INTERVIEW: Danish international Nikolaj Markussen has great expectations on his Skjern team ahead of the Men's EHF Cup Finals.
Markussen sees good chances of going all the way in Berlin
Most likely Nikolaj Markussen is going to be one of Skjern Handbold's key players at the Men's EHF Cup Finals in Berlin.
The 2,11 m tall left back contributes a lot of international experience from the Danish national team as well as from the former top club BM Atletico Madrid to the team - and that might very well be needed in the Max-Schmeling-Halle on 16/17 May.
The 26-year old has a lot of confidence in his team ahead of the EHF Cup Finals, one of Markussen's last tasks with Skjern before he continues his career by Danish league rivals Bjerringbro-Silkeborg.
eurohandball.com: What does it mean to you to play the EHF Cup Finals?
Nikolaj Markussen: It's very big to me and to us all. It has been a great goal for the club this season. I played this kind of events before, and I must say that Germans are really good at arranging such things and make sure that there is a great atmosphere. So I am really looking forward to playing in Berlin.
eurohandball.com: You have been bothered a lot by injury in recent years. You missed the EHF EURO 2014 on home ground and the World Championship this year. Does that make it extra special to you to be part of this event?
Nikolaj Markussen: No, I wouldn't say it does. This is a weekend tournament, while a championship lasts a month, so I do not really think you can compare those two things – but, of course, I am looking forward to the event.
eurohandball.com: The EHF Cup Finals will be some of your last matches for Skjern before you move on to Bjerringbro-Silkeborg. Are you particularly keen on finishing in style with your current club?
Nikolaj Markussen: It does not play a particularly big role to me that those matches will be some of my last ones for Skjern. I always want to play well, and I think we can go all the way in Berlin. We've defeated Füchse Berlin and Melsungen in this tournament already, and I definitely think we can beat Hamburg in the semi-final if we give our best. Then we will see how our bodies feel the following day, but I think we have a good chance of going all the way.
eurohandball.com: Those tournaments that run over just two days are often decided by which team has the deepest squad. How is your team equipped, when it comes to that?
Nikolaj Markussen: I think we are quite well equipped. We used to play with relatively few players for quite a long time, and I think this will mean that we have the necessary physical resources for an event like this.
eurohandball.com: The EHF Cup Finals take place in between the semi-finals in the Danish championship play-offs. What significance will that have?
Nikolaj Markussen: Of course, it would have been better to play the semi-finals in succession, but things are the way they are, and we will, of course, try to make the best of it. We have to take the game as they come.
EHF Cup Finals Tickets
Handball fans across Europe can purchase their place at the 2015 EHF Cup Finals through the official website of the high-profile event www.berlinfinals.de.
TEXT: Peter Bruun / me
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