Claar and Aalborg are ready for the challenge
Aalborg Håndbold’s seven-match winning run in the EHF Champions League Men 2021/22, an all-time record for the Danish club, ended with a bang last week.
Aalborg gradually lost grip on Telekom Veszprém HC when the teams contested the first leg of the quarter-final in Hungary on Thursday.
While the match was still in balance early in the second half (17:17), Aalborg ultimately went down by seven goals: 36:29 – a huge margin, especially regarding the quality of the opposition.
“We had problems in the attack in the second half and we did some easy mistakes. We cannot do that against a team like Veszprém,” said Aalborg’s Swedish left back Felix Claar, the competition’s top scorer who added four goals last week to raise his tally to 85.
While Aalborg have won a match by at least eight goals twice this season – against HC PPD Zagreb and Montpellier HB – Claar is obviously aware of the tough task ahead.
“It will be hard to win by eight goals, but this time we play in Aalborg and that is a big difference for us. We need some help from our fans,” said Claar, referring to the sold-out Sparekassen Danmark Arena for Wednesday match (live on EHFTV at 18:45 CEST).
“The atmosphere in Veszprém was amazing and I know it is going to be almost the same in Aalborg,” the left back added. “I appreciate all the support I get from the fans, and I am really happy for that.”
Claar has an impressive track record this season: apart from the opener in Zagreb, he has scored at least four goals in each and every EHF Champions League match Aalborg played.
Being the top scorer and one of the leading players, no wonder a lot of expectations will rest on his shoulders when Aalborg start their comeback attempt against Veszprém.
If he is up for it?
“Of course, I am! Big games like these are really fun to play,” he said. “I always try to do my best and do things that are the best for the team.”
The atmosphere in Veszprém was amazing and I know it is going to be almost the same in Aalborg. I appreciate all the support I get from the fans. Big games like these are really fun to play.
The 25-year-old Claar arrived in Aalborg in the summer of 2020 after seven seasons with Alingsås HK in his native Sweden.
Claar was still only 17 when he made his EHF Champions League debut in 2014/15, when Alingsås shared a group with the likes of Barça and SG Flensburg-Handewitt and Claar impressed with a five-goal outing against the reigning champions from Germany.
Having gained a lot of experience through the years, Claar scored 52 times as he returned to Europe’s top flight with Aalborg last season, helping the Danish club reach their first European final – which they lost to the untouchable Barça.
That first visit to the EHF FINAL4 has made Claar and Aalborg hungry for more. They are eager to go back to LANXESS Arena.
“To play in Cologne is one of the biggest things you can achieve as a handball player and we are going to try to do that again,” Claar said.
“Last year there were no fans because of the pandemic. It is going to be amazing with fans this time if we make it there.”