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19.04.2011, 15:10◄ last page     

The optimistic Flensburg pivot Michael Knudsen hopes to beat Ciudad Real and go through to the VELUX EHF FINAL4.

Knudsen: "We have the solution"

In recent months SG has been very unlucky. In January 2010 Michael Knudsen seriously injured his knee. And just after his return he suffered a calf injury in the World Championship final.

Since the end of March the Dane is back on the playing court and is looking forward to the first leg of the VELUX EHF Champions League Quarterfinals against Renovalia Ciudad Real.

ehfCL.com: Michael, are you back to full fitness?

Michael Knudsen: A few percent are still missing, but I have to say that I am positively surprised that I am ready again at all. Two weeks ago I had to make the painful insight that three games in a row actually are too much for me at this stage.

ehfCL.com: SG Flensburg-Handewitt has met Renovalia Ciudad Real more times than any other foreign club. So do you know the Spanish top club well now?

Michael Knudsen: We are all aware that Ciudad Real has a very good team. But what happened in history doesn’t matter anymore. The composition of the two teams has changed. So having met often in the past plays no role, only the two games from this season’s Group Stage are relevant in order to obtain conclusions.

ehfCL.com: The last time Flensburg met Ciudad Real met was in February. You missed the game as you still suffered from your calf injury. Did you still enjoy the 25:23-vicctory of your team-mates?

Michael Knudsen: Of course it is always more fun on court, but this game also was fun to watch. Our coach Ljubomir Vranjes had prepared the team very well to meet Ciudad Real. Often teams from the German Bundesliga have problems against teams with a 5-1 defensive system, but we have solutions for that. That also makes me hopeful that it will work again.

ehfCL.com: Do you think it is possible to repeat the success from February in the Quarterfinals?

Michael Knudsen: If we perform at our best, we have quite good chances. Besides me also Thomas Mogensen has returned after an injury break and will be able to help the team. We have greatest respect for Renovalia Ciuadad Real, but in my opinion they are not as strong anymore as they used to be a couple of years ago. Back then they were in every final and often won the title.

ehfCL.com: Being in the Quarterfinals, do you already dream of participating at the VELUX EHF FINAL4 in Cologne?

Michael Knudsen: I am an athlete, and athletes are always optimistic. Cologne would be a fantastic experience. But I wouldn’t have anything against playing semifinal or final in the Campushalle in Flensburg. I am sure that the support of 6,000 home fans in Flensburg would support us similar to the 19,000 in Cologne.

TEXT: Jan Kirschner

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