On the road to Nantes: Gustavsson
Björgvin Pall Gustavsson participated at Europe's top level in the VELUX EHF Champions League with former club Kadetten Schaffhausen, now the Icelandic goalkeeper is aiming for the next best thing with SC Magdeburg, the EHF Cup Finals in Nantes.
eurohandball.com speaks to the “Viking”, who transfers to German side Bergischer HC after this season, about the upcoming quarter-finals against Rhein Neckar Löwen and his experience in the current EHF Cup competition.
eurohandball.com: After five victories and one draw you must be satisfied with the SC Magdeburg results in the Group Phase of the EHF Cup?
Björgvin Pall Gustavsson: Yes, we are very satisfied with the whole Group Phase and with the way that we played.
eurohandball.com: Next up is Rhein Neckar Löwen in the quarter-finals, how do you rate your chances of proceeding to the EHF Cup Finals in Nantes?
Björgvin Pall Gustavsson: I am looking forward to those matches and it will probably be a hard fight. Rhein Neckar Löwen are, of course, the favourite in the duel but we will fight until the last minute.
We played against them recently and tied, which proves that we have a change. We have lost against them twice this season, so now it is the time to beat them, but it will be very hard.
eurohandball.com: You will face Alexander Petterson, with whom you play in the Icelandic national team. Are these meetings strange or a common occurrence for you?
Björgvin Pall Gustavsson: There are three Icelandic people at Rhein Neckar Löwen, the players Sigurmannson and Petterson as well as coach Gudmundsson so I know them very well. I play against Icelandic players almost every week, so this is nothing new.
eurohandball.com: What would it mean for you and the club to reach Nantes?
Björgvin Pall Gustavsson: It would mean everything to us. This is the biggest possible event for us this season and it would be dream to take part in it. This season the Bundesliga has not been going as we hoped so this is our chance to achieve something great.
eurohandball.com: As this is your final season at Magdeburg, what would an international title like the EHF Cup or the participation in Nantes mean to you in this context?
Björgvin Pall Gustavsson: Nantes would be the perfect way to say goodbye.
eurohandball.com: You already had been to Nantes with SCM, winning your group match there clearly. What is your impression of the arena and the spectators?
Björgvin Pall Gustavsson: The arena was ok. It was very cold and the net behind the goals was very far from the goal, so it took a very long time for goalkeepers to get the ball, which slowed the game down.
However, in the summer it will be warmer and hopefully they will find a good solution with the net behind the goal. The spectators were very good and created a great atmosphere. The city of Nantes is also very nice and I hope I will visit Nantes once more this season.
TEXT: Björn Pazen / cor