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31.08.2007, 14:55
Hungry for five titles
«Go back »Print Version


Exclusive interview with Ciudad Real's two-times CL winner, Olafur Stefansson.

» »2007-08 Men's CL
»Group Matches
»BM Ciudad Real
»
 

Hungry for five titles

He is key players in one of the best teams in the world, won Champions League twice – with two clubs, Magdeburg and his current team, Ciudad Real. The Iceland lefthander, Olafur Stefansson (34), is one of the best players in the world and one who leaves his mark every year in the Champions League.

The right back of Ciudad Real wants to win everythingIn an exclusive-interview with Eurohandball.com, Stefansson talks about Ciudad, the new philosophy of the Spanish club, their objective to get the CL trophy back to central Spain, and he also compares the German and the Spanish league.

Eurohandball.com: You’re Spanish champion. Do you share the opinion that the Spanish champions are automatically the favourites in the Champions League?

Stefansson: We are hungry for success after an unsatisfactory season. Yes, we want to win the Champions League title. Last season, we had a week when we lost a lot: we lost in the CL quarterfinal against Portland and only four days later we were knocked out of the Spanish Cup against Barcelona. This was very disappointing for all of us. But now, I hope, we learned from the mistakes and improved a lot.

Eurohandball.com: Why are Ciudad Real better than last season?

Stefansson: We practiced very hard in the preparation period and the team are well adjusted to playing with each other. We want to be perfect and make our dreams come true. Our club changed its philosophy: we did not sign so many new players, but kept the “old” team together. It’s getting better day by day, because everybody knows what the other is doing. Only with continuity can you win titles and become the best team in the world. Look at Kiel or Flensburg – there is real continuity, and they are successful.

The team did not change much for this seasonEurohandball.com: Are Ciudad Real the best team in the world?

Stefansson: Look at the papers and the statistics: Kiel won the Champions League, and the winner of the Champions League is the best team in the world. Kiel played a great season, but we want to get back on the throne.

Eurohandball.com: Who are the biggest opponents to “get on the throne”?

Stefansson: It’s always the same: Kiel, Flensburg, Hamburg, Portland and Barcelona.

Eurohandball.com: So you think that the CL winner can only come from Germany or Spain?

Stefansson: Normally yes, but clubs such as Zagreb, Gudme or Montpelier have strong teams as well. But being realistic, it would be no surprise if German and Spanish teams would play the semi-final.

Flensburg will be difficult opponents in the Group stageEurohandball.com: You played in both leagues, for Wuppertal and Magdeburg in Germany and now for Ciudad Real in Spain. Which league is better: Asobal or Bundesliga?

Stefansson: If you look at the best three German and Spanish teams, they are all a class of their own, full of world class players. If they play against each other, there’s no favourite, they are similar. When you look further and see the first five teams of both leagues, the comparison is still the same. But if you take all teams of both leagues, Germany is better. The teams from 5 to 18 have more class than the similar teams in Spain. But as these teams are getting better in Spain, while the gap between place 5 and 12 is widening in Germany. It’s like in Spain: the good ones are getting better and the bad ones getting worse.

Celebrating the CL title with CiudadEurohandball.com: In the first group phase of the Champions League you have to play against last year’s finalist, SG Flensburg-Handewitt. Are they the biggest opponents for Ciudad?

Stefansson: Flensburg have a great team, they are nearly as strong as Kiel. And they had bad luck last year; they were very close to win the CL. We have to be aware when we play against Flensburg. But I think both teams will reach the second round. Flensburg have the class to get into the semi-final again.

Eurohandball.com: Ciudad Real are Spanish champions. What is more important: Champions League or national championship title?

Stefansson: We have the chance to win five titles each season: one international and four national ones. Our objective is to win all five titles and than we can be satisfied. But if we try to compare, the Champions League success would be more important, though winning the Spanish champion is also a good feeling.

Eurohandball.com: Which teams will be the strongest in Liga Asobal?

Stefansson: Barcelona has improved and they are even more hungry for success than we are after not winning much in the last years. They’ll be back. And then there are Portland, Valladolid and Leon. One of these teams – including us – will win the title.

Against Veszprém in the CL Final still as a Magdeburg playerEurohandball.com: You won the Champions League twice, with Magdeburg and with Ciudad Real. Which title was more important for you?

Stefansson: You can’t compare the two titles. Every Champions League title is a success for life; this is something very special for every player. Each time you lift he trophy, it’s a great moment.


TEXT: Björn Pazen
 
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