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29.05.2015, 17:27
Record breaking media interest for players and coaches
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FEATURE: More than 150 journalists raise their questions at the VELUX EHF FINAL4 media call

»EHF CL Channel »2014-15 Men's CL
»Final Four
»
 

Record breaking media interest for players and coaches

More than 150 journalists including 20 TV teams from all over Europe had gathered for the Media Call of the VELUX EHF FINAL4 in the Radisson BLU Hotel on Friday, one day prior to the semi-finals – the biggest number of media representatives at FINAL4 media calls to date.

Five players, the coach and the manager of each team answered the questions – and for some like Nikola Karabatic (FC Barcelona) or Talant Dujshebaev (Vive Tauron Kielce) the interest was so huge that they even had to leave the hotel lobby to have enough space outside.

It were not only journalist from Germany, Spain, Hungary and Poland, who took part in this media event. “We are proud to see such a great number of you here. Your coverage is extremely important for the EHF and this event,” said EHF president Jean Brihault before the start of the media call.

For two hours the four semi-finalists were in the focus – and all four showed their confidence to have a successful weekend in Cologne. All agreed on the high level of this year’s event, like Siarhei Rutenka (FC Barcelona), who can win the VELUX EHF Champions League for the sixth time: “This year, the FINAL4 in Cologne is not so easy to predict, all teams are on a high and equal level.”

Who scores Barcelona's 7,000th goal?

And in the Barcelona squad the bets have been started, which player will score the eighth goal in the first semi-final against Vive Tauron Kielce – as this will be the 7,000th EHF Champions League goal in the club history: “Kiro Lazarov will be the one”, said team captain Victor Tomas. “Victor Tomas”, is the prediction of manager Xavier O’Callaghan. “Maybe our goalkeeper,” said coach Xavi Pascual.

Their opponent from Poland is well prepared for Barcelona – maybe as their coach Talant Dujshebaev has a lot of experience in coaching teams like Ciudad Real and Atletico Madrid, who faced Barcelona very often. “If we do, what Talant has told us, then we have a chance,” left back Michal Jurecki is confident.

Dujshebaev was “absolutely surprised” that he was voted “best Champions League coach of the season”: “I did not expect it at all, but handball is a team sport – and it is only the success of the team that counts in the end.”

In the second semi-final three times EHF Champions League winners THW Kiel and Hungarian side MKB-MVM Veszprem will face in Cologne.

Steffen Weinhold – 2014 VELUX EHF Champions League champion with SG Flensburg-Handewitt – is the only player since 2009, who has the chance to defend the title.

For the German international the VELUX EHF FINAL4 is the absolute highlighter of the season: “This weekend is the biggest handball event of the world, so everyone wants to be here for sure.

"During the past weeks everyone says we need to concentrate on the Bundesliga first, but to be honest: as soon as you know that you will be in Cologne not one day goes past when you do not think about it at least once.”

Toft Hansen hopes for second family trophy

And one family dream can come true in the THW squad: Line player Rene can become the second of the Toft Hansen family to win the VELUX EHF FINAL4 after his brother Henrik raised the trophy in 2013 with HSV Hamburg.

“For me it is completely different now than it was for him before. They were clear underdogs with Hamburg that time, while we as THW Kiel cannot be named underdogs. So our expectation is little bit different. Anyway, we are not the top favourite here,” Toft Hansen said.

Veszprem’s coach Antonio Carlos Ortega, who took the title six times as a Barcelona player and now can win it for the first time as a coach, is “highly excited”: “ This semi-final is the most important game of the season. We are ready to fight and we have prepared well for this match. We are ready to compete at a level of 120 percent to beat Kiel.”

Team captain Laszlo Nagy, who won the EHF Champions League twice in the jersey of FC Barcelona, expects a highly close fight in the re-match of last year’s semi-final (29:26 in favour of Kiel).

“Everything is open this time. We will see four equal teams more or less. I don't care that much about opponents. When you want to win such trophy, you need to win against anyone, no matter who it is,” Nagy said.

Check the pictures from the media call here


TEXT: EHF / br
 
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