Kiel top shooter Filip Jícha talks about the start of the season before the MOTW in Madrid
The hair cut is new, the ambitions remained the same: Filip Jicha and THW Kiel are confident to play a key role in the VELUX EHF Champions League. The Czech shooter and the trophy winner in 2010 and 2012 - talks in the Part 2 of the exclusive interview with ehfCL.com about the chances his team have in this season, his personal favourites of the top club competition and the reason to extend his contract at the German record champions to 2017.
ehfCL.com: After a brilliant season with nearly no defeat in twelve months – is the pressure mounting on you and THW to defend all titles again?
Filip Jícha: Every player has its personal style to cope with pressure. I don’t care about the past, no matter how brilliant the previous season was. I could immediately stop being a professional handball player, if I would only look back. I look ahead, I want to improve – this is my aim. The previous season was incredibly successful, but I am living in here and now. I want to prove that I belong to the best players, THW want to prove that they belong to the best clubs. You always need this new excitement, not the look back on the past.
ehfCL.com: Do you agree that it is a “good tradition“ already that THW Kiel have to face the strongest possible opponents already in the Group Phase?
Filip Jícha: Yes...In the third straight season we have to compete with very strong opponents already in the first stage. But if you play for THW Kiel you have it in your blood that you always want to compete with the best of the best. Aside we play in different countries than last season – it is perfect to compete in the Champions League, as then you got the great chances to feel the atmosphere abroad. For example it is a brilliant opportunity for every player to be on the court in Madrid or Veszprém, one should enjoy those matches.
ehfCL.com: You already mentioned Veszprém as a contender for the VELUX EHF FINAL4 – what other teams you expect to go all the way?
Filip Jícha: Eight teams have the ability to make it through to Cologne, the four German participants, Madrid, Barcelona, Veszprém and Montpellier. But one important factor is the personal situation, and how hard those teams are hit by injuries.
ehfCL.com: The duels with AG Kobenhavn were highlights in the past season – now this club is bankrupted. Do you regret that THW lost a strong opponent?
Filip Jícha: This case is really tragic, mainly for the players, who have or had to look for new jobs, and their families – but aside for the whole handball. But two new teams have started to keep the legacy alive. KIF Kolding have started a great project and I believe they will be part of the 2013/14 season of the Champions League same as Paris Handball.
ehfCL.com: You just extended your contract at THW until 2017 – had the sportive perspectives been decisive or the whole surroundings at Kiel?
Filip Jícha: It is not worth talking about the sportive point of view at THW, the successes and the opportunities to develop are extraordinary. THW is in my blood now! The fact that my family feels absolutely comfortable was more important. We did not have to think it over a single day when I got the offer to extend the contract until 2017, there was really no reason for a change. I am looking forward to the future at THW, concerning being a professional handball player and to live at Kiel.
Read Part 1 of the interview here
Watch the first ehfTV Match of the week on Sunday (18:00 hrs local time) here
TEXT: Björn Pazen /br