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14.11.2012, 12:14
Hansen: We have to play in the Champions League next season
«Go back »Print Version


Part two of Mikkel Hansens's interview with ehfCL.com

»EHF CL Channel »2012-13 Men's News
»
 

Hansen: We have to play in the Champions League next season

Mikkel Hansen is arguably one of the strongest left backs in the handball world.
 
The 25-year-old was voted 2011 Handball Player of the Year, he became the 2011 World Championship's top scorer and won silver with the Danish national team.
 
A mere year later he clinched the European crown with Denmark at the EHF EURO in Serbia in January 2012 and also became the top scorer with AG København in the VELUX EHF Champions League.
 
Since the start of the 2012/13 season he plays for French side Paris St. Germain HB.
 
ehfCL.com met Hansen in Paris and talked to him about the upcoming 2013 World Championship in Spain and the 2014 European Championship in his home country, Denmark.
 
This is second part of our interview with Mikkel Hansen. Part one on his year with Denmark and their upcoming challenges can be found here.

ehfCL.com: What are your impressions on your first four months with the Paris team?

Mikkel Hansen: "It is great! It is more or less what I expected when I decided to come here. The players I know are really nice, we have created a bond very quickly because we all arrived last summer.

"The players I did not know and who were there before received us with open arms. It didn't take long for us to come together as a team, but I had expected that, because I lived through this situation already with Copenhagen last year.
I love the city, I am having fun every day, and I am always looking forward to come to practice because it is very entertaining!"

ehfCL.com: What do you make of the level of your opponents in the French league?

Mikkel Hansen: "It is actually very good. I considered it when I decided to come here. There are lot of good players here, and I did not know a lot of them. There are a lot of teams that are very close and we have to fight tough to win every match."

ehfCL.com: Any players or teams that have impressed you so far?

Mikkel Hansen: "Nantes I guess, because they beat us and they never let go of the game even when they were behind. Chambéry can defend very hard, but they lack a strong bench. I found Edin Bašić very good and Jorge Maqueda as well."

ehfCL.com: How do you explain that Nantes managed to beat you in the League Cup?

Mikkel Hansen: "It was our own fault, we had the game in our hands. It was a big disappointment for us, because we want to win everything. In Paris we cannot afford to lose. It was hard for us to be beaten after the final whistle, but fair play to Nantes, they deserved their win.

"We started the game a bit sloppy and we were unlucky at the end. It's a good reminder for us, because it shows that when we are not concentrated enough, anyone can beat us."

ehfCL.com: How do you explain the influx of Scandinavian players playing in the French league, when not so long ago they were only heading to Germany?

Mikkel Hansen: "Well it is always about the first one to come. I mean, when players saw Didier Dinart and Luc Abalo coming back in France, they thought "well, yeah, this league is becoming interesting". This was the case even earlier, when Nikola Karabatic came back.

"I was the start of the rebuilding. I do not think it is just Scandinavian players though, you have a lot more Spanish players this year as well. It makes the league tougher, the teams are better, so everyone is winning in this situation."

ehfCL.com: In June, you were playing at the VELUX EHF FINAL4 in Cologne. What do you remember of it?

Mikkel Hansen: "Of course, there could be better memories. You always think afterwards about what you could have changed, anything you could have done differently, but at the end of the day, we did not win, so yeah, bad memories."

ehfCL.com: Any regrets about how it unfolded?

Mikkel Hansen: "Well, I guess there always are regrets. We talked a lot after the games, because these games are made of small details, and on some points we could have done things better and we all thought we had the potential to win the competition."

ehfCL.com: How does it feel to watch the VELUX EHF Champions League on TV this year and not to play in it?

Mikkel Hansen: "If I am honest, it is a strange feeling. When I watch these games, I get flashes of memories, about games.

"The best teams in the world play this competition, and yes I miss it, playing tough games every weekend, playing in big arenas full of people, of course I miss it.

"I guess it is the kind of thing you get used to really quickly. But I made my decision when I signed here, I knew I would not be playing the Champions League this season."

ehfCL.com: Do you think Paris can make it to the VELUX EHF Champions League next season?

Mikkel Hansen: "We have to. When you have such a bunch of extraordinary players, you have to play this competition every year, there is no other way. The only way to carry on making progress is to play in the Champions League."

ehfCL.com: If you took the roster from Paris this season, and if Paris was playing in the VELUX EHF Champions League, how far do you think you could go?

Mikkel Hansen: "That is a very difficult question, because a season with or without Champions League is very different. When you play in the Champions League you play two games a week, so there are more chances to get injuries. I guess we could win some games, but we would probably lose some as well, so it is hard to tell."

ehfCL.com: What do you make of the VELUX EHF Champions League this year? Are there any teams that have surprised or disappointed you so far?

Mikkel Hansen: "I am surprised that Skopje are undefeated. I did not think they had such a strong team, even if the Macedonian national team is very good, we saw it at the last EURO. There are always the same teams that come around though.

"Veszprem are really good, Kiel and Barcelona as well, maybe even Kielce could go to the FINAL4. I do not have a favourite, because this competition is always about the draw. You could think you are a favourite, and then have a tough draw for the quarter-final, play against Kiel or Kielce, and lose everything in quarter-final."

ehfCL.com: Any idea for the new top scorer who will succeed you?

Mikkel Hansen: "Oh man, I do not think it is about scoring, the team is always the most important thing. I have really got no idea. Maybe Kiril Lazarov, since Madrid rely on him a lot this year."

Photo: TeamPics/PSG


TEXT: Kevin Domas / cor
 
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