Club de Campo are hoping it will be third time lucky as they bid to make it through to a women’s top tier European final under Edu Aguilar following bronze medal runs in 2015 and 2018.
“We hope it will be third time’s a charm,” explains Beatriz Pérez ahead of next Saturday’s date with De Club an der Alster.
“We cannot afford miss this opportunity to be in the final because, although the Germans are a great team, perhaps it is a little more friendly a draw than the two Dutch teams, which are the favourites.”
“We will have to play as we always do; giving everything as a team both in defense and attack. We have to be very focused on defending very well because they have skilled players in attack and, in attack, it is very important that we are fine and correct to take advantage of our opportunities.”
The Madrid club will arrive at the Wagener Stadium in brilliant form, dropping just two points of a possible 54 on offer this season, to look well set to retain the Iberdrola league title.
Chief among their assets have been the Barrios twins Laura and Sara. Raised on hockey at the Santa Maria de los Rosales school, they switched to Campo a number of years ago to brilliant effect, helping Spain to the European Junior Championship into the bargain.
Both are making their way as part of 10 Campo players in the wider Spanish Olympic squad of 34 players.
And Laura is top scorer in the local league with 15 goals to her name; she says the team is in the form of their lives.
“We are very happy,” she told the EHL website. “We haven’t lost any game so far this season and we are growing up together and playing very well.
“We are all very excited about the EHL FINAL4. We have been waiting for it for two years and we are aware of how lucky we are to live this experience in these difficult times. It gives us motivation to do really well.
“Definitely, we are in a better position [than 12 months ago]. Not just because of the extra time together but also now we have been playing consistently for a lot of months.”
It has been a feature of this Covid-affected season that potential positive tests can derail a campaign but Campo have yet to have an issue with it and have played eight times in 2021 already.
By contrast, Alster only returned to action less than a fortnight ago but have won all three of their games since coming back.
Barrios says in-depth focus on their opponent only began this week but she is certain Aguilar will have his homework done.
“Our coach, I’m sure, has all the information. They have some very important players but they are a whole team and very strong, very physical. But, in that way, we have the bonus most of my team mates are international players who know them better than me!”
In Aguilar, they also have some EHL experience. His final European game was the 2011 GRAND FINAL when Campo took silver, missing out on the title to HGC.
“He doesn’t talk about it too much! But we have seen some photos!” Barrios laughs before adding that she cannot wait to be part of history as part of the first EHL Women’s event.
“We have so much enthusiasm for this competition, the great event it will be – although there is no public.
“It is a big advance in terms of equality in sport as the first EHL for women. This is very satisfying to play in the first one, an historical moment. I wish good luck to all the teams to do their best!”