Sagosen: “A final against Mikkel would be a dream”
He was the top scorer and outstanding player of the EHF EURO 2020, adding a bronze medal to the silvers he won with Norway at the World Championships in 2017 and 2019.
There is no doubt that Sander Sagosen (25) is among the most complete handball players in the world.
Having started his professional career at age 18 in the Norwegian town of Haslum, he went to Aalborg in Denmark for three seasons. And after his star rose at the EHF EURO 2016 in Poland, he made the next major step - to Paris Saint-Germain Handball in 2017.
Playing with stars like Mikkel Hansen, Nikola Karabatic and Thierry Omeyer taught him lessons for life and career. With PSG, Sagosen has his first, and so far only, appearance at the EHF FINAL4 in 2018, but they missed the final.
Now the left and centre back is back – with THW Kiel, the club he joined in the summer of 2020.
In this interview, Sagosen talks about:
eurohandball.com: How have you settled in Kiel so far?
Sander Sagosen: It is perfect in all departments. I play in a great team, I am very satisfied with the way we train. Everything connected to handball is absolutely perfect, and everything outside of handball is the same. It is a great pleasure for me to be here.
eurohandball.com: You are from Trondheim, lived in Paris for some years and now moved to Kiel – how different were those cities?
Sander Sagosen: Paris was very different compared to the other two. Kiel is a city like Trondheim, close to the sea, you smell the sea in the air, you have beaches, it is like Scandinavia here. Paris is a huge mega-city, Kiel and Trondheim are much smaller, and both are close to nature. I love to be in nature, so even from this perspective, this transfer was perfect for me.
eurohandball.com: And what about Kiel, when it comes to handball?
Sander Sagosen: Of course, Kiel is the city of handball, they live and breathe handball in Kiel, this is one reason to come here. When you went out in Paris, you were unknown to the people, here in Kiel you are surrounded only by handball fans. And it is such a pity that in these times we have no fans in the arena. I really love this moment when the pandemic is over, and I have my first home match for THW in a sold-out arena, with this very, very special atmosphere.
Kiel is the city of handball, they live and breathe handball in Kiel, this is one reason to come here. When you went out in Paris, you were unknown to the people, here in Kiel you are surrounded only by handball fans.
Sander Sagosen: Of course, I came to Kiel to win as many trophies as possible, and the next chance I have is at EHF FINAL4 in Cologne at the end of December. I am very ambitious, but when you look upon the history and the silverware of the club, it is even more ambitious than I am.
eurohandball.com: When we talk about the EHF FINAL4, we have to talk about your special history. What is the biggest difference between PSG and THW?
Sander Sagosen: Both teams are absolute top teams in the world of handball, with top players, maybe the best in the world. But the biggest difference I guess is the relationship of the players. In Paris, you said ‘au revoir’ after the training and everybody went home in the districts where they lived, because it was such a huge city. In Kiel, we all live so close that we see each other in the evening for a dinner or something else. We as THW players do a lot of things together, there is a very special team spirit among us. Though I am only here since summer, it feels already like a handball family for me.
eurohandball.com: When your transfer to Kiel was announced, many people wondered if it would work out with two top playmakers - Sander Sagosen and Domagoj Duvnjak - in one team. What is your experience so far?
Sander Sagosen: We fit perfectly. We have a match every third day, and in the Bundesliga you have to play 100 percent if you want to win. So, ‘Dule’ and I share this position, we share the time on the court, and we cooperate better day by day. It really functions, and of course we want to prove this in Cologne as well.
eurohandball.com: In the semi-final in Cologne, Kiel will face Telekom Veszprém, the team you recently lost 41:33 to…
Sander Sagosen: We wanted to win there, but we had three tough away matches in six days, from Barcelona to Göppingen to Veszprém. We were on an equal level for 45 minutes, then we lost our power and energy against a really strong team. Vezsprém can more or less focus on the Champions League, we have two tough competitions to play.
eurohandball.com: Were you sad that Kiel had not drawn your former club PSG for the semi-final?
Sander Sagosen: Why should I be sad? There is still the final left for this match (laughing)! Of course, I would love to face Paris in a crucial match in Cologne, and if we beat Veszprém it could be a final against PSG. I focus on my current tasks, and I am playing for Kiel now. But definitely, I will enjoy seeing some good friends. I am still in contact with many PSG players.
Sander Sagosen: We are really close friends, it was great to play with him in Paris, and it would be a dream to play a Champions League final against him. But to be honest, we should not talk so much about the final and the semi-final and the tournament, we shall just play and see.
I would love to face Paris in a crucial match in Cologne, and if we beat Veszprém it could be a final against PSG. I focus on my current tasks, and I am playing for Kiel now. But definitely, I will enjoy seeing some good friends.
Sander Sagosen: They have strong individual players and they really got better as a team in the last year. And as I said, they can save some power for the EHF FINAL4, preparing only on this event and on us, while we had Bundesliga matches right before the tournament.
eurohandball.com: What does it mean personally for you to be back on the big stage at Cologne?
Sander Sagosen: We have a chance to win a highly important title there, this is my ambition, this is our goal. If you are so close – in the semi-final – you want to have it. I am totally looking forward to the event.