|30.04.2010, 09:50||◄ last page|
Race for the EHF FINAL4: Interview with Rhein-Neckar Löwen’s player Olafur Stefansson.
"Focus on Sunday"
Olafur Stefansson is one of the most successful handball players. The Icelandic international has won the EHF Champions League four times, now he wants to qualify for the first ever EHF FINAL4 in Cologne with the Rhein Neckar Löwen. Despite the 28:29 in the first leg of the Quarterfinals against THW Kiel, Stefansson believes that they can beat the "Zebras" on their home ground.
eurohandball.com: Your team lost against Kiel with a one goal difference, what is your opinion on that result?
Olafur Stefansson: For us it wasn’t an optimal game. Then again the result is good because we still have the chance to go on to the EHF FINAL4. I am sure that we can win in Kiel, so nothing is decided before the final whistle.
eurohandball.com: How likely is that, in your estimation?
Olafur Stefansson: We have quite a good chance, even as the job sounds difficult: to beat the Zebras on their home court with more than one goal. But we don’t have time to look at the past, we must focus on Sunday.
eurohandball.com: At which positions does your team have to improve?
Olafur Stefansson: In attack, especially on the right hand side. I have to take the blame for my own poor performance in the first leg, it simply wasn’t my day. But this is life, this is sports. Maybe I was too concentrated on the team and focussed too little on my own performance. Our defence worked quite well. I guess we can build upon this performance.
eurohandball.com: What does the EHF Champions League mean to you personally?
Olafur Stefansson: The EHF Champions League is always a very special competition – and I personally recognize that things have changed a lot. It was quite different every time, playing in the EHF Champions League for SC Magdeburg, Ciudad Real or currently with the Löwen. The tournament means a lot to me, because it really is something special to win this trophy. And for Löwen and me the EHF Champions League is our last chance to win a title this season, as we – close but still – missed the German cup. Now we want to take the chance at the EFH FINAL4.
eurohandball.com: You have won the CL trophy four times – what would another title with the Löwen mean to you?
Olafur Stefansson: Sorry but first we concentrate on Kiel, than we focus on the EHF FINAL4 and then we talk about the title…
eurohandball.com: For the first time ever the CL will be decided in an EHF FINAL4 tournament in Cologne. What’s your opinion about this event?
Olafur Stefansson: In case I would still play for a Spanish club, the venue would be a disadvantage, but as I play for a German club now this event could mean a big, big advantage for us. Such an event is an even bigger motivation to beat Kiel on Sunday. I don’t know whether the playing system will remain the same in future, but I’m not the one to decide this.
eurohandball.com: Your former club Ciudad Real lost in the first leg with a four goal difference in Hamburg – which of those teams do you think will qualify for the EHF FINAL4?
Olafur Stefansson: The chances are still 50:50. Ciudad is very strong on home soil and Hamburg has a good run currently. HSV lost twice in the semi-finals in the last two years against Ciudad with me as a Spanish club’s player, so maybe their motivation and thoughts of revenge are bigger than Ciudad’s. It will for sure be a very narrow decision.
TEXT: Björn Pazen