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28.09.2010, 10:40◄ last page     


Kiel’s new star, Jerome Fernandez, talks about his new club and the upcoming clash against his former club FC Barcelona.
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The third trophy with the third team?

It was one of the most surprising and most spectacular transfers of the international top level this summer. From one day to another Jerome Fernandez (33) arrived in Kiel from Ciudad Real. The French backcourt player won all a handballer can win in a lifetime: Olympic gold in 2008, World Championship gold in 2001 and 2009 and EURO gold in 2006 and 2010; in addition, he also won the EHF Champions League twice (in 2005 with Barcelona and in 2009 with Ciudad Real). In the interview with eurohandball.com Fernandez talks about his ambitions, his title cabinet and how he arrived in Kiel.

On Sunday Fernandez will meet his former club FC Barcelona at the top match of the week. Watch it live and free of charge with an English commentary on www.ehfTV.com!

Fernandez (left) unlucky against Kiel in the FINAL4Eurohandball.com: Your transfer from Ciudad Real to THW Kiel was a very rapid one. Did you have time to think it over?

Jerome Fernandez: No, as I couldn’t really realise what was happening. In between two days my whole future plans had changed completely. But at the end it was the best solution for all sides. For me personally it’s better to be in Kiel now, as I can contribute to winning the VELUX EHF Champions League and other titles again. I never expected to play in Germany, but THW have a great team which means a great challenge for me.

Eurohandball.com: Did it take long to persuade your family to move to Kiel?

Jerome Fernandez: No, as my wife’s proud and glad that I received such a chance. Our son is three years old so it’s always hard to move and tear him out of his common surroundings. But we decided to move to Kiel – as it’s the best for the whole family. On a sports level, I expect a brilliant year and on the other hand we can learn German which is an advantage for my son’s future.

Eurohandball.com: Did you have other alternatives?

Jerome Fernandez: I had announced in Ciudad Real that I would return to France after the season. After I played some matches for Ciudad Real at the start of the season the club asked me eight days before going to Kiel if I would like to transfer to another club – as they had four players in my position. It was September and due to this date it was impossible to transfer to France anymore. So the only solution was Germany – and I had the options THW or Rhein Neckar Löwen. But to be honest the only solution was Kiel as this club has won so many titles and will win even more in the future, for sure. Aside my wife and I are close friends to the families of my new team mates Daniel Narcisse and Thierry Omeyer what makes everything much more comfortable.

Eurohandball.com: You played for Barcelona and Ciudad Real before – what do you expect from THW Kiel?

Jerome Fernandez: It’s my aim to help the team and give some players more time to rest – not more and not less. Kiel was very strong last season and won the Champions League and the German championship without me. In case this could happen again with my help this would be brilliant, of course. Especially winning the VELUX EHF Champions League would be very special for me as in this case I would win this title three times with three different clubs. This would be absolute fantastic!

Eurohandball.com: Was it your dream to play in Germany or was it rather by chance?

Jerome Fernandez: Some years ago it was my dream to play for Barcelona - and I fulfilled this dream. Kiel is the only club in the whole world which is as big as Barca. Due to this I only had one choice in Germany. But up to now it was impossible to transfer to Germany due to family reasons.

Eurohandball.com: Is it easier for you to settle down in Kiel as you have two well-known French friends, Omeyer and Narcisse?

Jerome Fernandez: Yes, they really help me, not only with language matters, but also with other matters outside sports. But I can’t say if this relationship is a sportive advantage as I have to wait and see the tactics of the team. But I think that I can cope with it anyway, as I did it in others teams before, too.

Eurohandball.com: THW is known for having a very compact squad. What will be your role among these players?

Fernandez: I don’t know. At first I want to help the team to reach their high objectives. I don’t mind playing 10 or 15 minutes each match, as it’s only important for me to give my support. You don’t win a title individually, only as a team.

Ilic injured during the last gameEurohandball.com: Momir Ilic, Daniel Narcisse and Kim Andersson are currently injured, which was one reason for signing you. When both return the competition will be greater. Do you have to fight for your playing time then?

Jerome Fernandez: Basically it’s a great situation when a team can count on such high quality players. The team will improve when the competition increases.

Eurohandball.com: Your debut against Chambery was successful and you also scored two goals. What was it like for you to play in the Sparkassen Arena?

Jerome Fernandez: It was a great feeling to wear the Kiel jersey in this arena. It is much different when you come here as a guest.

Eurohandball.com: Your second match of the VELUX EHF Champions League will be the clash of the titans against your former club FC Barcelona. You won the Spanish Supercup with Ciudad Real against Barcelona at the start of the season. Do you have any good advice for THW?

Jerome Fernandez: Yes and no. Barca has changed. It’s obvious that we have to stop Rutenka and Nagy and we have to block the passes of Entrerrios to the line players. With our fans it will be easier to beat Barcelona on home court, as the job in the Palau Blaugrana will be tough.

Eurohandball.com: The last time you played against THW Kiel was the semi-final of the VELUX EHF FINAL4 in Cologne. Do you prefer meeting Ciudad Real as soon as possible during this season?

About Fernandez

The new managers of Jerome Fernandez are pleased to have the French star in the team.

“Fernandez will take pressure off the shoulder of other players. The injured will have more time to come back and he will help other our four back players,” THW manager Uli Derad said.

Coach Alfred Gislason underlines that he is an “intelligent player” and it is a pleasure to sign “one of the greatest players of the past decade.”

Jerome Fernandez: This semi-final was an outstanding match of two outstanding teams. We sta rted well and were leading by four goals. But as we had to play in front of this fantastic German crowd we didn’t have any chance to stop THW later on. It was the same scenario as in the final Kiel vs Barcelona. Beyond dispute it’s a great advantage for German teams to have the VELUX EHF FINAL4 at home. The same match in Spain might have ended with a different result. Of course Kiel can meet Ciudad Real in this season again, but I don’t mind that. I left Ciudad Real with friendship. So I don’t mind playing against Ciudad or Barcelona or any other team – I only want to win!

Eurohandball.com: Will your new club go on to the VELUX EHF FINAL4 again despite the difficult group in the first stage?

Jerome Fernandez: Yes, we will, even if it will be harder than last season. When we play on our usual level we can rank first or second at the end of the group phase. This would mean better chances for reaching the VELUX EHF FINAL4. And when we have reached our final destination Cologne, everything is possible!

 


TEXT: Björn Pazen, Sascha Klahn, Jan Kirschner

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