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24.05.2014, 18:47
“All players should dream of winning the title”
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EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Flensburg’s Ljubomir Vranjes is the first Swedish coach at the VELUX EHF FINAL4 and tries to make his side’s preparation as normal as possible for the clash with Barcelona
 

“All players should dream of winning the title”

Ljubomir Vranjes is the last man standing from SG Flensburg-Handewitt’s last EHF Champions League Final appearance. In 2007 Vranjes was a player, when they were defeated by THW Kiel. Now the Swede arrives for the first time with his team at the VELUX EHF FINAL4 in Cologne.

In this exclusive interview with ehfCL.com he relives the quarter-finals, but mainly looks ahead at what will count in the semi-final against FC Barcelona.

ehfCL.com: The ticket to Cologne was in danger during the second leg of the quarter-finals in Skopje. When did you realise that Flensburg had qualified?

Ljubomir Vranjes: After all those ups and downs – only in the final second, when I saw that Vardar could not score anymore with their last shot. But until then we all really worried.

ehfCL.com: Is it a special honour for you to be the first Swedish coach in the history of the VELUX EHF FINAL4?

Ljubomir Vranjes: Really? I did not think about that, but you are right, it is also good for Sweden – but even in the Bundesliga I am currently the only Swedish coach.

ehfCL.com: Have you attended the VELUX EHF FINAL4 as a spectator before?

Ljubomir Vranjes: Yes and it is a giant event like a final of a world or European championship. The event in Cologne is even a step ahead and more professional, compared to our German Cup final tournament.

ehfCL.com: You face Barcelona in the semi-final. Is this a herculean task?

Ljubomir Vranjes: No, it is a normal match. 60 minutes, one ball, two referees, two goals and 16 players each. We have to fade out everything else, just concentrate on this task to play our first semi-final.

But we all know that to play in Cologne is different, none of our players ever experienced this event, even though some of them played finals of world or European championships. But I have no sorrows that my players may get side-tracked, in contrast. I told them just to enjoy this weekend. Compared to the three other teams we are a small club. So we should be proud to be part of the event and to enjoy every single minute together with our fans.

ehfCL.com: So you think that Flensburg is the clear underdog?

Ljubomir Vranjes: In any case, yes! Barcelona is the main favourite to win the trophy and they had been in this role already before this season. Personally I am really looking forward to this duel. We are the underdogs, the expectations are not that high and no one expects wonders from our team. We like this role.

ehfCL.com: Is it possible to stop Barcelona?

Ljubomir Vranjes: There are two or three things we have to take care of for all the 60 minutes: The problem is that if we control one player, they still have so many world class players, who are unstoppable. It will be my job as the coach to have a clue about what to do.

ehfCL.com: Do you allow your players to dream of winning the title?

Ljubomir Vranjes: Definitely! I even suggested my players to imagine how it could feel and look like when raising the trophy in Cologne. But it is definitely also not our style to speak about winning the trophy, as this would sound arrogant towards all other opponents. To dream and to believe is allowed, but not to talk about it.


TEXT: Björn Pazen / cor
 
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