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18.03.2016, 18:00
Källman: Kiel are like a machine
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FEATURE: Szeged’s Swedish star about his best memories of Kiel, how to beat the German giants and how you should never be content with what you’ve achieved.
 

Källman: Kiel are like a machine

MOL-Pick Szeged once again meet THW Kiel in the knockout stage of the VELUX EHF Champions League but this time "only" the quarter-final is at stake, not the VELUX EHF FINAL4.

Jonas Källman and his Szeged teammates are concentrating on themselves not the injury crisis of their opponents and with all due respect aim to get past the German powerhouse.

"It’s not a very difficult question, you know," smiled Jonas Källman when he was asked about his favourite memory of THW Kiel.

"Back in 2008 we lost the first leg of the final at home with Ciudad Real and everybody expected Kiel to defend their title. We played an excellent game in Kiel and managed to win the heated match, which, as you may remember very well, ended in a brawl.”

MOL-Pick Szeged’s Swedish superstar had a fair share of top battles during his eleven year stint with Ciudad Real and Atlético Madrid but also with Szeged. Källman joined the Hungarian runners-up in 2014 and once again tasted international success when Pick won the EHF Cup in Berlin.

However, the Swedish left wing was recovering from an injury and missed the FINAL4 but one year later Källman was the focal point as Szeged made it past Rhein-Neckar Löwen in the European top flight.

The game in Mannheim was important for yet another reason.

"Our away record is not the best but it’s not like we can’t play away from home. Beating Löwen in Germany is not something bad teams do, right? And we deserved that victory. We played really well that day and we also had some strong away performances this year.

"Take our trip to Kielce: we were up front for most of the game but eventually lost. This is handball. You don’t concentrate for one minute of the sixty and you lose,” added Källman.

Kiel, a familiar foe

Källman has played a good couple of games against Kiel and admires the German outfit for how they have remained a top side for such a long time.

"Kiel are like a machine, they just won’t quit. No matter what happens with the team during the season in the end you’ll find them fighting for trophies.”

The German powerhouse underwent major changes in the summer but Källman does not think it will be any easier to beat them than a year ago.

"Weaker? I don’t think so. Younger maybe. They might have lost some big names last summer but still have their heavyweight players and added a few very talented youngsters. It’s not the quality that bothers them but the injury crises that hit the club hard this year.”

"This team has a winning DNA which is not a surprise as they have one of the best coaches in the world. The team is different from last year and as compared to Szeged they have a lot of work to do to build up the team. We have few new players, our team is practically the same as the one that beat Kiel at home.”

How to hunt down a Zebra

"I think it is safe to say that for us to eliminate Kiel the best performance of our season needs to be delivered. I know our fans would not settle for less than a 100 percent effort and we want to make them as happy as last year, when we ousted Rhein-Neckar Löwen. Kiel are an even tougher opponent but we know how to beat them.”

So how?

"I am not going to reveal our plans if you don’t mind,” laughed the Swedish star. "Kiel don’t have many weaknesses but we are ready to capitalise on those few. However, I firmly believe we only have to take care of ourselves. If we take the court with the righ attitude we can cause an even bigger upset than last year.”

Källman doesn’t care about the current injury crisis of Kiel either. "If you deal too much with the opponent you don’t have time to prepare youself. Our dream is the FINAL4 but there are so many great teams that you need quality, luck and strength to get there. That is a long journey for a club like Szeged but we never stop dreaming about it.”

Källman was having a great season before the EHF EURO but since the tournament in Poland he feels he has been below his class.

"I was content with my performance for most of the season but the championship somehow brought a drop of form. I am working hard to get back to my best because this is the time of the year when you have to give your all. As much I can promise: we all will give everything to fight Kiel.”

Pick Szeged take on THW on Sunday 20th March in Szeged, the reverse fixture will be three days later in Kiel.


TEXT: Bence Martha / br
 
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