A Word On

GF World Cup 

There was almost no surprise in Russia, Norway and France taking the podium in Denmark. The triplet will divide and conquer again, in Brazil.

Days after Romania’s performance, the sensitive side took over. So, I am thinking: let Amariei and Bradeanu finish the winning streak started in 1999, at another World Championship! This in no one else’s job. And stop complaining about coaching and selection making! It is the end of a magnificent chapter in our handball history, but another one, full of surprises and expectations, is about to begin. Let it be written anew, not based on mourning and insult!

Two teams caught  my attention in different ways: Germany and Denmark.

Germany does not inspire much in terms of individuals. However, the thought of a team trying to redeem itself makes it appealing. Germany has so many available players that it is impossible to decide on a player the team depends on the most. Not even Grit Jurack is indispensable. This reflects the balanced level of their internal league. Whereas Danes will talk of talent, Germans will talk of efficiency. It does not give the audience the most spectacular handball, but it creates excitement and uncertainty in regard to the final standing of a major competition.

Decimated by injuries, Denmark does not look as strong as it did last year. Their girls are mentally weak and will let go when it is the least expected. With two playmakers out, Berit Kristiansen and Laerke Møller, pivot action is lacking, as the opponents focus on Dalby, Jørgensen, Skov or Troelsen. Troelsen is not a complete shooter as she is, let alone under careful supervision. And so, a lot of responsibility falls on Rikke Skov, who is more of a team player than someone who can turn around matches. It is worrying to see that a team with such a fountain of talented young players cannot enter the arena of the grands yet.

Champions league: Day 1

We have three disputed groups:  Oltchim-Dimano-Itxako, Gyor-Metz-Randers and Viborg-Larvik-Krim are pretty decent fights of which we hardly known the winner in advance. The weakest link remaining, for Main Round, would be second place in Group A. FCM? With Laerke Møller? Maybe the ideal exception. While we are at it, I place my bets on Herbert Müller.

Next week will bring some answers to the questions we have asked until now:

1. Is the motivation really lacking in Oltchim?

2. Has anything changed in Dinamo since last year? Can they be exciting main-rounders instead of a laughing stock?

3. What is the power of Metz against a strong team? can Randers dream of making a sensation this season?

4. How decisive can Gyor’s lack of depth become?

5. Is one of the most interesting battles in Champions League, Krim-VHK, back in fashion?  

Season Preview Interviews

The handball123.com website does a series of interviews with key actors of the teams playing Champions League this season. Here are the juicy parts and the alternative translation:

Herbert Muller, coach of Thuringer HC:

I think we have a good squad as well for this year, but you don’t have to look only titles, but have to see the team development.

=>> It was plain luck we won the title last season, no one in the club expects us to actually win points in the group stage.

I think the team fits from it’s team spirit, but here at Schmelz the final piece was still missing to win one of the close matches. Shots that went in last year now didn’t go in. We have to work on that.

=>> This is not FTC, so don’t expect us to score from the 9m line.

Galina Gabisova, goalkeeper of Rostov Don:

In the previous season many things were not as they should have been. I played a little, so there was no relation between us (her and Suslina), but this season things will change.

=>> CL is the least of my worries. If I get to play 10 min every other match, that will be my trophy.

Simply, I decided in the last moment to stay at home. My parents had a little role in this decision, but I also wanted to stay and prove that in Rostov, I’m number 1.

=>> There’s a rumor Inna will retire soon.

Jana Krause, goalkeeper of Buxtehuder SV:

At the moment I`m very satisfied here and feel very good in the team, but I`m also very ambitious. I don`t know what will be after two years. Then I will be 26 years old, where the best years for goalkeepers begin. It could be interesting to make new experiences in a foreign country, but I haven`t thought about this yet.

=>> Englert, Woltering, I’m coming!

It is a dream to reach one of the CL groups with Buxtehude. I played two seasons with Nürnberg in the CL, and that was a greatly experience and feeling to play against the best teams and players in Europe and the world.

=>> I realize those days are gone now and Women’s Champions League is degrading. Let’s face it: we are only battling with Debrecen for the “worst team of CL award”.

Ana Djokic of Buducnost:

The most memorable match in the previous season was the match against Larvik, because in this match we fought for something that Buducnost has not experienced yet, and that is the entrance in the final of the Champions League.

=>> I am pretending that was not one of the biggest fiascoes in the history of the Balkan peninsula.

How do you see the future of Buducnost?  I see my team in the top of the Champions League.

=>> How do I see the future of our Future? Tricky question. I’ll do like Adzic and say something redundant.

Ambros Martin, coach of Itxako:

Finally we have shown that the same teams do not always have to rule Champions League.

=>> Swallow that, Voina!

For the two opponents that we already know I think that Oltchim has improved from last year and Hypo signed a lot of new players, all of them are very good players so we will see what will happen. (Note: they are playing Dinamo, not Hypo)

=>> I have no idea who our opponents are. I just hope we get to kick some Romanian a.. again.