Magnus Andersson: “Both teams know each other so well”
As a player he was world champion twice, won three silver medals at the Olympic Games and was four-time EHF EURO champion with the legendary Swedish “Bengan Boys”.
After his highly successful on-court career, Magnus Andersson continued on the path of success as a coach: First with Swedish side Halmstad, then at Kobenhavn, then for the Austrian national team and Sweden’s U21 squad, who he led to the 2013 World Championship title.
After some more stops at Swedish clubs Andersson returned to Germany, where he spent many years of his playing career, taking his current position as coach at Frisch Auf Göppingen in 2014.
Now the Swede aims for his biggest coaching success on a club level, as his team prepare to fight for a berth at the EHF Cup Finals in Nantes.
In the quarter-finals on Saturday and next Wednesday, two-time EHF Cup winner Göppingen will face domestic rivals and three-time EHF Cup winners Magdeburg in their double header.
eurohandball.com: The EHF Cup is the last chance for Göppingen to fight for a trophy this season – does this fact increase the significance of this competition?
Magnus Andersson: Our first and currently major goal is to proceed to the EHF Cup Finals at Nantes despite the really tough quarters we are about to face. If we make it to Nantes we know that all potential opponents are of high quality.
eurohandball.com: Does an EHF Cup Quarter-final against a German side still have an international flair?
Magnus Andersson: It is a pity that two German teams clash in those matches, but we have to accept the draw. We would have loved to carry out a true international quarter-final in an international competition, mainly because of this international flair.
eurohandball.com: Do you agree that tactically no team can surprise the other?
Magnus Andersson: You always have to be prepared for surprises. But truly, these two teams know each other so well, mainly as we already faced each other three times during this season.
eurohandball.com: What kind of advantage from the first match do you estimate to be enough to make it to Nantes?
Magnus Andersson: Both matches we played and lost at Magdeburg this season were extremely equal. We want to profit from our home advantage in the first leg, but in my opinion any victory regardless of the advantage would be a good result.
eurohandball.com: How important will the fans be when you play at Göppingen?
Magnus Andersson: They play a really important role as they have the power and influence to support our team in tricky situations, but both sides know how to cope with the atmosphere in away matches from playing a huge number of Bundesliga games.
eurohandball.com: Göppingen were eliminated by Magdeburg in the German cup quarter-final some weeks ago. Does the EHF Cup offer the chance for revenge or are both competitions completely different?
Magnus Andersson: The thought of revenge is not in our focus, as the competitions are different. In the German cup it was one single away match – now you have 120 minutes to decide.
eurohandball.com: Do you expect the recent German series of winning the EHF Cup, only interrupted by Szeged’s triumph in 2014, will continue?
Magnus Andersson: German teams always belong to the favourites in the EHF Cup, but just by looking at the quarter-finals you can guess that all potential participants in the EHF Cup Finals are strong, and Nantes can count on the home advantage.
TEXT: Bjorn Pazen / cg