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18.09.2017, 12:40
Debut makes Machulla happy, satisfied and proud
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FEATURE: Following Flensburg's winning start to the VELUX EHF Champions League season, coach Maik Machulla talks about the new chapter in his career
 

Debut makes Machulla happy, satisfied and proud

After SG Flensburg-Handewitt’s 30:27 win over Aalborg on Saturday, the German team’s new coach Maik Machulla was happy with the result, satisfied with his first group phase victory, and proud of what he achieved.

“Of course, it was something special. Not that many German-born coaches so far did have the experience to be on the bench of a Champions League participant,” Machulla told ehfCl.com after his debut as head coach in the VELUX EHF Champions League.

Aware of legacy

A former player and assistant coach at Flensburg, Machulla (40) took over from Ljubomir Vranjes this summer. And he is aware of the legacy his predecessor has left.

“I am truly enjoying this situation,” he said. “But I would have loved to enjoy it more and longer, as it was a close win only. But in the end, we have those two points on our account. No one can steal them anymore.”

When Vranjes announced his transfer to Veszprém, Flensburg decided to give Machulla, who won the Champions League as a player with Magdeburg in 2002, the chance to take the next step. He is assisted by former Bundesliga player and Dutch international, Mark Bult.

Coming out on top

On Saturday, this duo had their international debut, and though Flensburg were shaken for quite a long time, the 2014 Champions League winners finally came out on top.

“Aalborg were hard to beat. I had warned my players before, but they needed some time to adapt,” said Machulla, adding: “I guess, we can play better than we did in our international opener.”

Runners-up in the German Bundesliga for the past two years, Flensburg have already been beaten twice in their domestic league this season. Still, Machulla had been confident that his European debut would be victorious.

“Though Aalborg played on a top level, we had the spirit to beat them and the fans were behind us all the time, even when we were down by three goals,” the coach said.

Focus on the handball basics

Machulla was happy with his Danish-born goalkeeper Rasmus Lind, who was a key to success as he saved three second-half penalties. And with the fact that other new arrivals took their responsibility, too.

But in general, he is hoping for more.

“First, we have to focus on the handball basics, then we can achieve more,” he said. “My players did not look as fresh as I had hoped for.”

Machulla expects to gain more experience – personally and as a team – by competing in the Champions League.

“Playing Bundesliga and Champions League in parallel, we will have to experiment with some of the younger players. But still the results are in the focus.”


TEXT: Björn Pazen / ew
 
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