”
We want to bring the fans with us on this journey
Edo Terglav, Head Coach Grenoble
On the opposing bench when these teams meet in the CHL will be Edo Terglav. “I’m very excited about the draw’s outcome for several reasons,” revealed the Slovene. “First of all, I wanted to play against a team located near to France - this will allow us to have reasonable travelling time, which is a good thing for both the players and the fans. And second, we wanted to be able to bring the fans with us on this journey. The CHL offers opportunities to play against Europe’s top hockey teams, and Adler Mannheim are one of Germany’s highest-ranked teams. It’s a good challenge for us.”
Gross, who joined Mannheim in 2018 has previous experience from both last season and his time behind the bench in Wolfsburg and is aware of what sort of a difference it will make going straight into elimination hockey this time around.
“In the group stage you can sometimes lose a game without it having any dramatic effect,” explained the 52-year-old, who took the Grizzlys into the Round of 32 after the 2016/17 Group Stage and Die Adler into the last 16 in 2019/20. “In the knock-out round, you must be ready from the get-go. It's hard to make up for a bad game.”
You must be ready from the get-go, it's hard to make up for a bad game
Pavel Gross, Head Coach Adler Mannheim
The Brûleurs de Loups have previous CHL experience with Terglav at the helm. In 2015/16 he led them to their only ever CHL win, a 2-1 home victory against the Espoo Blues, while in 2019/20 they were victorious in Skellefteå. Those wins aside, the French side have still never tasted knock-out action in the CHL.
“This format is new for everyone, we’ve never started a season in this state of mind. In this format each team has only 120 minutes to play at their best,” added the Grenoble coach. “We must be ready to give it all we have. At this level, the winning team will be the one who is more prepared mentally and the most consistent during the matchup.”