On the road to Nantes: Myrhol
Norwegian international Bjarte Myrhol has already lifted the EHF Cup trophy in 2008 with his former club HSG Nordhorn, now the line player might get a second chance with Rhein Neckar Löwen next weekend at the EHF Cup Finals in Nantes, where Löwen will face their German opponent Frisch Auf Göppingen in the semi-final.
30-year-old Myrhol is the interim team captain of the currently second ranked team in the German Bundesliga after Uwe Gensheimer tore his Achilles tendon in the EHF Cup qualification match against Argous.
In this interview with eurohandball.com, Bjarte Myrhol speaks about Löwen’s chances in Nantes and the speedy and successful transition in his team.
eurohandball.com: Have you ever been to Nantes before in your life?
Bjarte Myrhol: No, never, I will touch Nantes ground for the first time next weekend.
eurohandball.com: And what do expect in the French city?
Bjarte Myrhol: I expect a very close semi-final against Göppingen – an opponent we know well from the German league. It will be tough work, but I hope to reach the final. Then we have a new match with new opportunities.
eurohandball.com: What makes Rhein Neckar Löwen so strong this season?
Bjarte Myrhol: At first we clearly improved our defence this season. But even more important: we have a great cohesion in our team, consisting of players mostly from the same age. Besides the individual class of our players, we pull together with a great passion and the will to win.
eurohandball.com: Did you expect such a successful season?
Bjarte Myrhol: No, to be honest. Eight players left our team and I expected that this transition and integration of the new ones would take much longer. But we very quickly managed to become a well-rehearsed team.
eurohandball.com: Your coach said that the start of the season granted you wings, do you agree?
Bjarte Myrhol: Yes, we were riding on a huge wave of success in the first part of the season in German league and now we take the profit of this starting period in the EHF Cup. The new players stepped up their game very fast.
eurohandball.com: Are you unhappy to face another German opponent in the semi-final after you had played against Magdeburg in the quarter-finals?
Bjarte Myrhol: We cannot choose, this was the draw and we cannot change it.
eurohandball.com: If Rhein Neckar Löwen win their two matches at Nantes, it will be the first title for the club. Do you have this matter in mind?
Bjarte Myrhol: No, this plays no role. All four teams in Nantes want to win the trophy. I do not think there is any difference of the performing level of all of them.
eurohandball.com: Do you dedicate the qualification for the EHF Cup Finals also to your injured team captain Uwe Gensheimer, who cannot be part of the tournament?
Bjarte Myrhol: Currently Uwe is attending our training sessions very often, he is really achieving progress. It is great to have him around. If we win the title I will not be the one to raise the trophy, but Uwe. That is his job!
eurohandball.com: What is your opinion that for the first time ever the EHF Cup winner is decided in a final tournament?
Bjarte Myrhol: It is great to have this format with the EHF Cup Finals. What I did not like was that Nantes directly made it there without playing a quarter-final, but we are really looking forward to this event, which makes the EHF Cup become a “little Champions League”.
eurohandball.com: The VELUX EHF Champions League is a good heading – is it your objective to reach the competition for next season?
Bjarte Myrhol: Yes of course, we need three more victories and then we have made it back to the Champions League.
TEXT: Björn Pazen / cor