Scotland’s Bruce Mouat will once again go head-to-head with arch-rival Niklas Edin as the two teams that have dominated curling in recent years meet in the European Championships gold medal game at Curl Aberdeen.
The rematch of the Olympic final will see Mouat’s reigning world champions face Sweden’s six-time world champions.
The two finalists have won 10 of the last 11 European titles between them, with Edin’s men winning seven in all, but Mouat’s team have taken the title all three times they have played in the Euros.
Team Mouat’s gold medal match takes place on Saturday afternoon.
“I’m really excited to play them,” said the Scottish skip.
“We always have good games against them, whether it’s a round-robin stage or in a final, so we’re very excited to play them and we’ll have to play well.
“We’ll start with the hammer, which is always a nice thing to have and it will be a really good match.”
There will be no secret to how they look to go about their business as they head in with the hammer, which gives them last stone advantage on account of having finished above the Swedes in the round-robin stages.
“We just have to do all the small things right: the communication, the line calling, all the things that come into play in every game,” said Mouat.
“In the pressure situations it’s how you deal with it and that’s going to be the key.”
Standard has been high across competition, says Mouat
He believes a repeat of their all-round performance in their 7-4 win against a powerful Swiss line-up will give him, Grant Hardie, Bobby Lammie and Hammy McMillan every chance of retaining the title for a third season in a row and their fourth in all.
“We’re in a very good spot and obviously looking forward to playing tomorrow and we’ll definitely try to repeat what we just did there, because that was one of our best games of the season,” Mouat said.
It had looked like being a tight affair when the teams forced one another to take singles at the first two ends, but the first crucial moment came at the third end when the Scots claimed their two.
They then gave their opponents little room for manoeuvre over the next three ends, the first two of which were blanked, before the Swiss were left with no choice but to take another single at the sixth.
After another blanked end, the killer blow was delivered at the eighth where the Scots capitalised on Swiss mistakes to leave Mouat with a straightforward tap back to secure a three and a near irreversible 6-2 lead.
They then closed the match out clinically and the way they overcame such high calibre opposition was a major boost to their confidence ahead of the final showdown.
“The level of play at the Europeans this year has been amazing, from all 10 teams that I saw,” Mouat observed.
“You saw that in our game yesterday against the Finnish boys who, at the end of the week only got one win, but they played an unbelievable game last night and made some high difficulty shots, so it did not matter one bit who we were playing in the semis.
“I think the four teams who were playing in the semis are four of the best teams in the world, so it was going to be tough whoever we played.
“Regardless of who we were playing we were going to have to play well, but the boys and I have worked really hard this season top get to this point and it’s great to have a chance of winning gold again.”