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03.05.2019, 15:00
Mahé: “We used to be individuals, now we are a team”
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FEATURE: Veszprém have given themselves an excellent chance to qualify for the VELUX EHF FINAL4 but French centre back Kentin Mahé does not take anything for granted before the return leg against Flensburg
 

Mahé: “We used to be individuals, now we are a team”

Remember how Telekom Veszprém HC started the season in the VELUX EHF Champions League. And look where they are now, on the brink of qualifying for the VELUX EHF FINAL4, after their 28:22 win in the first leg of the quarter-final in Flensburg last week.

Taking home a six-goal advantage, the Hungarian side could feel like they are already in Cologne. But the players want to remain cautious ahead of the return leg on Saturday at 17:30 CET (live on ehfTV.com).

“Everything is possible. Flensburg will come and have no pressure. They will only have something to win,” says Veszprém centre back Kentin Mahé. “When you look at all the other results, there is no quarter-final where you can say: ‘The deal is sealed.’ Even though we won away by six, we have to remain cautious.”

Things changed completely with the arrival of David Davis

His first season in Veszprém was a strange one for the French international. While he didn’t play much at the beginning, things started completely with the arrival of coach David Davis on the bench.

“His arrival was very positive for me, it’s like he taught me handball again. I play very differently now and I have learnt a lot of new things. I feel like a completely different player,” says Mahé. “We used to be individuals, now we are a team.”

Mahé has been nominated for the VELUX EHF Champions League All-star Team.

“It’s very nice. I won’t show off saying I’m in there, but it’s nice to see that the work pays off and that my choice to come here was the right one,” he says. “I don’t take this nomination for granted though, and I know that my teammates had a role to play there, too.”

For the 27-year-old back, the return to Flensburg last weekend was special, having played for the club for three seasons until last summer. He won the first Bundesliga title in 14 years for the club, a moment that he will never forget.

But the French player tried to put all of that far from his mind when he arrived in Germany.

“I tried not to be too caught up by the emotions. I spent three magical years in Flensburg,” he says. “Some of the fans booed me during the game, but I didn’t pay attention to it. They’ve got the right to express themselves. A lot of them had banners and stuff, so I’d rather focus on those.”

The 'Red Army' is waiting for the team's ticket to Cologne

While the Flensburg fans were right behind their team last weekend, the same can be expected from the Veszprém home crowd on Saturday. The Veszprém Arena has been sold out for a week as the ‘Red Army’ is waiting for its team to grab a ticket to Cologne.

After last season’s failure, the Hungarian side wants to get back to the EHF FINAL4 and that puts some pressure on the players.

“There are a lot of expectations from our performance in the Champions League. This is the No. 1 goal of the season for everybody in the club and around it, alongside the national rivalry with Szeged” Mahé says. “This marks a change from the clubs I played for before, but I like it.”


TEXT: Kevin Domas / ew
 
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