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26.03.2010, 10:10◄ last page     


Löwen’s defence specialist Oliver Roggisch talks about the upcoming matches against Valladolid and his bad boy image.
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"The Rogg" sees a great potential

German international Oliver "The Rogg" Roggisch has been playing for the Rhein Neckar Löwen since 2007. He’s one of the best defence players in the world and is known to all handball fans latest since the winning the World Championship in his home country.

Before that he won the EHF Cup with TuSem Essen. This year the 31 year old player and his team are trying to reach the Champions League semis for the second consecutive time.

eurohandball.com: How do you rate the chances to qualify for the Quarterfinals against Valladolid?

Oliver Roggisch: I know the team very well from our matches two years ago. Valladolid is a strong side, especially on home soil. So the chances of qualifying for the Quarterfinals are 50:50. The Last 16 will be decided in the second leg, and as we have enough self confidence currently I hope we can manage it. In Valladolid we have to build a good base for the match at home.

eurohandball.com: What details do you remember from the matches against Valladolid in 2008, when you beat them in the semis of Cup Winners’ Cup?

Oliver Roggisch: In those matches Alan Muratovic was the key player of Valladolid, but we kept him out of the match. The special strength of Valladolid is their coach Juan Carlos Pastor who’s great in tactics, motivation and how to adjust a team on the opponent.

eurohandball.com: Why is the current Löwen season a little bit like a roller coaster ride?

Oliver Roggisch: In the Bundesliga we had ups and downs; currently we have a rising tendency. But we still have to play to our potential. We still have chances in three different competitions, so we have everything in our own hands.

eurohandball.com: With a lot of new players, have the Löwen already become a real team?

Oliver Roggisch: We have improved, we have a great potential, but we aren’t able to prove it for more than 15 or 20 minutes per match. As soon as we’re able to play 60 minutes on top level, our opponents will get to know the "real Löwen".

eurohandball.com: Last season Löwen reached the semis in your first ever CL season. Will the Löwen qualify for the FINAL4 in Cologne this year?

Oliver Roggisch: It depends on whether we reach the quarterfinals or not, and against which team we play next. But we don’t think that far. First we have to show a strong performance in Valladolid, then we can start looking ahead.

eurohandball.com: The Löwen are currently fifth in the Bundesliga. Two of your major opponents – Flensburg and Göppingen – lost their matches this week. Can you make third place in the Bundesliga to reach the Champions League again next season?

Oliver Roggisch: We don’t care too much about our opponent’s performance, as we only focus on our own one. We can reach the Champions League again, and I’m sure that we will collect a maximum of points in our last league matches.

eurohandball.com: For the fifth time the Löwen have qualified for the German Cup Final Four. Is it now time for the first victory, especially as THW Kiel has been eliminated?

Oliver Roggisch: I think it is time for us, as we have deserved it now. We have good chances, but it won’t be easy.

eurohandball.com: You just extended your contract until 2012 – will you finish your career at the Löwen?

Oliver Roggisch: I don’t think about this topic currently. I live here, I enjoy playing here very much, so there are no reasons for a transfer.

eurohandball.com: Back to Champions League: If you beat Valladolid in the Last 16, Ciudad Real with Didier Dinart is one possible opponent for the Quarterfinals. Who’s the world’s best defence player: Roggisch or Dinart?

Oliver Roggisch: As I mentioned before, I don’t think of the Quarterfinals, before we have reached them. Aside that I don’t rate other players. And there’s another thing: Neither me nor Dinart are "the defence", as a defence consists of seven players, not only one. Dinart’s big advantage is his style of playing, he receives almost no suspensions. My image is completely different, as I’m the bad boy for the referees and get a lot of suspensions. But I have to live with this image.


TEXT: Björn Pazen

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