Flash quotes: EHF Finals media calls, 24 May

Flash quotes: EHF Finals media calls, 24 May

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European Handball Federation

HAMBURG – Comments ahead of the EHF Finals Men 2024 semi-finals from SG Flensburg-Handewitt head coach Nicolej Krickau (DEN), line player Johannes Golla (GER), left back Simon Pytlick, and goalkeeper Kevin Møller (DEN); Dinamo Bucuresti head coach Xavu Pascual (ESP), centre back Luka Cindric (CRO), left back Ali Zein (EGY), and centre back Lazar Kukic (SRB); Rhein-Neckar Löwen head coach Sebatian Hinze (GER), and right wings Patrick Groetzki (GER) and Tobias Reichmann (GER); Füchse Berlin head coach Jaron Siewert (GER), right wing Hans Lindberg (DEN), and left back Paul Drux (GER).



Nicolej Krickau (DEN) – head coach, SG Flensburg-Handewitt

On Kay Smits being back in the squad:

"It would be a major surprise if Kay Smits could play after only having some training sessions. But he is a good player for penalties. We are prepared on everything, so we will see."

On his Dinamo counterpart, Xavi Pascual:

"It will be interesting to see whether he will go all-in and play with full risk in terms of counter attacks a system, he played for many years in Barcelona. At Dinamo he can count on many players with counter-attack qualities. In general, I really appreciate his way of working and his coaching styles. He does not only have a clear concept and philosophy, but also is famous for developing the individual qualities of players."

Johannes Golla (GER) – line player and team captain SG Flensburg-Handewitt

On playing at the EHF Finals:

"The most important game is on Saturday: if you lose this, you are not in the final. We need to start much better than we did some weeks ago in the German cup final tournament. But this time we have a longer period to prepare for Bucuresti. We have to play with confidence and put everything for 60 minutes on the court."

On semi-final opponents Dinamo Bucuresti:

"We did not play against them that often and we did not play that often against a style of handball they play, a classic Spanish way with three strong line players and their perfect cooperation with the back court players. Dinamo are a strong opponent and it will be an exciting task to face them."

On the possibility for the club to win a fifth different European cup trophy:

"SG Flensburg-Handewitt have won almost every title you can win in European handball, except the European League. Therefore, it would be brilliant to be part of the team that wins the trophy. But regardless the competition, we want to win all titles, and as we did not win a trophy in the last years, every trophy counts and means a lot for us."

On the fan support in Hamburg:

"Last year, when Flensburg hosted the EHF Finals, it was extremely bitter for us not being part of the tournament. Now, our fans are even more excited to support us in Hamburg. Many people will come with a lot of energy, so I hope that the EHF Finals will be something like home matches for us. This support will have an immense impact on us."

Simon Pytlick (DEN) – left back SG Flensburg-Handewitt

On competing at the EHF Finals:

"We are really looking forward to big games in this big arena with a great atmosphere. The European League is a huge competition and we are aiming to win it. The EHF Finals are something like a little Champions League EHF FINAL4."

Kevin Møller (DEN) – goalkeeper SG Flensburg-Handewitt

On learning from the German cup final tournament recently:

"Every experience helps you to get better, but we have to be willing to learn from that. Our goal is clearly set, we want to pass from the semi to the final, then we will see, which team is waiting for us. We want to show this time that we are able to stand the pressure of a final tournament. We have to be on 100 per cent from the very first second."

On Dinamo coach Xavi Pascual, his his former coach at Barcelona:

"He is full of passion and Spanish fire, with a lot of emotion. For sure, he will prepare something very special to surprise us. He is brilliant in analysing the opponents, and all those trophies he won are no coincidence."

Xavi Pascual (ESP) – head coach Dinamo Bucuresti

On playing at the EHF Finals:

"It is amazing for us to be here. It is already like a trophy after this tough season. We are here to see what happens, it is amazing to compete against those German teams. We are invited to the German cup – and we have a lot of respect for them, but our team is ready."

On semi-final opponents SG Flensburg Handewitt:

"When they started the season, they did not play good, it took some time to find the right way after changing the coach. But in the last games, they played amazing, so it will be a tough game for us. Flensburg have amazing players on all positions, they are number three in Bundesliga, what shows their strength. We have a lot of respect for them, but we try to find something to stop them. We have confidence in what we are doing now. We are trying to take advantage from some certain situations, and we try to keep the game open as long as possible. And you should never lose your focus."

