|22.04.2009, 12:10||◄ last page|
HSV’s world champion, Pascal Hens, gives an exclusive interview for Eurohandball.com before the semi-finals against Ciudad Real.
“Take the next step”
It’s the match of the matches for HSV Hamburg: after being eliminated in a very close game by Ciudad Real, the Germans have the chance to take revenge against the same opponent – at first at home on Saturday. Left back Pascal Hens explains the importance of the game and predicts the chances of Hamburg in an exclusive interview with Eurohandball.com.
Eurohandball.com: How much goal difference will Hamburg need in order to reach the Final?
Hens: We know that both matches will be very tough and close. With the advantage of playing at home, we want to get a cushion for the return match. But you can’t count only on winning the first leg. We saw this in our quarterfinals against Flensburg.
Eurohandball.com: Last season Hamburg missed the finals only by scoring one goal less than Ciudad Real. Are there special emotions before you meet them again?
Hens: We don’t think about revenge. We enjoy playing against an international opponent, not against a German team again after the Bundesliga games. Last season we lost against Ciudad Real, but now we hope that we can turn the page. It’s more important for us to take the next step than taking revenge.
Eurohandball.com: Ciudad, Hamburg and Kiel are currently the strongest teams in the world. Will the semi-finals see equal games?
Hens: I think so, and the spectators will have a lot of fun with such close matches. In any case: we want to win the first leg and then go to Spain with an advantage.
Eurohandball.com: Which players of Ciudad or what tactical elements will Hamburg especially focus on?
Hens: On everything and everybody. Ciudad has world class players for any position and they can score from every match situation. You don’t have to single out any player from their team. We’ll have to try to have a defence like a wall and score from counterattacks.
Eurohandball.com: Three German clubs out of four Champions League semi-finalists…Is this an evidence that Germany has currently the strongest league in the world?
Hens: I think so. But it’s not only the Champions League to prove it. Just take a look at Gummersbach and Nordhorn: they reached other EC semi-finals. By looking at this record, you can say that Bundesliga is the best league in the world.
Eurohandball.com: You had a big share of success during your career. How would you rank reaching the CL Final?
Hens: It would be the next step for Hamburg. We reached the semi-finals last season, but this means nothing compared to a final. So we want to develop and improve, as it’s our main objective to win the Champions League at one point.
Eurohandball.com: HSV can still win two titles this season. How do you estimate your chances in the CL and in the German Cup?
Hens: We reached the semi-finals in both competitions. Our objective is, to win every match and raise the trophy at the end. If our injured players return quickly and all the others remain healthy, we still have our chances.
Eurohandball.com: All four CL semi-finalists will miss injured key players. Is the high number of matches the reason for this?
Hens: Yes, this is the main reason.
Eurohandball.com: In Germany, handball is currently in the focus not only of sports headlines. Do you talk about it inside the team?
Hens: We concentrate completely on our matches and our objectives as we have a lot of highly important games ahead. So we don’t have time to focus on anything else. By looking at the masses of spectators coming to our matches I can’t see any damage done. The euphoria is still alive; our Arena is always full.
TEXT: Björn Pazen