|24.04.2009, 14:40||◄ last page|
THW’s Stefan Lövgren does not promise 18 goals again for the game aganinst Löwen, but he would be satisfied with a victory.
No time to celebrate
It’s the captain speaking! Stefan Lövgren has just become German champion with THW Kiel, but before the semi-finals against Rhein Neckar Löwen the club hopes to win a “triple” this season. Nevertheless, Lövgren believes that the German rival, Löwen, will be an equal opponent at the semi-final.
Eurohandball.com: On Tuesday your club won its 15th German title and it was the fifth consecutive time. How did you celebrate?
Lövgren: We didn’t celebrate much, because we still have tasks ahead. I was sitting on the sofa when we became champions with the help of Flensburg who have beaten the runner-up Hamburg. And one day later we have defeated Wetzlar and after the match we sat down in the cabin and celebrated a bit. But this wasn’t much. We want to have a big party after the season.
Eurohandball.com: Only four days after this little party you will play the first leg of the Champions League semi-final against Rhein Neckar Löwen. Is it hard to keep your concentration?
Lövgren: We keep our rhythm with two matches a week, and it’s good to have such a rhythm. You play, you prepare, you play – so we’re totally focused on the match on Sunday.
Eurohandball.com: Your mate, Dominik Klein, spoke about a “triple success” after winning the German title. Is this your ambition too?
Lövgren: A triple would be great, as we have a chance to win all three titles. But even if we only win the Bundesliga title, the season will be a great success. It’ll be very hard to win the other two competitions, but we’ll have to wait and see.
Eurohandball.com: Are THW Kiel the favourites for reaching the CL Final?
Lövgren: At home we’re the favourites, but Löwen will be favourites next week. When you look at the impressive series of both teams, you know that these semi-finals will be very interesting and tense. We can win in Mannheim, but Löwen can win in Kiel too. Nobody knows what will happen. And even if we fail to win our home match we would have a chance to reach the Final.
Eurohandball.com: So it’s not a big disadvantage play the second away?
Lövgren: It would be better to play the second game at home, but in matches between two German teams, the difference isn’t so big. We know their arena and the atmosphere, and they know ours. But we didn’t lose a home match since last CL Final against Ciudad Real, so we hope preserve this series of success.
Eurohandball.com: Is there a certain difference of goals you want to gain on Sunday?
Lövgren: We want to win with as many goals as possible; that’s all.
Eurohandball.com: This would be your third consecutive CL Final. Does it have significance for you?
Lövgren: No. As the opponents improve every year, it’s even a success to play the semi-finals. We know that we belong to the best teams of Europe and we showed this by getting this far. Now we hope for more.
Eurohandball.com: In the Bundesliga Kiel won in Mannheim in October and you scored an incredible amount of 18 goals. Is this good omen for you?
Lövgren: No, no, no. Such days come once in a lifetime and you can’t repeat it. And by the way, it’s not important how many goals I score. Even if I don’t score and we win, it would be a great match for me.
Eurohandball.com: Is it hard to focus completely on sports in these difficult days in Kiel?
Lövgren: When we’re on court, we only know about and care about handball. However, outside the hall it’s hard to disregard all other things around. We’re very often asked about these matters, so we can’t shut our eyes and ears.
Eurohandball.com: There has been rivalry between the two clubs. Will this affect the players and the match?
Lövgren: I speak for the Kiel and – I believe – for the Mannheim players too: we will be 100% rivals on the court on Sunday. But it will be 100% sports rivalry. Only the sport will matter for us, nothing else.
TEXT: Björn Pazen