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29.07.2015, 20:20
No pressure on Landin’s shoulders at prestigious Kiel
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INTERVIEW OF THE WEEK: THW Kiel’s new Danish goalkeeper speaks about moving to the coast, Icelandic coaches and his dream of playing in Cologne
 

No pressure on Landin’s shoulders at prestigious Kiel

Three weeks ago, Niklas Landin moved to a new home in Kiel. After three years in the jersey of Rhein-Neckar Löwen the Danish national team goalkeeper took the next step in his career and he will be expected to lead from the back as the German club aim for anonther run to the VELUX EHF FINAL4.

His transfer to THW was announced nearly a year ago, but that has not dampened expectation surrounding his arrival. However, the 2012 EHF EURO and 2013 EHF Cup champion certainly was not hoping to start preseason in his current state – suffering a groin injury and currently training apart from the team.

But the 26-year-old hopes for a comeback on court for the start of the season, at the very latest when the VELUX EHF Champions League throws off. Kiel have plenty of tough challenges to overcome in the group phase, such as 2015 finalist Veszprem, star-studded PSG and 2013 champions SG Flensburg-Handewitt.

In our interview of the week, Landin shares his feelings on the transfer, his experience with Icelandic coaches, how it feels to be on court with his younger brother and what goes through his mind at the finals of major championships.

ehfcl.com: Did you manage your move successfully?

Niklas Landin: Yes, without any problems. All my furniture is in Kiel and my sister’s boyfriend helped us with moving.

eurohandball.com: Have you had time to stroll around Kiel or has it just been training, training, training so far?

Niklas Landin: We have two training sessions per day, but I saw a lot of Kiel. The weather is like in Scandinavia, but we had several sunny days so far. But of course the city is completely different compared to Heidelberg, where I lived before.

ehfcl.com: What is your first impression of the preparation at THW?

Niklas Landin: I think the first part of the preparation is equal everywhere in the handball world. Running means running all over the globe. Icelandic coaches and Danish coaches - like Gudmundsson, Jacobsen or Gislason now - have the same intention, how the preparation should start. But due to my groin injury currently I have individual training sessions, so I run less but I am more in the gym or the swimming pool.

ehfcl.com: How was your first few days among your new teammates?

Niklas Landin: Simply perfect! Most of them I knew from matches against them in the league or the national team. So it was anything but difficult to join the team.

ehfcl.com: And as Rene Toft Hansen is also on the team, you can even speak Danish.

Niklas Landin: But only when we are alone, during training and matches we speak German.

ehfcl.com: What are your goals and reasons for the transfer to Kiel? Is the focus more on Bundesliga or VELUX EHF Champions League?

Niklas Landin: Definitely on both competitions, but to be honest, my first and biggest individual goal is to become German champion. Twice, in 2014 and 2015, Kiel snatched the title from us in a close run for the trophy. More so in 2014 it was really hard, when we lost the title in the very last minute of the season, when Kiel only beat us on goal difference. It was true pain they caused me and Rhein-Neckar Löwen.

 

Godt på vej tilbage med Hinrich Brockmann 💪💦 #reha

Ein von Niklas Landin (@niklaslandin) gepostetes Foto am

ehfcl.com: In the VELUX EHF Champions League you and your new teammates need to prove your strengths in a group without easy opponents?

Niklas Landin: This is really an incredible group, we face the best of the best already in the group phase. We will have tough but thrilling matches right from the start. Half of the group has the ambition to make it to the VELUX EHF FINAL4 in Cologne - this says it all.

ehfcl.com: Is Cologne also your personal dream destination?

Niklas Landin: Indeed. I have never been part of this event. In 2014, we had missed the ticket to the FINAL4 by a single goal against Barcelona in the quarter-finals, so it is another personal dream to make it there.

ehfcl.com: You are the most important signing of THW for the coming season and you are among the best goalkeepers in the world. Do you feel a particular pressure on your shoulders?

Niklas Landin: I never put pressure on myself, as I only focus on what is happening on court. You should not think so much about what people say or write - otherwise you cannot keep a clear head. So I do not feel any particular pressure at the moment.

ehfcl.com: In the Danish national team, you learnt to cope with pressure, being EHF EURO finalist twice in 2012 and 2014, when you won gold and silver. Is the final of the 2016 EHF EURO in Krakow another dream goal of you?

Niklas Landin: The EHF EURO is quite far away for me. Everybody wants to make it to the final, but as the World Championship in January in Qatar proved, currently some teams are better than Denmark. So we should be humble.

ehfcl.com: But in Qatar you and Denmark booked the ticket for the Olympic Qualification already. In Poland, you can grab the straight ticket to Rio by becoming European champions. Will you be bearing that in mind?

Niklas Landin: We did it twice in 2008 and 2012, so why not again? But this is still another dream. We do not say right now: Ok, let’s go to Poland to qualify directly for Rio. Maybe we can talk about it when we make it to the final against world champions France - as then we would have booked the plane to Rio regardless of the result.

ehfcl.com: Speaking of France: In 2014 you clearly lost the EHF EURO Final on home court, similar to the previous year’s World Championship final in Spain. How did you finally handle those defeats?

Niklas Landin: I hope that those clear defeats are out of our heads now. And even more I hope that we learnt our lesson from those matches.

ehfcl.com: During Denmark’s last EHF EURO 2016 qualification matches against Bosnia and Lithuania you were on court with your younger brother Magnus. Will we see two Landins at the final tournament?

Niklas Landin: It was terrific to be on court with him. It would be perfect if he would be in the team for Poland, but he is young and still has a lot of time to develop, as he is still part of our junior team. But I really hope that we will many more matches in the national team with two Landins.

ehfcl.com: THW Kiel and the Danish national team have one thing in common - Icelandic coaches. What makes them so special?

Niklas Landin: I need to get to know Alfred Gislason much more, but in general, all Icelandic coaches share the same idea: to win every match and to give it your all. This mentality is quite similar to the Danish mentality.


TEXT: Björn Pazen / cor
 
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