Flash quotes: TruckScout24 EHF FINAL4 2024 finals

Flash quotes: TruckScout24 EHF FINAL4 2024 finals

COLOGNE — Comments on the final day of the TruckScout24 EHF FINAL4 2024, from Barça coach Carlos Ortega (ESP), right back Melvyn Richardson (FRA) and left back Timothey N'Guessan (FRA), and Aalborg Håndbold coach Stefan Madsen, right back Mads Hoxer, centre back Thomas Arnoldsen and left back Henrik Møllgaard after Barça beat Aalborg 31:30 in the final; and from THW Kiel head coach Filip Jicha (CZE), right wing Niclas Ekberg (SWE), line players Patrick Wiencek (GER) and line player Hendrik Pekeler (GER), and SC Magdeburg head coach Bennet Wiegert (GER), right back Ómar Ingi Magnusson (ISL) and left wing Lucas Mertens (GER) after THW Kiel beat Magdeburg 32:28 in the 3/4 placement match. 

Barça (ESP)

Carlos Ortega (ESP) — head coach

On his feelings after the win:

“Not only after the match, even yesterday, I was thinking about how difficult things were at the beginning of our season. We missed some important players who left last summer. Some players suffered difficult injuries. We had to rebuild the team in a way, with Melvyn [Richardson] in the playmaker position, for example. Last summer, we saw how everything was difficult and we thought that maybe we are not in the best place to be in the [EHF] FINAL4. But handball is a state of mind. We worked a lot. We arrived here and we managed to win.”

Melvyn Richardson (FRA) — right back

On his feelings following the win:

“I’m very happy to have won the Champions League. It was a very long season for us, with lots of changes, some injuries, but we remained focused. We did an incredible job, all the club, and I think we deserve the title.”

Timothey N’Guessan (FRA) — left back

On winning the title:

“Incredible. It’s my third time and it’s crazy. It is amazing to do it once, so imagine doing it three times. It was hard, as it was last time against Kielce. It was a complicated season. We lost Ludovic Fabregas and Luka Cindric last summer, Domen Makuc was injured in the summer and still, here we are, winning the trophy again.”

On his thoughts when Mikkel Hansen took the last shot:

“Bluntly, I thought: Don’t f*** it up. Please don’t f*** it up. We all know he’s capable of scoring this one so yes, I was definitely scared. But thank God, it hit the bar. Aalborg are an amazing team. They gave us a great run for our money, and it’s even more rewarding when you win the trophy after such a final. It feels like you really had to fight for it.”

On what made the difference between the two teams:

“I don’t know honestly. It came down to one last action. It’s hard to say. We were always on top. We were ahead by three in the last quarter but we didn’t manage to put the nail in the coffin. I think we deserve it, but it’s hard to point the finger at one thing at which we were really better than them. Perhaps the fact that we had an easier semi-final compared to them helped us at the end.”

Aalborg Håndbold (DEN)

Stefan Madsen (DEN) — head coach

On the difference in the final:

“It was a tight game. Had our chances. Think we played our cards very well. Last attack, [it was] not down to one sequence — it’s a full game. We struggled with our resources; used a lot of power yesterday. Very tough game today. Disappointed. So close. Everybody around the club believed. When we wake up, I hope we are proud of what we performed this weekend. No one knows when we are coming back here again. I know this club will take the last step sometime.”

On his feelings for his last match with Aalborg:

“It’s a little difficult to explain. We hoped, everybody around the club, myself as well, we would say goodbye for now with the trophy. We were very close and there are a lot of things going through my mind right now. Now is not about me. It’s a difficult situation. I am so proud of what we have reached, the performance we managed to show, of all these fans who came here with us. I’m saying goodbye for now, but all these relationships I have built, with all the good people for many years, they will stay forever.”

Mads Hoxer (DEN) — right back

On the season overall:

“We can proud of what we have achieved. In a couple of days, we will be very proud of this silver medal, but right now it hurts. We had an almost perfect weekend. We played a great game yesterday. Barça are a tough opponent. To be up there with them — that’s something we’ll be proud about in a few days.”

Thomas Arnoldsen (DEN) — centre back

On losing the final:

“Of course, we are very disappointed. I was there three years ago, and we basically did not play. This time we had an amazing game and we lost one possession. It hurts. It really hurts. But that’s sport.”

On this final being promising for the future:

“We will come back here, and we will win gold. We saw how good we are, with a lot of young players, and that gives even more hope for the future. Right now, we are more disappointed than ever, but if you had told us at the start of the season we would lose the whole Champions League by one goal, we would have signed the bill. It was an amazing game, between two amazing teams, and it’s just too bad that we are on the wrong side of the podium.”

