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26.09.2007, 16:57
First time excitement for Hamburg
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First time, first love – the Handball club HSV Hamburg is looking forward to their first ever EHF Champions League match. On Thursday Germany’s runner-up – Kiel was crowned champion on goal difference – will start the “adventure” against Viborg HK. Before this match HSV-coach Martin Schwalb, who has just extended his contract, talks to eurohandball.com about the importance of the CL for the 2007 EC Cup winner and the objectives the club has.
 

FIRST TIME EXCITEMENT FOR HAMBURG

First time, first love – the Handball club HSV Hamburg is looking forward to their first ever EHF Champions League match. On Thursday Germany’s runner-up – Kiel was crowned champion on goal difference – will start the “adventure” against Viborg HK. Before this match HSV-coach Martin Schwalb, who has just extended his contract, talks to eurohandball.com about the importance of the CL for the 2007 EC Cup winner and the objectives the club has.

Eurohandball.com: Mr. Schwalb, if you have to compare the Toyota-Bundesliga and EHF Champions league – which competition has the greater value for you and your club?

Schwalb: You cannot compare both competitions. The Champions League is European “king’s class”. You play against the best teams of the world. The Bundesliga is our “daily work”, but you have to be strong in the league, otherwise you cannot qualify for the Champions League.

Eurohandball.com: It’s the first time ever that you and your club will play in the Champions League – are those matches the same as any other matches? How are your emotions before?

Schwalb: Naturally every CL match is something very special. We have the chance to meet the best teams of the world. I like this feeling – the whole club is a little tense before the start.

Eurohandball.com: Will your team be able to play with the best squad against Viborg?

Schwalb: Our captain Guillaume Gille will definitely not play, due to a leg injury. It will be very hard to substitute him. But we have a balanced team with a lot of good players. I do not think that the Gille problem will have too much influence on our match. We still hope that our new player Hans Lindbergh will be able to play – especially as we meet his former club Viborg. In case Hans cannot play, we have a problem, as we do not have any alternative for the right wing position.

Eurohandball.com: Your team is runner-up in one of the best leagues in the world – so every German team wants to play a good role in the CL. What are the objectives of HSV Handball?

Schwalb: We want to “survive” the first group phase, this is our main and first objective – but it will be hard when we look at the opponents we have to play against. In case we reach the second group phase, you cannot say at this time, what the next objectives will be – everything depends on the draw. If we are lucky, we can aim to go to the semi-final – this would be a dream. But remaining realistic, we first talk about reaching the second group phase.

Eurohandball.com: You spoke about your opponents: Your group plays under the headline “Go east” with matches against Chechow in Russia and Zaporoschje in Ukraine. What is more difficult: Travelling or playing?

Schwalb: We take every team for serious and have a lot of respect. If you look at Chechow: We play against the Russian national-team – so why should we not take them seriously? I think, Chechow is the favourite in our group.

Eurohandball.com: How big is the burde, caused by this international matches?

Schwalb: Naturally the whole season is a big burden – and this subject is not only discussed in Germany. But I think: If you have a lot of matches, you have and had a lot of success. And this is what we want,: success. We change our training sessions concerning this burden, so that the players can recover more.

Eurohandball.com: If you look at the next two months – are these the „months of truth“?

Schwalb: No. We only look from match to match – and all decisions will be taken at the end of a season, in the Bundesliga and in the Champions League. So every match is important, not only in the next two months. 
 
Eurohandball.com: Some national and international experts say, HSV Hamburg is one of the favourites to win the Champions League. What’s your opinion?

Schwalb: They are totally stupid! We will play for the first time in the EHF Champions League and we do not think about being a favourite. There are so many teams with much more experience in the CL. We want to come as far as possible – but the role of the favourite has to be carried by other teams.

 


TEXT: Björn Pazern
 
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