Rene Toft Hansen: "We know our strengths"
One of the keys to the Danish gold medal at EHF EURO 2012 in Serbia: Rene Toft Hansen was awarded best line player of the EURO as member of the All-Star-Team.
But also at a club level Rene – playing together with his brother Henrik at AG Kobenhavn – is very successful. On Sunday, the brothers will face THW Kiel in the final and decisive match for the Group D victory of the VELUX EHF Champions League.
If Kobenhavn win, they'll be ranked number one in the knock-out stage, and the match is something special for the 27 year old pivot as he will transfer to THW next season. “No problem”, says Toft Hansen in this exclusive interview with ehfCL.com.
ehfCL.com: AG Kobenhavn play for the first time ever in the VELUX EHF Champions League. Did you expect to be so close to the Group victory one match before the end?
Rene Toft Hansen: When we saw the result of the draw, the club's official statement was that we aimed to win the group. Based on this we cannot claim to be surprised that we now have the chance to win it, but it is a tough group and we are proud of our results so far. We have not won anything yet though.
ehfCL.com: You won all your previous home matches this season – is AGK the favourite on Sunday?
Rene Toft Hansen: I think it is very even. We were very strong in Kiel, but they still won. We have built a very strong home arena with a great crowd. We play to win, but it will be very close.
ehfCL.com: What is a certain strength AGK has as a team?
Rene Toft Hansen: You will have to ask that question to our opponents.
ehfCL.com: Some opponents reduce AGK to Mikkel Hansen and Gudjon Valur Sigurdsson – is this tough for the rest of the team or – in contrast – gives you more chances?
Rene Toft Hansen: We really do not think much about what people say or do not say. We know our strengths and we play our own game.
ehfCL.com: After your victory in Montpellier, the French players and media praised your team – do you agree that AGK is already amongst the top six teams in Europe?
Rene Toft Hansen: We need to prove that. We have the players to go all the way, but we must prove it as a team before we can say anything like that.
ehfCL.com: Your club’s plan is to win the VELUX EHF Champions League in the upcoming years – is your team already a candidate for reaching the VELUX EHF FINAL4 this season?
Rene Toft Hansen: Of course.
ehfCL.com: You will change your club next season from AGK to THW – is this strange situation for you to face your upcoming club?
Rene Toft Hansen: I concentrate on my present team.
ehfCL.com: After winning the Gold medal at the EHF EURO in Serbia – did the interest in handball also rise on club level in Kobenhavn?
Rene Toft Hansen: Last year we broke the world record for the highest attendance for a club handball game, we have a sell out crowd every time we play and AG København is already a very strong brand. Naturally, the gold medals helped us too.
TEXT: Björn Pazen