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03.11.2014, 14:00
Goals irrelevant for Kudlacz
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FEATURE: Leipzig captain is focusing purely on the team, not personal achievements, after claiming top spot in the Women's EHF Champions League scorers list
 

Goals irrelevant for Kudlacz

It is rather seldom that a foreign player becomes a club’s captain, but when it happens it is always a sign of the massive respect he or she inspires. However, if you are Karolina Kudlacz and you can be considered a women’s handball icon, you are the captain everywhere you play.

“There are some players born to win Champions League and Karolina should get the chance to do that one day,” said Herbert Müller after Poland played Austria in December 2010, suggesting that Kudlacz will never achieve this playing for HC Leipzig.

But the truth is that since 2006, the Polish national team captain is very faithful to this top German club. And there is no doubt she is already a legend of HCL at only 29.

It seems incredible but Kudlacz spent nearly half of her life competing with seniors. She was 15 when Słupia Słupsk promoted to the top division in Poland and she was just 16 playing in the first team of AZS AWFiS Nata Gdańsk.

Do you want more? In June 2004 Kudlacz was 19 while playing her first match in the senior national team against Spain and she was the top scorer for her team that day.

Her first Polish championship with Nata Gdańsk was followed by failure to qualify for the EHF Champions League. She then moved to Leipzig and since scored more than 310 goals in European Cups for the German team and reached the EHF Cup final in 2009.   

Recovering after a false start

The last two seasons have seen Leipzig qualify for the Women’s EHF Champions League through qualification tournaments, but the most recent one in September was particularly special for “Kudi”.

With Leipzig down a goal against FTC Rail-Cargo a few seconds before the end of extra-time, the Polish left back scored a decisive goal from a free throw to force penalties, which led to HCL’s sensational qualification.

The qualifiers have pushed on since then and currently lead Group A, having collected four points after three rounds.

“We had a false start in Volgograd but the next two games were under our complete control. We are not thinking yet about the main round and we do want to focus only on the next match.

“After the final group game we will see where we are, but I don’t deny that the main round is our objective,” admitted Kudlacz, who has already scored 24 goals and lies top of the scorers list.

But the individual statistics mean nothing to Karolina as she always underlines the team spirit and does not like to be judged by the number of goals she scores.

"Being a top scorer is not a satisfaction, it really has no personal meaning and I don’t want it to become a burden for me. The whole team is working hard for every single goal and the only thing that counts in the final score and the win,” clarifies the Pole, adding that the one who does not score at all may be the best player of a match.

The intensity of both European and domestic competition might be a problem for Leipzig, as only 9-10 players are typically used for match.

Nevertheless, Kudlacz is optimistic and keen to praise the good job her team’s coaching staff has done this season.

We are in a very equal group of teams and as the results show, everyone could beat each other. I feel very well, I am fit and I want to play my best,” said the 29-year-old, who follows other matches with Polish players such as Alina Wojtas from Larvik, Kinga Byzdra from Buducnost and MKS Selgros Lublin regularly.

“Lublin impressed me against Larvik and I must admit that the 21-year-old line player Joanna Drabik is becoming a dark horse for the Polish champions.”

“Kudi” will probably meet all these players at EHF EURO 2014 in Hungary, her fifth major international championship, in a busy time ahead for someone who has plenty to do off the court as she is also working on her Ph.D. in psychology.


TEXT: Michał Pomorski / cor
 
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