Even before the handball World Cup, national coach Alfred Gislason has to face several challenges. In the interview he talks about keeping a cool head in crunchtime – and the “birth defect” of always wanting to win.
The goalkeeper Niklas Landin, the runners Patrick Wiencek and Hendrik Pekeler, the wingers Niclas Ekberg and Rune Dahmke, also the backsmen Sander Sagosen and Miha Zarabec – none of these top handball players had ever won the Champions League. Therefore, they had no means of comparing them to find the corona-compliant award ceremony somehow strange.
When THW Kiel won the Champions League with a 33:28 (19:16) victory over the favorites FC Barcelona in front of around 18,000 empty seats in the huge Cologne arena on Tuesday evening, next to the field, behind the advertising board, built a small platform. Twelve chairs were placed on the playing field at a suitable distance, but on which no string orchestra played “Joy of Beautiful Gods Spark” – but on which twelve photographers were soon seated to document how Pekeler first became the “Most Valuable Player” ( Most Valuable Player, MVP) of the Champions League final round, like Kiel’s captain Domagoj Duvnjak, who had already won the Champions League with Hamburg in 2013, hung a gold medal around the neck of each of his teammates, and finally the most important trophy of the global club handballs were handed over to the three captains Duvnjak, Landin and Wiencek more or less simultaneously.
The players caressed this metal arm with the handball one by one, then they drank beer in the cabin, then they took a shower in the hotel, flew home to Kiel that night and there they enjoyed the feeling of having won the most important club competition. Steffen Weinhold, who had this experience with Flensburg in 2014, was ready to go to extremes when it came to partying after an almost perfect handball game in Kiel. “My goal is to party until January 1st,” he said that evening in the Cologne hall, “but I’m not sure I will make it.”
These were probably the only words of doubt from the mouth of a Kiel handball player. Because how these THW handball players, who were very handicapped in terms of personnel, with basically one goalkeeper and nine field players, defeated HC Veszprém 36:35 after extra time on Monday and even distanced FC Barcelona with five goals the next day, that was not only unexpected , that was surprising, maybe even sensational. Barcelona’s right winger Blaž Janc attested the Kielers nothing more than “a perfect game”.
The Spaniards led 3-2 only once in the initial phase, otherwise the Kiel team determined the pace and score of the game almost at will. When their exploitation of chances suffered a bit for the first time in the second half, they saw their goalkeeper Landin parry almost every shot on goal. At the end of the day, 14 throws were held in the Dane’s balance sheet, who is now the reigning Olympic handball champion, world champion and Champions League winner. The Swede Ekberg had eight hits in the final and seven of the Norwegians Sagosen. But Pekeler was rightly chosen as the best player of the two-day final tournament. Together with Weinhold and Wiencek, he had shown a fabulous defensive performance twice and also contributed twelve hits in both games together as a circle runner. “He has been an MVP for me for years,” joked Weinhold, “with his size and physique, but above all his cleverness – and he showed all of this perfectly in both games.”
The 38-year-old THW trainer Filip Jícha, who played for Kiel from 2007 to 2015 and also won the two Champions League titles in Cologne as an active player in 2010 and 2012, is already after Talant Dujshebaev and Roberto García Parrondo the third to win this title as a player and coach, but the first to do so with the same club. “Filip prepared us tactically twice,” said Weinhold. “He hits exactly the right note, we neither played overly motivated nor too sluggish,” reported Landin.
And so the slowing of the speed in Kiel in the game of FC Barcelona was the key to victory. Kiel usually played the attacks consistently to the end and was so alert and fast in the backward movement that the Spaniards, who had demoralized the star ensemble of Paris Saint-Germain in the semifinals, did not even get into their high, destructive pace game in the final against Kiel. “We worked incredibly for two days,” said Abwehrmann and Kreisläufer Wiencek in an interview after the game so breathless that he couldn’t think of anything pathetic about Kiel’s fourth Champions League triumph and his own first, just a very earthly one Wish: “I’m so looking forward to a cold beer.”
One might assume that the people of Kiel will have enough of this pleasure in time for New Year’s Eve. Afterwards, some of them are already looking forward to the World Cup in Egypt in January. Weinhold, Pekeler and Wiencek, however, prefer to relax. All three have canceled their participation in the World Cup because of the corona pandemic, because of the overall high level of exposure and thus ultimately for family reasons, as they put it. “I will of course follow the World Cup,” said Weinhold, “I think it’s exciting how the team will play there, and I’ll keep my fingers crossed, but I’m really happy about a few days without handball.”
