18.05.2017, 09:30 Andersson: “A true highlight for Göppingen”
INTERVIEW: The Frisch Auf Göppingen coach talks about being host and the chances of his side at the LIQUI MOLY EHF Cup Finals
Andersson: “A true highlight for Göppingen”
One year ago, Magnus Andersson steered Frisch Auf Göppingen to a triumph in the EHF Cup Finals by beating host HBC Nantes in the final. This year, his club are the hosts of the LIQUI MOLY EHF Cup Finals. The defending champions face another three-time EHF Cup winner - SC Magdeburg - in the all-German semi-final. In this interview, the Swede Andersson talks about the significance of home advantage and he rates his side’s performance in the EHF Cup season so far.
Frisch Auf Göppingen have won all their EHF Cup matches this season and marched straight to the LIQUI MOLY EHF Cup Finals. So there’s no reason not to be satisfied with your international season so far, right?
Magnus Andersson: I am truly satisfied with what we have shown in the EHF Cup so far. We had a demanding group and did not give a single point away, which includes three away wins. So we have had strong performances in all our matches.
Your club was the last defending champion to win the trophy in the old version of the EHF Cup in 2012. Now you have the chance to be the first to defend the trophy in the new format. Is this extra motivation?
Magnus Andersson: The chance to defend the title is extra motivation, but in general, the anticipation and motivation is already extremely huge when you are part of a final tournament. It is rather more special that we are the hosts of the event. This tournament will be a true highlight for Göppingen.
On the other hand, the EHF Cup is the last chance for your team to win a title this season. How important would another trophy be for the club, the team, and everything around the club?
Magnus Andersson: It would be great, not only as it would be combined with the qualification for another international season. But, first and foremost, we need to focus on playing well over the weekend.
In 2016, your team won the EHF Cup Finals in Nantes, by beating the hosts in the final. Would it be different to raise the trophy on home soil?
Magnus Andersson: At first, it was brilliant to win this trophy away, as winning away against the hosts is even a greater challenge. Right now in Göppingen we have to face real tough opponents. But, yes, winning the trophy in Göppingen would be unique.
What role will the spectators and the atmosphere in the arena play?
Magnus Andersson: It is our job on the court, but in tight situations, the crowd can help. In terms of the atmosphere, I am sure that the fans of the three visiting sides will contribute to a great event. Not only, as we have three different German fan groups; I expect a great atmosphere in the four different fan corners of the arena. The French fans from Saint-Raphael will bring international flair to Göppingen.
Your team face Magdeburg in the semi-final - would you have preferred an international duel?
Magnus Andersson: You can choose anything in a draw, so we do not care that much about the draw result. No team should underestimate Saint-Raphael with their quality and their unusual style of play.
Do you see your team as the favourites for the LIQUI MOLY EHF Cup Finals because of your home advantage?
Magnus Andersson: No, I have a different opinion. Berlin and Magdeburg had extraordinarily strong seasons in the Bundesliga, and Saint-Raphael were French runners-up last year. So thanks to our home advantage I put us all on level pegging.
Can the fact of playing at home cause additional pressure on the players?
Magnus Andersson: I do not expect increased pressure, as we have it anyway; we want to profit from the situation.
A duel with former Frisch Auf Göppingen coach Velimir Petkovic - who steered the club to their two EHF Cup trophies in 2011 and 2012 - could occur. Would it be a special match for the club, or are you keeping your sights fixed on the semi?
Magnus Andersson: I do not think about what might happen on Sunday; we won the trophy in 2016 too. Petko and the club faced in Bundesliga already and in between he had been coach in Eisenach. So I don’t think that a duel like this would be extremely emotional for both clubs and him.