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04.03.2008, 10:58
Reaching for the last chance
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Read an exclusive interview with Francois Xavier Houlet, Sports Director of VfL Gummersbach.
 

Reaching for the last chance

They still have a chance to reach the CL semi-final and they are really “hot” favourites for winning against Montpellier: VfL Gummersbach are highly motivated for the next ten days when they play against Montpellier and Ciudad Real (CL) and also against Kiel and Hamburg (Bundesliga) – says Sports Director Francois Xavier Houlet. In an exclusive interview with Eurohandball.com, the Frenchman explains how his club goes for a sensational success.

Gummersbach play in the splendid KölnarenaEurohandball.com: With the fifth round coming up in the CL Main Round, everything is still possible in your group after Ciudad Real lost in Montpellier. Did you expect that?

Houlet: We were hoping for it, but at first we had to win our own match in Velenje. This was a brilliant performance by VfL, so now we still have a chance to reach the semi-final – even if it seems to be a mathematical chance.

We win have to win both matches against Montpellier and Ciudad Real. This will be very tough, but we believe in ourselves. If we can win on Wednesday against Montpellier, we will be leading the ranking until Sunday. This is enough motivation.

Eurohandball.com: Do you regret losing points against Montpellier and Ciudad Real?

Houlet: As we played in Montpellier, it would have been very difficult to win. On the other hand, our match against Ciudad Real at home was dramatic.

The game against Ciudad was "dramatic"We should have won that match as we played better. In case of a victory, we would have gained a lot of more confidence for the next matches. But we don’t look at the past, only at the future. It’s all over with this defeat, but we still have a chance to have a better result on direct encounters if we can beat Ciudad by two goals on their court.

Eurohandball.com: Gummersbach lost the first match in Montpellier. What has to change to win on Wednesday?

Houlet: You just have to look at the goal difference of this match: Montpellier scored 41 and this says everything. We have to play more aggressively in the defence – especially against their backcourt player Hmam. In this case we have a chance. Our attack was doing well in the last matches.

Eurohandball.com: Are all the key players fit for the match?

Houlet: Vedran Zrnic is still injured, but all the others seem to be okay. Robert Gunnarsson was a bit ill, so he didn’t play in Velenje, but he’s fit again against Montpellier.

Eurohandball.com: Your team has a tough programme for the next two weeks…

The fans do not have priorities: they always want to winHoulet: Yes, indeed. Within ten days we will play against Montpellier, Kiel, Hamburg and Ciudad Real – four matches against world class teams. This is great, and this is the best motivation for our players: one highlight after the other.

Eurohandball.com: What’s your priority for the final stage of the season – Champions League or Bundesliga?

Houlet: The national league is more important for every German club, except THW Kiel. But we came so far in the Champions League that we want to take every chance we get in this competition. Our players always have the same thing on their mind: they want to win every match, if it’s Bundesliga or Champions League.


TEXT: Björn Pazen
 
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