Henrik Møllgaard (DEN) — left back

On losing the final:

“Three years ago, we won the semi-final against the best team in Europe then, Paris, and our performance in the final was not even embarrassing — it was worse. We can be proud of what we showed today: We showed that we gained a lot of maturity, a lot of strength. It hurts more today than it did three years ago, but we made a promise to each other. We will come back here and we will win the final.”

On what Aalborg missed to win the final:

“A couple of bounced balls, a couple of missed shots, the last one hitting the bar and not being in the goal. You know what I mean? Nothing, basically. They were ahead by three, and then we came back and we had this possibility right at the end. The scenario hurts a lot more because we feel like we had the possibility to win. It f***ing hurts right now, but we’ll be back. That’s what I said to the guys. That’s what I said to everyone at the end.”

THW Kiel (GER)

Filip Jicha (CZE) - head coach

On winning the 3/4 placement match:

“We are satisfied we could show a better performance than yesterday. Yesterday was not good from our side, not enough power offensively, we gave a better performance today. After the semi, the players were very disappointed. Today, I am happy for two things: that we showed a better performance, but also that the season is over.”

Niclas Ekberg (SWE) - right wing

On playing his last game with THW Kiel:

“It was a dream scenario today, to end a long career with a win and to celebrate with the fans and the whole club and my family. It was a nice ending. As the coach said, it was a really long season and I need a couple of hours to realize my time in Kiel is coming to an end. I’m still not really coping with it completely. I’m proud, happy. To me, it meant a lot to show a different face for the last match of this team.”

Patrick Wiencek (GER) — line player

On winning the 3/4 placement match:

“It was important for us to show something else than we did yesterday. It was hard to find sleep last night after such a loss, after failing to show what is THW Kiel. Today was much better. The start of the game gave us a lot of confidence offensively, especially after what we delivered yesterday. For the fans, for the team, for the club, it was really important to end the season on a high note.”

On the problems to prepare for such a game:

“We had barely any time and it was short. We did not do anything in particular to be honest. Yesterday we just tried to clear our heads and start from afresh today. That was a tough one, but those finals are all about mental, not anything else. I think the team which had recovered best from their semi-final loss won tonight.”

Hendrik Pekeler (GER) — line player

On his feeling after winning the 3/4 placement match:

“On one hand, I’m not happy because we did not come for the wooden medal, but on the second, I’m proud of the reaction the team showed. It was important to give our fans something to cheer about after our performance yesterday. We started great, scored a lot of goals in the first half and that gave us an advantage that we could rely on in the second half. Magdeburg came back, but we managed to remain calm and focus.”

On the importance of finishing the season with a win:

“Of course it is important. Losing the last two games of the season, especially here, is never a pleasant experience. That’s what we told ourselves — that our result today would impact the taste in our mouths coming back home tomorrow. Mentally, we showed we were able to recover and bounce back, and that’s something positive.”

SC Magdeburg (GER)

Bennet Wiegert (GER) - head coach

On what was missing this weekend for SC Magdeburg:

“It’s difficult to speak about that now. We all wanted so much more. Now, we feel really unhappy, but there are really no reasons to feel bad about this season. Now, sadness is the prevalent feeling, rather than happiness. Today, maybe we had 50 really bad minutes. We were led by nine goals, but we fought the whole time. I’m also happy that the season is over, as Filip said. We need new power for the new season, and I’m sure it will be back within a couple of weeks.”

Ómar Ingi Magnusson (ISL) — right back

On losing the 3/4 placement match:

“It was hard to focus as we were all really disappointed after the loss in the semi-final yesterday. We came here to win the final and it’s tough to find the motivation to play this game. It took us one half and then we started to play good. But we missed too many crucial shots — myself first of all, and it’s hard to come back when you miss these shots after being behind by nine.”

On the reasons Magdeburg played the way they did in the first half:

“It’s hard to say. Kiel played really physical and really quick, while we missed a lot of things. I’m proud because the team fought the whole time and managed to win the second half. But they have a lot of experience and they did not panic when we came back.”

Lukas Mertens (GER) — left wing

On the game:

“Tough one. The first half was really bad from us, especially in defence. They scored 23 goals. We were not good in that area. We managed to come back when we started to defend properly. But then Mrkva made some crucial saves on open shots. I think we lost that game in the first 30 minutes.”

On finishing fourth at the EHF FINAL4:

“Definitely not what we expected. Of course, in a few days, we’ll look back and say that we had a crazy season, with three titles, but we came here to win the EHF Champions League again. The disappointment is huge.”

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