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24.03.2016, 15:07
“We have won nothing so far”
«Go back »Print Version


INTERVIEW: Flensburg’s Danish playmaker Thomas Mogensen dreams of Cologne, but has his focus on Montpellier.
 

"We have won nothing so far"

With five goals, Thomas Mogensen was SG Flensburg-Handewitt’s top scorer of the 28:27 away win at Montpellier HB in the first leg of the VELUX EHF Champions League Last 16.

On Sunday, his side can clinch a berth for the quarter-final for the ninth time in club history.

The Danish playmaker had his biggest Champions League moment in 2014, when he was raising the trophy in Cologne. Since then, the LANXESS arena has been his every year dream destination. But the way to Cologne is steep, Mogensen knows.

ehfCL.com: Was the narrow result of the first leg a lucky or a deserved victory?

Thomas Mogensen: In my opinion, we deservedly took the pointsserved, as we controlled the match at nearly any moment.

But in games of this level, little things decide and even a three, four goal advance is levelled quite quickly. We did a good job, but we still have room for improvement. But as we play in our home arena we want to deliver our fans a better performance.

ehfCL.com: Did you expect such a tough resistance of Montpellier?

Thomas Mogensen: If you have made it to the knock-out stage of the Champions League there’s nothing easy anymore. We played against Montpellier several times in the past and none of the games were easy, as they are a strong team with a long tradition. So, last Saturday’s match was as tough as expected.

ehfCL.com: Does the away win involve the danger to take the second leg not seriously enough?

Thomas Mogensen: Definitely not. We won nothing so far. We have the respect you need for an opponent like Montpellier, as their players have a huge experience in international matches and knock-out stages.

We need to be 100% focused on Sunday, but I am confident enough to say that we can make it to the quarter-final if we show a performance like we did in the first leg.

ehfCL.com: What are the tasks you especially have to improve in?

Thomas Mogensen: We just have to continue in the way we played in Montpellier. We have to remain as aggressive in defence as we were there and then we even might be a bit stronger.

The defence is our main strength, as with it we can put pressure on our opponents and we can start running counter attacks. If we keep our speed up and use the whole depth of our squad, I guess, Montpellier cannot stand the heat for 60 minutes.

ehfCL.com: In the previous season, Flensburg failed in the Last 16 against THW Kiel - is it a major advantage this year that in contrast to 2015 nearly no player is injured?

Thomas Mogensen: Indeed! It was incredible, what squad had to face Kiel in those crucial encounters. Though not everybody is fit right now, we have double the amount of healthy players compared to 2015. But as the burden of a long season is extremely high, it is necessary to have a deep squad as we have it now.

We are still part of three competitions and in every match you need to have this full focus - mentally and physically. Therefore, you have to assign the responsibility on as many shoulders as possible, one cannot manage to do it alone.

ehfCL.com: If Flensburg will proceed to the quarter-final, Kielce would be the potential opponent. Would the Polish champion be manageable on the way to Cologne?

Thomas Mogensen: As long as we have not faced Montpellier for the second leg, I don’t care about anything in terms of the quarter-final or a potential opponent. But if you want to go all the way, you need to beat them all.
 
ehfCL.com: Two years ago, you won the VELUX EHF Champions League - how big is your hunger for Cologne still?

Thomas Mogensen: I want to qualify for Cologne every year, as this weekend was an absolut amazing experience. Our triumph was the icing on the cake, but only being there was a huge impetus. As Europe’s best teams face each other there, we want to be part of the event.

ehfCL.com: As mentioned, Flensburg still fight for the titles in three competitions. What is the relevance of the international trophy?

Thomas Mogensen: It’s hard to say. Maybe the Champions League and German Bundesliga have a higher value than the German Cup.

But at the end of the season, it is always the same: If you have won one competition it brings you so much joy and is the reward for all the hard work. So we will see what the rest of the season will bring. We will do all we can and see what will happen.
 


TEXT: Björn Pazen / es
 
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