Hansen: “We need to find the right timing again”
Things have just out fantastic for Mikkel Hansen so far in 2019.
On 5 January, just before the start of the World Championship, he became a farther for the first time, and 22 days later, Sunday 27 January, he could lift the trophy together with his teammates in Jyske Bank Boxen in Herning after becoming World champions in convincing style after 10 wins out of 10 games at the competition in Germany and Denmark.
He is long back in his club, Paris Saint-Germain Handball who are preparing for the last group matches in the VELUX EHF Champions League as well as for the second half of the French league season.
“There is no doubt, that after being away from each other for more than a month, we need to find the timing in our game again, but that is probably the same for most top teams.
“The sooner the timing is there, the better, of course, but we have had some very good training sessions, so things look very promising,” says Mikkel Hansen who was awarded Most Valuable Player of the competition on top of becoming World champion with Denmark for the first time.
“It has been quite nice to come back to the well-known surroundings after all the celebrating, which was, of course, fantastic, but it has also been nice to have a little time to myself and my family along with starting training in PSG again.
“It has been nice to have the weekend off for once,” explains the 31-year-old left back who has won almost everything there is to win in handball - but only almost.
Good chance of finally winning the CL
He became European champion with Denmark in 2012, he is the reigning Olympic champion with Denmark from 2016, and now, he can also call himself World champion.
In addition to all of this, he has several national championships from Spain, Denmark and France, and he has been awarded IHF Player of the Year twice.
The only big title, he is still missing, is the Champions League title.
He has been in the VELUX EHF FINAL4 four times – with FC Barcelona in 2010 and with PSG in 2016, 2017 and 2018, but without reaching the top of the podium on any of those occasions.
“Our chance of finally making it this season is good, however.
“We have a really good team, and I think we have performed really well this season so far, in the French league as well as in the Champions League.
“We have got some players back from injury, so things look positive and we are obviously in a good position right now,” he says, referring to PSG's current position, being on top of Group B, three points ahead of second place MOL-Pick Szeged with four match days left.
If they stay on top of their group, they will be able to skip the Last 16 and proceed directly to the quarter-final.
“However, there are many good teams in the Champions League and many who can win on a good day.
“Once you reach the knockout matches, it will not take much in terms of lack of concentration, before you are out, so we will obviously have to be there one hundred per cent every second,” says the Dane who is playing his seventh season in Paris.
Tough start to the spring season
The first task for Mikkel Hansen and his PSG teammates in the spring season will be exactly a Champions League match.
Thursday night, they enter the court of the Palais des Sports de Beaulieu in Nantes for the all French Group B match against HBC Nantes, to whom PSG lost 32:28 in the semi-final of the VELUX EHF FINAL4 last year.
In case of a win in Nantes, PSG can obviously take a major step towards the crucial group win.
“This match will be like our matches against Nantes usually are, and this means that it will probably be a close affair.
“Nantes have a very good team who almost always cause us trouble.
“They may also have a little trouble with the timing, but they are definitely a team who can always cause us some trouble, so that will probably be a tough start after the World Championship” finds Mikkel Hansen.