David travels to Goliath in Semi-Final opener
Fribourg-Gotteron travel to Gothenburg hoping to pull off what would have to gown down as one of the biggest shocks in the three-year history of the Champions Hockey League.
Frolunda Gothenburg vs. Fribourg-Gotteron
Frolundaborg Isstadion, 19:00 CET
Referees: Roman Gofman (RUS), Vladimir Pesina (CZE)
Struggling in their own league, Fribourg-Gotteron come up against the SHL leaders and defending SHL and CHL champions, in what is also the second straight year that Frolunda Gothenburg face a team from Switzerland in a CHL Semi-Final. Last year, the Indians travelled to Davos in the first leg, from where they on a dominant display to come away with a 5-0 win.
Frolunda, who have won three straight in the league, and lost only one of their last nine games in all competitions, go in as the heavy favourites but are also wary of the threat posed by their opponents.
"Fribourg is a team with offensive skills, but can adapt a defensive strategy to shut down the opponent," said Par Johansson, assistant coach for Frolunda. "We will chase them with high pressure. They are not used to that kind of game."
Despite their lowly NLA position, Fribourg have deceived somewhat in the Champions League this season, knocking out top Liiga club KalPa Kuopio on the way this far, plus also topping a group containing Red Bull Munich, They have also been in better form in the league of late, notching a pair of consecutive wins before losing last time out.
"We played well against Kloten, but then against Biel we kind of gave it away a bit. But we have to put that behind us now and focus only on this game," added Larry Huras, head coach of Fribourg. "We have to be 100 percent focussed. We had a great practice yesterday, and I think we'll know more about Frolunda than they will about us. We're playing one of the best teams in Europe, at home – that's why you play sport."
The CHL's CRAMO Top Scorer Casey Wellman will lead the line for Frolunda along with captain Joel Lundqvist, who have 24 points between them – however, they're matched by Fribourg forward Roman Cervenka and defenceman Yannick Rathgeb, who've also put up 12 points each to help their side this far.