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25.05.2016, 10:34
Woltering: "Both opponents are tough nuts to crack"
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INTERVIEW: Goalkeeper Clara Woltering will play her 200th international in Germany’s final Women’s EHF EURO 2016 qualifier against Iceland on 5 June
 

Woltering: "Both opponents are tough nuts to crack"

In an ideal world, Clara Woltering will have two things to celebrate on 5 June: Germany’s qualification to the Women’s EHF EURO 2016 and her 200th international.

The final two qualifiers in Group 7, first against Switzerland on 1 June, then against Iceland on 5 June, also mark a new beginning for the German team. For the first time new head coach Michael Biegler will be in charge. Biegler, who had coached the Polish men’s national team before, replaced Jakob Vestergaard at the helm of the German team.

ehf-euro.com: In case you will be part of the team for Germany’ s final two EHF EURO 2016 qualifiers, you will have play your 200th international against Iceland. What does this milestone mean to you?
Clara Woltering: To be honest, it was only when you contacted me that I realised that this milestone is coming up. My teammate Anna Loeper reached it already, even though her international career actually started later than mine. But to be even more honest: The 200th match will be a match like all other for me. There’s only one goal: win it!

ehf-euro.com: So there’s no special pride or honour for you?
Clara Woltering: It is a special honour to reach 200 international matches. But if I take to the court against Iceland, this number will be forgotten and I will focus only on the match.

ehf-euro.com: For the first time, the new head coach Michael Biegler will taking place on the bench against Switzerland and Iceland. Do you know him already?
Clara Woltering: Michael Biegler has been visiting all German women’s clubs and talked to all national team players, so I know him already. I’m curious how we will fit together.

ehf-euro.com: You have been playing for the national team since 2003, you have amassed a lot of experience. What is the relationship like among goalkeepers, as only one can play at any given time?
Clara Woltering: If I take into account the current trio of goalkeepers with Katja Kramarczyk, Dinah Eckerle and myself, we push and motivate each other, we have a perfect way of understanding. Katja and I have a lot of experience; Dinah is the young one and she reminds me of what it was like for me, when I had my first appearance in the national team.

ehf-euro.com: So you still remember your first international match?
Clara Woltering: Of course! It was against Belarus in 2003. I came to court in the second half, and it went quite well. I still remember that I received a plush toy and a greeting card ahead of my first international from the rest of the team, a tradition we still have today. I got a mouse – and I still have it.

ehf-euro.com: Which international has been your highlight?
Clara Woltering: There were a lot. But the highlight was our bronze medal game against Romania at the World Championship 2007, when we won the medal after extra time and despite having trailed by seven goals at some point. I had hit the post at the beginning of the second half and needed medical treatment but in the end I was back on court. Simply a brilliant game!

And your hardest setback?
Clara Woltering: When we lost the EHF EURO 2010 Preliminary Round match against Ukraine in Larvik by ten goals. We would have advanced to the main round in case of an eight-goal defeat – there’s nothing more to say. And if you were part of Olympic Games like I was in 2008, it is hard to miss the qualification as we did in 2012 and now again.

ehf-euro.com: After wins against Iceland and Switzerland in the first two rounds of the Women’s EHF EURO 2016 Qualification, Germany were defeated twice by France in Rounds 3 and 4. Do you agree that Switzerland away and Iceland at home are two relatively small hurdles to clear to make it to the EHF EURO 2016?
Clara Woltering: No, I disagree. Both opponents are tough nuts to crack. We have respect for both, but we are not afraid of them. We are confident enough to hope for the ticket to Sweden, but we have to be aware and have to give 100 percent.


TEXT: Björn Pazen / ts
 
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