Spellerberg: “We could have done even better”
A three goal win away against HC Motor Zaporozhye, a 20 goal win at home against Tatran Presov, and most recently a two goal win at home against none other than the team currently top of the Bundesliga, Rhein-Neckar Löwen.
KIF Kolding have had a perfect start to their Group B campaign in the EHF Cup Group Phase and share the pride of being one of only two teams with maximum points, SC Magdeburg in Group D being the other.
Many would think that no one can complain about such a start. However, one of the team´s most experienced players, Bo Spellerberg, thinks the performance against Rhein-Neckar Löwen in particular could have been even better.
In an interview with eurohanball.com, the 33-year-old Danish international reflects on the influence the many injuries in the team have had on the performances so far.
At present Joachim Boldsen, Stefan Hundstrup, and Frederik Børm are all sidelined, and right winger Simon Jensen has also been absent for several matches.
Nevertheless, the centre and left back who has been with KIF Kolding for 11 years, believes that his team have a good chance of reaching the EHF Cup Finals on 18 and 19 May.
eurohandball.com: Have you ever been to Nantes before?
Bo Spellerberg: I do not think I have ever played in the hall where the Finals are going to be played, but I have played in the Nantes area with KIF twice over the last two years, where we took part in a warm-up tournament before the start of the league season.
Last year we actually won the tournament, having defeated Nantes as well as Chambery, so we have some fine memories from that place.
eurohandball.com: How do you see your chances of going there again in May?
Bo Spellerberg: I see them as quite good. Of course we have a very difficult away match against Rhein-Neckar Löwen coming up, and I also expect our match in Presov to be a tough challenge, while I do not really expect us to get any problems at home against Zaporozhye.
Therefore, I think we should at least be among those second placed teams who get through to the quarter-finals, but obviously we would prefer to proceed as group winners.
In the quarter-finals, I would very much like to avoid the German teams (Frisch Auf Göppingen and SC Magdeburg) but still, there are many good teams in the tournament, so there is still a long way to go.
eurohandball.com: Considering the injury problems your team has been facing and is still facing, does it surprise you that the performances have been so good this far?
Bo Spellerberg: Actually, I think the injuries have influenced quite a bit on our play. Against Rhein-Neckar Löwen for instance, I think we could have done even better, if we had had more options, not least in our defence, where we were short on central defenders in particular
eurohandball.com: Your next task will be the away match against exactly the Rhein-Neckar Löwen. How do you rate your chances there?
Bo Spellerberg: From what I have heard from Niklas Landin (Rhein-Neckar Löwen’s Danish goalkeeper) they usually have a full house for their home matches in the Bundesliga, while it is a bit different at their EHF Cup matches.
As this is a top match, however, I expect us to get under a lot of pressure from the home crowd. It will be a must for us to keep the game equal. If we fall behind, we will soon be further behind than the two goal we won by at home, but after our narrow home win, there is no doubt that the match is now on Rhein-Neckar Löwen’s conditions.
eurohandball.com: What will it take for you to get another win against the Löwen?
Bo Spellerberg: First of all we need to benefit from our scoring opportunities in order to stop them from getting their feared fast breaks going.
Without wanting to insult their goalkeepers, I do not think any of them had a marvellous day in Brøndby last Sunday, and if we can get the same success against them again, our chances are good. However, if they score ten fast breaks goals, the match will soon be decided. With our established defence, I think we can hold them.
I do not know it they will have Kim Ekdahl du Rietz back for that match, but by now we have got Lars Krogh Jeppesen integrated in our defence which gives us a further option in our central defence.
if Kasper Hvidt can copy Thierry Omeyer’s performance from Kiel´s recent visit to Mannheim, where he practically shut his goal off completely, I think our chances are very good.
TEXT: Peter Bruun / cor