On his many previous titles as coach:

"I never think about the past and the titles we won before, but only about the present and the titles you can win. I am very happy what we did with the team, we made some great efforts, and nobody could expect us to be here three years ago. For the first time at a final tournament, my team is not the favourite. But we all know that not every time the favourites win those tournaments."

On the fan support from Romanians:

"A lot of supporters will be here. No matter where we play, we have always support, they are always with us and we are happy to have fans like these."

Luka Cindric (CRO) – centre back Dinamo Bucuresti

On coming to Hamburg seen by many as underdogs:

"From the past I have learnt that there is no favourite at a any final tournament. Everything is possible, every teams here has the same chances to win."

Ali Zein (EGY) – left back Dinamo Bucuresti

On Dinamo chances at the EHF Finals:

"Things are going in a good way this season, we built a lot here at Dinamo in the last three years and we are on the right way. We will try everything here to do something big for the club, something good for us. We will see."

Lazar Kukic (SRB) – centre back Dinamo Bucuresti

On competing at the EHF Finals:

"To be in Hamburg means a lot for us and is a big motivation. We will give our best try to win the trophy, but it is already a big result for our club to be part of the EHF Finals."



Sebastian Hinze (GER) – head coach, Rhein-Neckar Löwen

On preparing for the EHF Finals Men:

"We had a successful week of preparation, which makes me and us feel confident. Mainly our tactical preparation was really intense. You do not need to motivate any player when you come to a tournament like this. The main things is to feel secure and focused. The atmosphere among my players was very relaxed when we entered the bus to Hamburg. We all see that we have the chance to beat Berlin, though we are the underdog. We have 60 minutes ahead on Saturday and we know that moments will come, when you can make something really great."

Patrick Groetzki (GER) – right wing and team captain Rhein-Neckar Löwen

On his team's chances to win the EHF Finals:

"We dream of winning the title, of course. Last year, we made it to the final tournament of the German cup, started as underdogs, and ended up winning the trophy. We did not have the best results in the German league in the last month, but those results do not count this weekend. Everybody knows that at a final tournament everything can happen for every team. We have a chance and we want to grab it."

On the fan support:

"Many of our fans will travel to Hamburg, like they have done at previous final tournaments. It is a long tradition that our block will be full of yellow dressed fans."

Tobias Reichmann (GER) – right wing Rhein-Neckar Löwen

"Half a year ago, when Löwen contacted me to jump in, I never thought of having the chance to win another international trophy. So I am really happy. We are well prepared, although we know that we are not the favourites. It is a do-or-die competition, and we will go all-in to win the title. If you make it to the final, you need to recover fast and everything must fit once again. In the end, it is just about scoring one more goal than your opponent, twice. Every tournament is something special, and my anticipation is really huge."

Jaron Siewert (GER) – head coach, Füchse Berlin

On playing the EHF Finals as the defending champions:

"We are very excited about Hamburg, we are going into the tournament as defending champions and we will compete there with the self-confidence of a defending champion. Qualifying for the Champions League was one of our goals, we have achieved that, but now we want to hold something in our hands, travel back to Berlin with the trophy and crown the season with a title. Last year we proved that we can win the EHF Finals."

On the other contenders:

"Regardless, whether we are favourites or not, three good teams have made it to Hamburg, all of them have the potential to beat each other. We have shown this season that setbacks don't knock us down and that we can beat big opponents, like twice against Bucharest or in Nantes, where many had written us off. We have confidence in our team and our own performance, and we show absolute will in knockout games, that's what makes a defending champion."

Hans Lindberg (DEN) – right wing, Füchse Berlin

On playing his last big event with Füchse in Hamburg where we played in the past:

"Hamburg has an enormous meaning and relevance for me, I played in Hamburg for half of my time in Germany. That's why it was my big goal to qualify for this tournament. It feels strange that I only have four matches left with Füchse. I haven't fully realised it yet but it's almost over. I'm looking forward to the tournament, but it is still not quite in my head."

Paul Drux (GER) – left back, Füchse Berlin

On semi-final opponents Rhein-Neckar Löwen:

"The fact that we won the last few games against Löwen does not mean a lot. Like us, they also have enough self-confidence and showed in the European League that they can step up a gear. They will be extremely motivated to end a less than successful season on a positive note, but we want to hold on."


photo © 2024 Sasa Pahic Szabo / kolektiff

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