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31.03.2015, 11:51
Commentary is about showing emotions
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VOICES OF THE CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: To Danish TV commentator Jens Jacob Juulsager, handball commentary is far from only a question of analysing
 

Commentary is about showing emotions

“Of course, you can show your emotions and show that you support the Danish team, when it is involved.”

Jens Jacob Juulsager, commentator at DR TV, which is the Danish host broadcaster for VELUX EHF Champions League as well as Women's EHF Champions League matches, is not in doubt - you are allowed to show feelings.

“Obviously, as commentators were are first and foremost expected to be objective, but if a Danish team is involved, it is okay and even expected by the viewers, that you take the side of the Danish team,” says 28-year-old Jens Jacob Juulsager, who had been commentating handball for DR since 2012.

On Danish TV, like on TV in so many other countries these days, there are almost always two commentators on each live match – a main commentator and an expert.

Most of the matches, Jens Jacob Juulsager has been commenting for DR, his expert partner has been future assistant coach at the Danish women's national team, Soren Herskind.

“In order to work as a good commentary team, you need to have a good personal relationship, know the other person well - also outside the handball arena.

“Furthermore, it is obvious that the roles have to be defined clearly. I have to create the atmosphere, while the expert's task is to give the insightful analysis,” Jens Jacob Juulsager tells ehfCL.com.

Easy to get carried away

“The more handball matches you watch, the more you feel you know about the game. This tempts you to give your own estimates and analysis and thereby take over the expert´s job. That is something you definitely have to be aware of.

“Personally, I have not played enough handball to feel that I have the great insight in the game. But, of course, I have got the feeling that I know more about it, the more matches I watch and comment - and I have had a few discussions with my expert colleague from time to time,” admits Jens Jacob Juulsager, who does not only commentate the  Champions League for DR, but also World Championships and European Championships.

As he has already admitted, it is neither easy nor really expected from him to remain neutral when teams from his own country are involved.

“You develop a certain sympathy for the Danish teams you follow. And I have to admit that it was a tough Sunday recently, when both Danish teams in the VELUX EHF Champions League were sent out of the Last 16.

“We knew it would happen to Aalborg, as they met Barcelona. Even before their 20-goal defeat at home in the first leg, they were obviously without a chance.

“However, it was a disappointment to see KIF Kolding Kobenhavn being sent out by Zagreb, a team that was not really better than them,” says Juulsager, who was commentator the only time Denmark has had a team at the VELUX EHF FINAL4 so far – in 2012 when AG Kobenhavn finished third in the LANXESS arena of Cologne.

This year, no Danish team will be going to Cologne, but Juulsager will.

With his expert partner, Soren Herskind, he will be commentating the FINAL4 in May, and although it will be without Danish representation on the court again this year, he has not given up the hope of seeing a Danish team in Cologne again some day.

“If you look at the squad, KIF Kolding Kobenhavn have, and at the way they started their Champions League campaign this season – by virtually thrashing SG Flensburg-Handewitt 35:21 – I don't see it as entirely impossible that they can make it, with a bit of luck at the draws,” he says.

Viborg as underdogs

All Danish teams are not out of the Champions League yet, though.

Viborg HK are still in the Women's EHF Champions League, where the Danish champions are up against Buducnost in the quarter-finals over the coming two Sundays - and on those occasions, Juulsager will be at the microphone again.

He realises that it takes a certain optimism to believe that Danish handball will still be represented in the competition after those two matches.

“We must say that Buducnost are favourites. They are one of the best teams in Europe, and they are playing the second leg at home, so Viborg are obviously underdogs. However, Viborg are beginning to get their key players back from injury. Sanja Damnjanovic has showed an impressive level lately, and Mette Gravholt as well as Isabelle Gulldén are back on court.

"This gives Viborg a first seven who can match most teams in Europe which may result in an interesting first match in Viborg. But not even a Viborg team in their strongest outfit would probably be able to defeat Buducnost over two matches,” finds Jens Jacob Juulsager.

Lackovic changed the language

Anyone who has ever worked as a sports commentator or reporter will know that unexpected events occur along the way. This has also happened to Jens Jacob Juulsager.

“Once, after a match, I was going to make a live interview with Blazenko Lackovic. I got hold of him and asked him in English if he was up for a live interview which he confirmed. So I reported back to the studio that I was ready to talk to Lackovic."

“However, only seconds before the studio switched over to me, he asked if we could do the interview in German! It's not my strongest language, but I did my best to conduct the interview in my best school German - and I think it went okay!” Jens Jacob Juulsager remembers.
 


TEXT: Peter Bruun / me
 
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