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12.03.2016, 08:50
Jaanimaa: “Kiel might only phone you once”
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NEWS FEATURE: Estonian international Dener Jaanimaa grabs his chance to live his dream at THW Kiel
 

Jaanimaa: “Kiel might only phone you once”

“Hello, this is THW Kiel. Do you want to play for us?”

It was end of January when Dener Jaanimaa answered the call from the German champions. The 26-year-old Estonian was unemployed due to the demise of his previous club HSV Hamburg.

The left-handed right back was searching for a new club and had already entered some negotiations. However, as soon as THW called, he cancelled the rest: “Kiel might only phone you once in a lifetime and you have to grab this chance.”

Jaanimaa is the first Estonian to play in the VELUX EHF Champions League of THW Kiel, but not the first Estonian to play in this competition.

“There were a few, like Mait Patrail, but of course it was big news in Estonian media when I signed for Kiel. It is good for Estonian handball when we are in the news.”

His contract only runs until the end of this season - but despite this short-term move, Jaanimaa is very satisfied to get this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

His joy is closely combined with the bad luck of Steffen Weinhold. When he tore an adductor muscle at the EHF EURO main round match against Russia in Wroclaw, he did not only miss the rest of the tournament, but his season is also in doubt.

So Kiel - shocked already by the long-term injuries of Patrick Wiencek, Rene Toft Hansen and the additional mid-term injury of Christian Dissinger - needed to react.

They had signed already Croatian line player Ilja Brozovic from 2013 champions Hamburg and Jaanimaa soon followed.

“As we did not play any European Cup competition, I was eligible to play in the Champions League, maybe this was my advantage,” says Jaanimaa, looking back on his negotiations with manager Thorsten Storm.

Before he had joined Hamburg, he had played for the German clubs Aue and Eisenach after he had started his career at the “Chocolate Boys” in Estonian capital Tallinn. “Some weeks ago I was without a club, now I fight for the German championship and I am part of the Champions League knockout rounds – it is simply amazing.

“Kiel is something very, very special, when you play handball.”

Jaanimaa is the number 2 on the right back position at THW, his job is to relieve Serbian shooter Marko Vujin. But in the match at Besiktas, Jaanimaa grabbed his chance, netting in five times and already has nine goals in the competition.

Now the Estonian and his new team will face Pick Szeged in the Last 16.

“We have the chance to proceed to a great quarter-final against Barcelona. But Szeged are not easy to beat. Still, for me personally it is a dream coming true, playing a Last 16 match in this competition,” Jaanimaa says, adding: “I will take my chances to help the team as much as I can in my time at Kiel.”

To become German champion and to make it to the VELUX EHF FINAL4 would be the icing on Jaanimaa’s Kiel cake, but he admits that “extremely high hurdles are on our way to reach these goals.”

Dener Jaanimaa does not know what his future will bring after the end of this season, but he does not care about this fact: “I will enjoy every moment and wait to see what will happen.”


TEXT: Björn Pazen / cor
 
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