A bit of rest is good after a hot autumn and this nonetheless profitable burden in Cologne, and especially in the event that Weinhold still puts his plan into action and goes through it until New Year’s Day. Then the responsible commission of the European Handball Federation EHF could perhaps meet again, vote again, ring Hendrik Pekeler, take the MVP trophy from him and present it to Steffen Weinhold: for an almost inhuman performance in celebrating a great handball triumph.
National coach Alfred Gislason will have followed the triumphal procession of the Kiel in Cologne with mixed feelings. While Weinhold took responsibility in the attack and scored reliably, Wiencek and Pekeler cleaned up the rear. Pekeler, who also contributed four goals to the win against the top favorites from Barcelona, was deservedly named “Most Valuable Player” (MVP) of the Final Fours.
At the handball world championship that starts on January 13th in Egypt, these three “THW kings” will not wear the jersey of the German national team. All three had already declared in mid-December that for family reasons they did not want to travel to the mega-tournament in North Africa during the Corona crisis. In Egypt, 32 teams will compete for the first time, and the winner will not be known until January 31.
“The general development of the corona pandemic with the renewed hard lockdown worries me as a family man, and I cannot leave my wife and daughters alone for more than four weeks during this time,” said Pekeler, justifying his cancellation of the World Cup. After the Champions League victory, the “MVP” held back and did not step in front of the microphones.
Many international top stars from Kiel, however, will appear in Egypt. Domagoj Duvnjak, the “unfinished”, would like to finally win gold with Croatia, but he had before pronounced for a cancellation of the tournament. The brothers Niklas and Magnus Landin are in Denmark’s World Cup squad, as is THW superstar Sander Sagosen from Norway. “
Shortly after the turn of the year, she will continue to work in the handball mill with preparations for the World Cup.
For Wiencek, Pekeler and Weinhold there is actually a break on the program. Just like for her Swedish team mate Niclas Ekberg. The right winger, the best THW thrower in the final in Cologne with eight goals, is also not part of the World Cup, is only in the reserve squad of Sweden.
“I will of course follow the World Cup,” said Weinhold, “I keep my fingers crossed for the team. But I’m really happy about a few days without handball.” Much to the chagrin of national coach Gislason.
The THW Kiel stormed the European handball throne for the fourth time in a rousing way. Led by the outstanding keeper Niklas Landin, the German record champions fought down top favorites FC Barcelona 33:28 (19:16) in a surprisingly clear Champions League final in Cologne, triumphing in the premier class for the first time in eight years.
“You can’t put that into words at all. Without a spectator, a lot is missing, but we have plowed and plowed so much, I’m incredibly proud of us all,” said international Patrick Wiencek Eurosport: “Now I’m looking forward to a cold beer! Hopefully everything is ready.” Coach Filip Jicha also cheered: “It’s unbelievable and very emotional. I’m super happy for the boys.”
The cool Swede Niclas Ekberg was the best thrower for Jicha’s team, who celebrated the greatest triumph of his young coaching career, with eight hits in the late final tournament of the 2019/20 season. The Czech coach was the first handball player to win the most important club competition in Europe both as a player and as a coach for a club.
The title is also financially valuable for the people of Kiel. By beating Barca, whose 22-game winning streak in the premier class ended in the empty Cologne arena, the German champions secured a valuable bonus of 500,000 euros in times of crisis. Paris Saint-Germain came in third after a 31:26 (14:11) against the Hungarian top team Veszprem HC. The Kiel team reached the final on Monday in a dramatic semi-final thriller against Veszprem (36:35 after extra time). The previous victories in the Champions League were in 2007 and under today’s national coach Alfred Gislason in 2010 and 2012.
In the 300th Champions League game in the history of the THW club, the Kiel team got off to a good start, with world handball player Landin defusing a seven-meter straight away in the Kiel goal at the beginning. And even offensively, Kiel’s moves resulted in practically always a goal in the beginning. Exceptional player Sander Sagosen took on a lot of responsibility, just like the day before, but saw his second time penalty in the cover from the rather petty whistling referees in the 11th minute. From then on, captain Domagoj Duvnjak defended the Norwegian.
Barcelona, which reached the final with a sovereign 37:32 against Paris, had their problems against the usual strong Kiel inner block with the national players Patrick Wiencek and Hendrik Pekeler as well as against keeper Landin. On the other hand, the Jicha team kept finding simple solutions. At 13: 9 (19th minute) Kiel took the lead with four goals for the first time, but after a slight loss of the ball and hasty finishes, Barca equalized – 15:15 (27th).
