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19.09.2018, 14:20
Strlek: "I came to a great club with high ambitions"
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INTERVIEW OF THE WEEK: After facing his former club, Kielce, in the new season's first Match of the Week, Veszprém left wing Manuel Strlek talks to ehfCL.com about his ambitions with the Hungarian club
 

Strlek: "I came to a great club with high ambitions"

He has won it all with Kielce and now wants to do the same with Veszprém. Best left wing of the EHF EURO 2018 in Croatia, Manuel Strlek, has moved from Kielce to Veszprém after spending six seasons with the Polish champions.

Apart from winning six domestic league titles and cups in Poland, he also won the VELUX EHF Champions League 2015/16 after a memorable final against his new club.

A three-time best left wing at EHF EUROs, Strlek now hopes to reach the stars with his new club. Veszprém had a though last season so they hope this year they will return to the throne in Hungary and to Cologne. They took part in the VELUX EHF FINAL4 five times but are yet to win the competition.

Strlek speaks with ehfCL.com about his new club and expectations for this season.

ehfCL.com: Veszprém had a great start in the new VELUX EHF Champions League season with a 29:27 win over your former club Kielce in the Match of the Week. Are you satisfied with the first match?

Manuel Strlek: I can say that I am really satisfied with two points at the beginning of the Champions League. We knew it was going to be a though match. Kielce are a high-quality team but they currently have many injured players. For us, the most important thing is that we started the new season with a win.

ehfCL.com: How was it for you to play against your former club in the very first match?

Manuel Strlek: This match was really special for me. I have spent six beautiful seasons in Kielce and got many friends there, but that is sport. Everyone wants to give their best for the team. I wish them all the best in the Champions League.

ehfCL.com: The Veszprém roster has significantly changed: Kentin Mahe, Arpad Sterbik, Borut Mackovsek and Rene Toft Hansen also came to the club for this season. Was it hard for you to adapt to a new club and coach? How is it to work with Ljubomir Vranjes after many years with Talant Dujshebaev?

Manuel Strlek: A lot of new players came and I think we all fit in really well in the team. Of course we had a lot of help from the people in the club, coaches and other players who already play here. I think, as a team we will grow as the matches go. We have a lot of quality and a roster with many great players. Ljubomir Vranjes and Talant Dujshebaev are both great handball experts with a different game style. As a player, I am really happy that I got the chance to work with both of them.

ehfCL.com: You spent six years in Kielce. How did the whole process of changing the club go for you? Are you satisfied with your new life in Veszprém?

Manuel Strlek: I am really happy with my new life here in Veszprém. So is my family. I came to a great club with high ambitions. I am looking forward to the new challenges in my career and I hope we will all together achieve a lot.

ehfCL.com: After a successful season opening in the Veszprém Arena you are now facing a difficult challenge away against Barça. What are the expectations ahead of the game?

Manuel Strlek: We all know Barça. That is one of the toughest away matches in handball. We will give our best in that match. We will try to play even better than we did against Kielce and win more points.

ehfCL.com: Group A is arguably the toughest group this season, with no easy matches or opponents. What goals have Veszprém set this year after the team failed to reach the VELUX EHF FINAL4 last year and lost the Hungarian championship to MOL-Pick Szeged?

Manuel Strlek: In my opinion, the smartest thing is to go match by match because all teams in the group are really strong. You can lose points literally in every match. The season is long but when you play at a club like Veszprém, it is normal that ambitions are high. The goals are regaining the Hungarian championship and cup, which is not going to be easy because Szeged have an amazing team. Another goal is to reach the FINAL4. We saw in the past few years that anything can happen in Cologne.


TEXT: Jelena Bagarić / ew
 
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