EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: 19-year-old Paul Drux is already starter player at Füchse Berlin as he enters his third international season against Nantes on Sunday.
Youngster and the taste of success
Paul Drux is one of the biggest talents in German handball. He is aged only 19, though he has already experienced playing in the VELUX EHF Champions League, in the EHF Cup Finals and in the German men’s national team.
Drux is decorated with triple silverware already, as he led the German team twice to EHF EURO gold - the U18 and the U20 age categories (twice in the final against Sweden, twice on Austrian ground) and to the Youth World Championship bronze medal 2013 in Hungary.
His third international season with Füchse Berlin starts this Sunday with the Round 3 qualification match of the EHF Cup against HBC Nantes on home court. Prior to the duels of both hosts of the EHF Cup Finals (2013 and 2014) the left back is confident that his team can again make it to the group phase.
In this exclusive interview for eurohandball.com, Drux, who was lured to handball world at VfL Gummersbach, also talks about his career and his ambitions.
eurohandball.com: Despite your young age, you have a huge international experience in European Cup competitions. How does it feel to start your already third international season?
Paul Drux: In the 2012/13 season I was able to try out how it feels, in the previous season I was full member of our squad.
eurohandball.com: How important were those international matches for your development?
Paul Drux: I still remember my first match in the VELUX EHF Champions League. We played at Minsk and due to some injuries in our team, I was part of the squad. This was something really special, something which marked my career.
eurohandball.com: In May, you were part of the EHF Cup Finals on home ground with Füchse Berlin. Does it still hurt not to make it to the finals?
Paul Drux: The only small consolation was that we lost our semi-final against later-on winner Pick Szeged, but of course we were highly disappointed that we had missed this great opportunity in front of our fans.
eurohandball.com: Is making it to the final tournament again your goal for the new EHF Cup season?
Paul Drux: When you once have tasted it, you want to be part of such an event again. We want to fight for the title again.
eurohandball.com: But already in the final qualification round prior to the group phase Füchse were drawn against Nantes, a French top team…
Paul Drux: It is definitely not an easy task, but our expectations are high. Both sides in my opinion should belong to the group phase, both could go very far in this competition, this is true. Like in the previous season, when we faced Meshkov Brest in this round, I expect two very close matches.
eurohandball.com: If you could wish, what would be your favourite result for the first leg on home ground?
Paul Drux: Simply to win and not to have the burden of travelling to Nantes having in mind that we need to catch up a deficit.
eurohandball.com: Is it hard for a young player like you to have this double or triple pressure of being part of league, domestic cup and EHF Cup?
Paul Drux: We’re just about to start our international season, so at the moment it is ok. It is always the task of the coach to reduce the burden in the training sessions. But it is not only the physical matters, but also the constant travelling. But in the end it is manageable for me.
eurohandball.com: How do you describe your role in the Füchse team?
Paul Drux: I am still a young player, who has to fight hard in any training session to get awarded with playing time on court during the matches. I have to establish my position in the team.
eurohandball.com: Since September you are also member of the Germans men’s national team. Is it an advantage to have Dagur Sigurdsson parallel as club coach and at the national team?
Paul Drux: Of course it is a special situation, but I can prove my strength every day and he sees my development every day, so I believe it is an advantage.
eurohandball.com: In Germany, you are something like the flagship talent in the moment, who proves that one can make it from junior to men. Is it hard to fulfil those expectations day by day?
Paul Drux: It is not normal that you speed up like this and that it gets so quick. No all of our talented players have the chances that I have. But I am very happy that all went like it went.
eurohandball.com: In August you were gold medallist and member of the All Star Team of the U20 EHF EURO in Austria. Did this title mean another milestone for your career?
Paul Drux: At first, it was funny that the same two teams faced in the final which had face two years ago in the U18 final, and finally we raised the trophy twice against Sweden. It was simply terrific to be on the podium. And as we had a huge media coverage in Germany we were in the focus and gained attention on our team.
TEXT: Björn Pazen / br
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