But then again the aggressively very flexible North Germans presented. The THW even increased the three-goal lead at the break to five goals after the change. Barcelona’s offensive rows continued to have big problems, the passionately fighting THW presented itself very effectively at the front. The final therefore continued in the direction of Kiel. Above all, Landin defused one ball after the other after the break and again and again secured the lead for THW, while national player Steffen Weinhold also impressed with strong individual actions at the front.
Filip Jícha struggled to sort his words. They rolled out of his mouth. The Czech coach of the German champions THW Kiel was supposed to explain in English how his team in Cologne, plagued by failures, managed to defeat one of the best club teams in the world with the Hungarian Veszprém KC in the semi-finals of the Champions League. The electrifying game lasted 70 minutes. Sometimes Kiel was seven goals ahead, sometimes four goals behind.
In the first half of extra time, Kreislayer Patrick Wiencek saw red after a questionable referee decision, Veszprém threw himself two goals in front, but in the end Kiel won 36:35 and made it into the Champions League final for the first time in six years, where the team went this Tuesday evening will face FC Barcelona (8.30 p.m., Eurosport and Dazn). All of this was too much for Jícha to speak calmly and in order. But a fitting metaphor was easy to understand: “My players fought like lions.”
The Champions League final tournament in this Corona year will not take place on Saturdays / Sundays in front of 18,000 spectators in the huge Cologne Arena, but on Mondays / Tuesdays in the empty, huge Cologne Arena. Not even in the summer at the end of the season, but at the end of December, at a time when the new, subsequent Champions League season has long been in full swing. So on this Tuesday, the winner of the last Champions League season 2019/20 will be determined, which has not yet been completed due to the interruption of the game in the summer.
In the group phase of the new season, the Kielers lost in Veszprém at the beginning of December with a massive 33:41. In addition, they dropped out on Monday evening in Cologne, Nikola Bilyk, an injured player, and Pavel Horák and Magnus Landin, two players suffering from Corona. These were extremely poor conditions to defeat the Hungarian record champions, who were not only brilliant in terms of personnel, but also extensively occupied.
“You would actually need 16 quality players to survive these two days,” Jícha said before the semi-finals. In the semifinals he had to make do with one goalkeeper (Niklas Landin) and nine field players. Rune Dahmke played through on the left as well as Niklas Ekberg on the right. Because Domagoj Duvnjak was not yet in full possession of his powers after a corona illness, Miha Zarabec played through as a middleman in the back area to a large extent.
Duvnjak, who should have been spared, had to help out in the second half with every Veszprémer attack in the Kiel defense because Sander Sagosen had already received the second time penalty shortly before the break and was no longer allowed to risk anything. He could no longer be used in cover.
In a season in which nothing is normal and the players complain about mental and physical overload to such an extent that the Kiel national players Steffen Weinhold, Hendrik Pekeler and Patrick Wiencek canceled the World Cup in Egypt in January, THW Kiel had to de In fact, ten times in 70 exhausting minutes to bring down the energetic favorite Veszprém – and only 24 hours later he has to muster at least the same selfless passion again to tackle FC Barcelona, which has been victorious in 22 Champions League games in a row. How does that work?
“First with a good night’s sleep and a light breakfast,” said coach Jícha on Monday night, not even trying to joke. His new backcourt star Sagosen explained why physical and mental limits could not be considered on Tuesday evening: “Because it is the final of the Champions League.”
National coach Alfreð Gíslason should have watched the Kiel semifinals on Monday evening with tears in his eyes at home, not only out of melancholy because he was THW trainer for many years and continues to feverish with this club, but because the three World Cup rejecters Weinhold, Pekeler and Wiencek provided a fabulous middle block of cover and impressively showed him what he will be missing at the World Cup in January. In addition, Pekeler was also Kiel’s most successful goalscorer with eight goals. Kiel’s triumph was just as much a signal of the strength of German handball as it was of its vulnerability. Because Gíslason will not be able to replace the three Kielers equally in Egypt.
Dhe recent lockdown in sport hits the professional sport abesites of football hard. Frank Bohmann has been the managing director of the Handball Bundesliga since June 2003 and represents the interests of 39 professional clubs. In the interview he paints a gloomy picture. You experience “dying in installments”.
WORLD: Previously, partial admission to the games was permitted, now the industry has to act again in front of empty stands.
