Andersson chasing third title with new team
Winning the Men’s EHF Cup is absolutely not a new experience for Magnus Andersson. The Swedish coach has won the competition twice already – in 2016 and 2017, on both occasions with German Frisch Auf Göppingen.
This year, he has the chance to take his third EHF Cup title.
At the upcoming AKQUINET EHF Cup Finals in Kiel, Andersson will be present with his new team, FC Porto Sofarma, where he took the helm from the start of this season after three years in charge of Göppingen.
“Coming to Portugal has been an interesting new experience and challenge for me. Of course, I have had to get used to another league and new players, and the level in the Portuguese league may not be as high as in some other leagues in Europe, although it is quite high after all.
“Anyway, my first season here has been a very positive experience,” says the former playmaker in the Swedish national team as well as in several top German and Swedish clubs.
Never dreamed of getting this far
“When we started out, I was never dreaming that we would make it as far as the finals, but I think our players have done really well, in the qualifiers as well as in the group we were in, which was really tough in my opinion.
“It is obvious that it has been good for the players to meet some other teams than those they meet in the Portuguese league on a daily basis,” says Andersson.
“Playing against teams from France, Denmark, Romania and Germany develops them and gives them valuable international experience.
“Of course, playing another final round in the EHF Cup is also special to me considering my fond memories of that competition,” says Andersson, who will turn 53 years old on the day his team meet defending EHF Cup winners Füchse Berlin in the semi-final in Sparkassen Arena on Friday 17 May.
Confidence from surprise eliminations
The semi-final will be a kind of a revenge match, as Füchse were the opponents Frisch-Auf Göppingen defeated in the final in 2017 with Andersson as coach.
The Swede has already sent a German team out of the competition as coach of Porto.
Porto pulled off one of the greatest surprises of the EHF Cup so far this season, when they eliminated SC Magdeburg in qualification round 3.
This effort should give the Portuguese team confidence before the semi-final against Füchse, and so should the fact that they eliminated last year’s runners-up, Saint-Raphael Var Handball, in the quarter-final.
“I still see teams like Kiel and Füchse as favourites in a competition, which is taking place in Germany. I just expect my players to be hungry and to give their best, but I do not see us as favourites,” says Andersson.
“We are going through an extremely exciting time right now, having the chance to win no less than three titles.
“We are doing fine in the play-off for the Portuguese championship, we are among the last four in the Portuguese Cup, and we are in the [AKQUINET EHF Cup] Finals too.
“Being present at the event in Kiel means a lot to Portuguese handball, and it means a lot to Porto. Now, we will have to see what we can make of it,” concludes Andersson.Author: Peter Bruun / cg