Managers: the title race is openArticle
«Go back

Uwe Schwenker and Christian Fitzek, the managers of Kiel and Hamburg talk about the supremacy of the German and Spanish league before the CL semi-finals.

Managers: the title race is open

Germany against Spain: the “old duel” in the European cups starts again this weekend in four editions, twice in the Champions League, and once in the EHF Cup and the Cup Winners’ Cup. But the great focus is one the CL duels between Hamburg vs Ciudad Real and Kiel against Barcelona.

In an interview on the Bundesliga homepage ( the managers of Kiel and Hamburg, Uwe Schwenker and Christian Fitzek, talk to Arnulf Beckmann about the supremacy of the two leagues.

 Schwenker is familiar with the trophy
 HSV manager Fitzek believes that Ciudad have better chances
Q: Four duels between Germany and Spain in the semi-finals: does this mirror the balance of power in European handball?

Schwenker: Without a doubt. Germany and Spain have the best leagues, but I also think that a club from other countries can come close to these teams.

Fitzek: It’s the same like in the past seasons. It depends on the individual form at every CL semi-final match whether the final will be played by German-German, Spanish-Spanish teams or by a German and a Spanish side. Of course, also a team maybe from France would have the chance to reach the semi-finals, but the German and Spanish teams play with more continuity and are dominant at the moment.

Q: It’s still possible that there will be – similarly to the last season – a final only with German teams. For German handball this would be great, but is this also good for the whole competition?

Schwenker: Look at football: there are four English teams in the quarterfinals of the CL. And is this bad for the competition? I don’t think so. There will be no loss of image for the Champions League. In contrast to this, I think the semi-finals are even more interesting when you have the best teams.

Fitzek: Both finalists will be there deservedly – nationality plays no role. All the teams have a lot of international players, so it would still be a European final and not a German one.

Q: Do German and Spanish clubs have the same financial background?

Schwenker: Yes, but the structures of the clubs are different. Look at Ciudad Real and their big boss and sponsor, Domingo de la Mera.

Fitzek: In financial matters Ciudad are ahead of all other clubs, but money is well earned both in Germany and Spain.

Q: How many spectators will support your teams in the away matches in Spain?

Schwenker: It looks like that we will be accompanied by around 200 spectators.

Fitzek: We’re very glad to have the great support in our CL away matches. It’s not cheap for our fans to join us, but the club also gives this support back: All the 50 spectators who supported us in Pamplona were invited to a dinner afterwards. This is our tradition, and this will be the same in Ciudad Real.

Q: What’s your opinion about your opponents?

Schwenker: Barcelona have been dominating for a decade. After changing a lot of players in the last years, they are really back on track now. I think, that the number of injured players and the daily conditions will decided the matches. But all four teams who reached the semi-finals can also win the title.

Fitzek: Normally, Ciudad Real are the best team in the world. So we are the outsiders in these matches. Due to the long list of injured players, we are happy to have eight healthy field players. With players such as Gille, Velyky, Jansen or Schröder, it would have been much easier for us to reach the final.

TEXT: Björn Pazen