Coming to the end of their centenary season, FK Lovćen are within 90 minutes of claiming a first major trophy, with captain Vladan Tatar hungry for his side to go the distance in the Montenegrin Cup final.
Founded in 1913, the club from Cetinje – the old capital of Montenegro – take on FK Mladost Podgorica in the final on 21 May having already beaten their opponents three times in the First League this term. For Tatar it is an opportunity they cannot pass up. "We are so close to making history, and I am sure we will be at our absolute best in the most important game of our careers," he said.
Tatar was in the Lovćen team that lost the 2009 final to OFK Petrovac, the same opponents his side overcame in last month's semi-final. "That is a day I try to forget," the 30-year-old said. "I always hoped I would get another chance to win a trophy. The cup final is the most important one-off game in Montenegro. Having felt how bad it is to lose one, I can imagine how amazing it would be to win."
However, the Montenegrin Cup is not Lovćen's only trophy hope this campaign. Second in the table, they trail reigning champions FK Sutjeska by four points following Saturday's 1-0 defeat at FK Budućnost Podgorica – their first loss of the spring. However, with three home games and a visit to Sutjeska to come, a first national title is not out of the question.
Another major achievement, meanwhile, is already all but in the bag. Provided they hold on for a top-three finish, Lovćen will make their European debut next term. "We have absolutely deserved this honour to represent our country and city on the European stage," said Tatar. "I am sure we will be ready for this challenge, but we will think about it when the time comes."
Staying in the moment is very much the aim for now, with Lovćen perhaps eager not to think too much about how they have unexpectedly gone from mid-table strugglers to championship contenders since their former forward Mojaš Radonjić was appointed coach in January 2013.
"We have exceeded all expectations and, certainly, we should be satisfied," Radonjić said. "Lovćen should play in Europe for the first time, but we want more. We will not give up the title race, but the cup is our big chance. We need fresh minds and legs and a real desire for victory. My job is to prepare the players for 90 important minutes, but also to convince them that the title race is not over yet."
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