05.06.2014, 04:40
Bartosz Jurecki looks forward to two home matches

INTERVIEW: When Poland face Germany in the World Championship 2015 Play-offs this and the coming weekend, the Polish line player is not a stranger at all at both venues

Bartosz Jurecki looks forward to two home matches

When Poland face Germany in the World Championship 2015 Play-offs this and the coming weekend, there will be two teams giving everything they have to prevail. Spread over two Saturdays (7 and 14 June), two times 60 minutes will decide which of two teams books the tickets to the final tournament in Qatar. And at both venues frenetic fans will support their respectives favourites as vocally as possible.

However, there is one man that will feel at home at both matches – no matter the day or the venue.

Polish line player Bartosz Jurecki, plys his trade for German side SC Magdeburg and hence knows both the ERGO Arena in Gdansk as well as Magdeburg’s GETEC-Arena very well.

In an interview with eurohandball.com he shares his expectations ahead of the upcoming challenges.

eurohandball.com: The draw back in January paired Poland with Germany for the World Championship 2015 Play-offs. Don’t you think that such teams should only meet in Qatar?
Bartosz Jurecki: From the very beginning, when we got to know that we were going to play against each other, both sides weren’t happy about the draw. After having come sixth at the European Championship in Denmark we hoped for weaker rival, but unfortunately the odds were not in our favour and we were drawn against Germany.

There is a huge anxiety in Germany now, because they weren’t present at two big tournaments recently, the (2012) Olympic Games and the European Championship (2014). Moreover, their team had been rebuilt and after that everyone thought that they were going to be great European powerhouse again but this was not the case. The pressure is huge, I think it’s even bigger than in Poland.

eurohandball.com: Does it influence the players or is it more something that’s discussed in the public and the media?
Bartosz Jurecki:  My Magdeburg teammmates Stefan Kneer and Michael Haaß train with the national team. They told me that the draw has been discussed for a long time. I also heard from Bartłomiej Jaszka, who plays for Füchse Berlin, that this topic received a lot of attention. We all know what are we fighting for. We’ve got only two matches and I'm sure, they are going to be very interesting.

eurohandball.com: How did you hear about the draw result after all?
Bartosz Jurecki: I was on my way to Magdeburg. My elder brother, Marcin, called me to inform that we were going to play against Germany. I wasn’t happy, of course, but I thought in my mind 'Maybe we will play in Magdeburg and I will have both matches at home' and so it was! I hope that the hall, I usually train in, will bring us luck.

eurohandball.com: Do you think that the fans will give you a warm welcome?
Bartosz Jurecki: They said so (laughs)! While talking to German fans, they told me that they wouldn’t know what to do if I scored a goal. But let’s face it, they will support their team of course. We, however, will do our best to give ourselves and our fans the very nice surprise of qualifying for Qatar.

eurohandball.com: Do you think the fact that Germany were not at the EHF EURO, while you were there, might be an advantage for you?
Bartosz Jurecki: That’s hard to judge. Our coach, Michael Biegler, says that we are on the rise right now, thanks to the rivalry we have enjoyed with the best teams at big events. We are in the game and Germany are not. Still let’s not forget that they play in the strongest league of the world and regularly are in touch with the best players.

eurohandball.com: It does help them to keep their form for the entire season, doesn’t it?
Bartosz Jurecki: That’s right. When you play in Bundesliga, you have to give your best in every game, no matter which team you play against, otherwise you will lose. There are no easy games like it is the case case for Kielce or Plock. However, both Polish teams played in the Champions League this season so I think that they caught it up.

eurohandball.com: Talking about the VELUX EHF Champions League, did you see the incredible performance of the German back court players, Holger Glandorf and Steffen Weinhold, at the VELUX EHF FINAL4?
Bartosz Jurecki: No, these were my only days off and I wanted to focus on the rest (laughs). But I heard from the coach, that they played a great tournament. Actually we all assumed even ahead of the weekend in Cologne that they both are the key players of our opponents. We have to pay our attention to everyone of course, but they are German gems indeed.

eurohandball.com: What are the strong points of Polish team for  the upcoming challenge then?
Bartosz Jurecki: That’s a good question! We don’t know it yet (laughs)! No, really, in my opinion our defence showed itself at its best recently. We have great goalkeepers that we can rely on. All we have to work on right now, is our positional attack. For sure the German team will be provoking us to dispose the ball very fast and we have to be ready for that.

TEXT: Magda Pluszewska / ts

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