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18.02.2014, 15:42
A happy Maike März refuses to calculate
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INTERVIEW: The Thüringer HC goalkeeper talks about the team's dream to reach the Women's EHF FINAL4 in Budapest and the success they have already enjoyed
 

A happy Maike März refuses to calculate

Since the implementation of the main round in the Women’s EHF Champions League for the 2007/08 season, no German team ever won a single match – Thüringer HC now did, even two to be precise. First against Midtjylland, then against Sävehof.

Since the start of the competition in 1993 no German team made it to the semi-finals – Thüringer HC now hope for it.

And the chances are not that bad as the main round has reached its “half-time” with three matches played by each team.

However, while all THC players and officials remain humble, goalkeeper Maike März in this exclusive interview with ehfcl.com says it is allowed to dream of the EHF FINAL4 in Budapest.

The hopes of the German champions prior to the main round had been dented by a series of long-term injuries, including one for playmaker Kerstin Wohlbold who ruptured her cruciate ligament in November and is out for the rest of the season.

But the team compensates these injuries with fighting spirit and well integrated newcomers such as Svenja Huber who joined in December.

ehfcl.com: After being hit hard by injuries, did you expect to have four points on your account after three main round matches?
Maike März: You cannot say that we expected this outcome, but we know – despite the injuries – that we are strong enough to beat most teams in Europe, maybe excluding Györ.

We know what we are able to; we knew that we had chances to beat Midtjylland and Sävehof. And we are even happier that we managed to do it.

ehfcl.com: Do these results put pressure on you, having in mind that you might reach the EHF FINAL4?
Maike März: Of course, we dream of Budapest, but there is absolutely no pressure on our shoulders. We have already reached much more than we expected.

First we qualified for the main round from a tough group, and then we won two main round matches as the first German team ever. Everything what follows is a bonus for us.

ehfcl.com: Have you already started calculating how many points your team needs to book the ticket to Budapest?
Maike März: No, we haven’t calculated so far – but in the end the competition maths is quite easy: If we take at least one point from our two remaining away matches and beat Skopje at home, it might already be enough. Vardar are not unbeatable.

They were close to lose against Sävehof and at home against Midtjylland. In my opinion this group will be thrilling until the end, as no team can easily cast-off the rest of their opponents. Even Skopje are not through the gate to the FINAL4 by now.

ehfcl.com: Will your final match at Midtjylland be the key for the ticket to Budapest, either for THC or the Danes?
Maike März: It might be, but we have the chance to gain some points already in both matches before that.

ehfcl.com: What would it mean to you to become the first German semi-finalists in the history of the Women’s EHF Champions League?
Maike März: It is a long way to go there, so we should be humble. We ride on a wave of enthusiasm – and maybe we can even ride further on it. But at the moment we are only happy with what we have reached already.

ehfcl.com: Is it hard to focus on the German league at the same time in which you are currently ranked first again?
Maike März: No, it is the major strength of our team that we are fully motivated for every match, regardless whether we face the last team in the Bundesliga or the top team in the Champions League.

Motivation is one of the major strengths of (head coach) Herbert Müller. Furthermore we are a team which never gives up, as we proved against Midtjylland.

Even when we are down by five or six goals, we can come back. And regarding the Bundesliga: We know that is our bread and butter to be successful there in order qualify against for the Champions League.

So we first need to become German champions again to gain this great experience in the best club competition of the world.


TEXT: Björn Pazen / ts
 
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