Schwalb: the semi-final can go either wayArticle
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Read Björn Pazen's exclusive interview with HSV coach Martin Schwalb.

Schwalb: the semi-final can go either way

In an exclusive interview with, HSV coach Martin Schwalb talks about the semi-finals against Ciudad Real. What do you think about the chances against Ciudad Real?

Schwalb (on the right) cannot imagine handball played patientlySchwalb: I think they are 50:50. All four teams in the semi-final are world class ones, and the decisive factor might be luck or a better daily form. All four teams have an enormous quality. You have to concentrate and be highly motivated every second of the two matches. Does Hamburg have an advantage because of playing the second leg at home?

Schwalb: Especially for our spectators this is a great thing. They will watch the decisive moments with their own eyes. Our Arena is sold out and the atmosphere will be great. Our advantage is that we know how to play after the first match. We will do anything in Ciudad Real to have a great starting position for the second match. What will be your tactics in Ciudad Real? Will you play with patience and observe or would you take high risk?

Schwalb: We’re talking about handball, and in handball you cannot observe with patience. We want to play with a strong defence and on high speed in attack. We want to reach the besz possible result for the re-match, so we have to speed up for 60 minutes. You have a long list of injured players. Who will be able to play on Sunday?

Schwalb: Oleg Velyky and Matthias Flohr will definitely not play, and for Torsten Jansen and Bertrand Gille it’s really not looking good. The last check for Jansen was not okay, while Gille suffers from a broken rib. Maybe he will clench his fist to be able to help us. Besides, Stefan Schröder is still not okay, we have to decide right before the match if he can play.

Bitter is extremely popular in In the last matches, Ciudad Real’s goalkeeper, Árpád Sterbik, showed outstanding performance. How important will be duel of the goalkeepers, Sterbik/Hombrados and Johannes Bitter?

Schwalb: We do not only count on Bitter, but also on Per Sandström. I think they are the best goalkeeper duo of the Bundesliga because they add on perfectly. This is our great advantage: We do not depend on the form of one goalkeeper. Both played great matches in the last weeks and they are of a great value for the team. If you compare Hamburg and Ciudad Real, what are the similarities and what are the differences?

Schwalb: The matches will answer this question. Maybe our physical condition is a little bit better, but this is not the main factor. We have to fight for our chances.

TEXT: Björn Pazen