Frank Bohmann: We had already removed our make-up to get more fans into the halls. Although we could not prove a single case of an infectious disease from handball. The infected are followed up, and no one was there who was infected at a sporting event.
WORLD: How big is your fear of bankruptcies in the coming months?
Goals HSG Nordhorn-Lingen: R. Weber 6/1, De Boer 5, Pöhle 4, Seidel 4/1, Miedema 3, Stegefelt 2, Visser 2, Kalafut 1, Possehl 1, Vorlicek 1
THW Like: Ekberg 8/2, Reinkind 6, Dahmke 5, Duvnjak 4, Sagosen 4, Wiencek 3, Zarabec 3, Horak 1, Pekeler 1
Penalty minutes: 14 / 14
Disqualification: – / Pekeler (29.)
Second division, HSV: Hamburger SV took the second win in the second game in the 2nd Bundesliga thanks to a show of strength. The Hanseatic team around coach Daniel Thioune won spectacularly 4: 3 (2: 3) at SC Paderborn and took the lead in the lower house.
Like a week ago, newcomer Simon Terodde managed a double for HSV (24/56). Manuel Wintzheimer (14th) had brought the Rothosen into the lead, the winning goal was marked by Aaron Hunt with a penalty (82nd). Bundesliga relegated Paderborn had meanwhile turned the game in his favor thanks to a lightning strike by Dennis Srbeny (34th, penalty kick) and Chris Führich (36th, 38th). Despite an appealing performance, the SCP continues its dark streak of now 17 league games without a win across the seasons and are there with zero points after two games. 300 spectators were allowed in the Benteler Arena, but not only because of the corona virus, but ostensibly for noise protection reasons. They saw a fast-paced duel right from the start, in which HSV quickly led 2-0. But the home side turned the game around within just four minutes: The strong debutant Führich, who came from Borussia Dortmund II, first took out a penalty and then tied up a two-point package that was worth seeing.
In the second round, the guests reported back promptly and equalized through Terodde. The newcomer from 1. FC Köln has already scored four goals this season, while Dieter Schatzschneider’s “eternal” second division record is still 32 goals short of the attacker. However, Terodde has been the most successful shooter in the single-track lower house since Monday with 122 hits.
Ice Hockey, NHL: Tampa Bay Lightning has won the Stanley Cup for the second time since 2004. In the sixth final duel in the play-offs of the North American ice hockey league NHL, the favorite prevailed on the night from Monday to Tuesday against the Dallas Stars 2-0 and decided the best-of-seven series 4-2 for themselves. The guarantee of victory was goalie Andrei Wassilewski, who blocked all 22 shots that hit his goal. “We had a lot of confidence,” said Canadian center Brayden Point, who put Tampa in the lead in the first quarter: “We worked so hard and implemented our schedule very well. We only thought of the game that was ahead of us. “
Team-mate Blake Coleman ensured the final score in the second quarter. Tampa defender Victor Hedman was voted the most important player in the final series. “A dream has come true. It’s the best I’ve had in my entire hockey career,” said Hedman. The Swede also has a chance of winning the Norris Trophy, which is awarded to the best defender in the league. Skilled captain Steven Stamkos received the Stanley Cup in the NHL bubble in Edmonton from Commissioner Gary Bettman. “I am so proud of this team and everything we have achieved,” said Stamkos: “I am speechless. It is fantastic to be part of it.”
Tennis, French Open: Top favorite Rafael Nadal and US Open winner Dominic Thiem have won their first round matches with ease. The twelve-time champion and defending champion Nadal (34) beat Egor Gerasimow from Belarus in a fast run with 6: 4, 6: 4, 6: 2. Thiem solved his tricky task against Marin Cilic in a focused manner. The 27-year-old Austrian, who defeated Alexander Zverev in the final in New York, prevailed against the Croatian US Open winner from 2014 6: 4, 6: 3, 6: 3 in Paris.
In the past two years, Thiem reached the final of the French Open and lost to Nadal. The number four seeded Russian Daniil Medvedev was surprisingly eliminated with a 4: 6, 6: 7 (3: 7), 6: 2, 1: 6 defeat against Marton Fucsovics from Hungary. In the women’s competition, Serena Williams started highly concentrated and defeated Kristie Ahn 7: 6 (7: 2), 6: 0 in a duel between two Americans. The 39-year-old Williams makes the next attempt in Paris to win her 24th Grand Slam title and to draw level with the record holder Margaret Court (Australia).