Landin: “Of course, we aim to win the competition”
Less than two weeks ago, he won the World Championship with Denmark. Now, Niklas Landin is back in daily life with THW Kiel, who start their group phase campaign in the Men’s EHF Cup with an away game against Fraikin BM. Granollers on Sunday evening.
For many years, Kiel have been regulars in the EHF Champions League, but according to Landin, whose younger brother and fellow world champion Magnus also plays for the German team, it is not hard to find motivation for the EHF Cup.
“It is our chance to play some international handball this season and to win a European title, and as we do not have as many games as we do in a Champions League season, the physical strain is not so big either,” explains Niklas Landin.
Most experts, including the coaches of the other clubs in the group phase, point to Kiel as the top favourites to win the EHF Cup this season, and the Danish goalkeeper understands those people well.
“Of course, we aim to win the competition, not least after it became a fact that the finals are going to be played in Kiel,” says Landin. “Our team should be strong enough for that, and the chance to play the final tournament at home just make us even keener on going all the way.”
In good condition
He and his Kiel teammates had their first competitive task after the winter break on Thursday evening, when they won 29:25 away against Frisch Auf Göppingen in the Bundesliga.
“You are always a bit in doubt, where you stand as a team after such a long break, during which so many of the players have been away.
“However, I think that this match on one of the toughest away grounds in the Bundesliga showed that our team is in really good condition, and this obviously adds to my optimism with regards to the spring season,” says the 30-year-old shot stopper, also referring to the fact that Kiel are chasing reigning German champions SG Flensburg-Handewitt in the race to the national championship title.
In the EHF Cup, Kiel play from Group D, where their opponents will be Polish side KS Azoty-Pulawy and one of Landin´s former clubs, Danish team GOG, as well as their Spanish rivals for this weekend.
“There are not so many people left in GOG from my time there, but of course, it will be special for me to play against the club and in the hall where I played my first years as a professional. That is definitely also something I am looking forward to,” he says.
Respect for Granollers
The day after the win in Göppingen, the THW squad flew directly to Spain to prepare for their opening group match against Granollers.
“We have respect for Granollers, of course. After all, they managed to defeat Barcelona last season, they have Spanish internationals in their team, and personally, I know several of their players from my time in the Danish youth and junior national team, and those are good players indeed,” says Landin.
“To us, however, it is simply a question of putting on the working gloves and solving this task as well.”Author: Peter Bruun / cg