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18.02.2016, 14:30
The wings of success
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FACE2FACE: The Kielce vs Löwen duel will be headlined by German stars Tobias Reichmann and Uwe Gensheimer.
 

The wings of success

One was Germany captain and the team’s top scorer at the World Championship 2015; the other was champion, All-star right wing and the top German scorer at the EHF EURO 2016 in Poland in January. 

On Saturday, Uwe Gensheimer (29) and Tobias Reichmann (27) will fight on the same side of the court when KS Vive Tauron Kielce host Rhein-Neckar Löwen in the ehfTV VELUX EHF Champions League Match of the Week.

When Reichmann won the EURO final in Krakow against Spain (24:17), Gensheimer was shouting, cheering and jumping in the stands of TAURON Arena, as he missed playing the EURO due to an injury. But Gensheimer received his gold medal on the winners’ podium before returning to the court in Round 11 of the VELUX EHF Champions League, when Löwen beat Vardar last weekend.

“This two-month injury break was anything but easy for me. I would have loved to be the captain of the German team at the EURO, but in the end, I feel pure joy for the rest, as thanks to them we are qualified for the Olympic Games and the next World Championship,” Gensheimer told ehfCL.com.

The Löwen right wing is looking forward to the match against Kielce and Reichmann: “A duel against a national team colleague is always special, mainly in the situation we have now. Besides, every match in Kielce is incredible due to the atmosphere and it is real fun to play there.”

Reichmann is also full of anticipation: 

“I have recovered physically and mentally from the EURO and all celebration and appointments we had later. Unfortunately, I missed our match with the national team against the Bundesliga All-stars as I was on court for Kielce less than a week after our triumph in Krakow.”

Reichmann is one of four EHF EURO 2016 All-star team members in Kielce’s squad, alongside Julen Aguinagalde (Spain), Michal Jurecki (Poland) and Manuel Strlek (Croatia). And, like Aguinagalde, Strlek and Croatian wing Ivan Cupic he is one of four EURO medallists in his club team. 

The number of national team matches Reichmann has played by Gensheimer’s side is very low: “My only two major tournaments were the World Championship 2013 and the 2016 EURO, and in both cases Uwe missed those events due to injuries.” 

But who is the better wing now? It seems as though Gensheimer and Reichmann pre-arranged their statements – but both swear they did not. 

“We have completely different strengths and we are totally different characters on court,” is what both say, adding in almost the exact same words: “While Tobias has physical advantages and an extra-ordinary jumping power, Uwe has greater options in his throws and a rubber arm.”

Both are the penalty experts for their teams: “When we met in the national team, we had extra training sessions from the penalty line. As everybody saw, Tobi did a great job during the EURO. His penalties were a key for the trophy,” Gensheimer praises his upcoming opponent. “Tobi is 100 per cent a team player, giving all for the team’s success.”

After those mutual accolades, the opinions on Saturday’s match are divided and different. 

“I guess there’s no true favourite. It is a 50:50 match, though we have the home advantage on our side and one day more to recover from an easier league match,” Reichmann says.

“The cards are stacked against us, because compared to Kielce and Barcelona we have more pressure in our league. We have to save power for the domestic competitions, but I still hope to have a close fight for the first position in our really equal Champions League group,” Gensheimer replies.

His Löwen team do not only travel to Kielce on Saturday, but also to Barcelona in the final round of the group phase. 

“We have a clear focus on the Champions League, as the thrill in our league starts only with the play-off matches,” Reichmann points out the differences between Bundesliga and Superliga. “It is our great dream to make it to Cologne again. But this season it is much tougher than before.”

At least the German wings share this dream, as Gensheimer says: “When the knock-out stage of the Champions League arrives, we will try everything to make it to Cologne.”


TEXT: Bjorn Pazen / cg
 
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