Schwenker's predictionsArticle
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Ciudad, Barcelona, Löwen, HSV, Zagreb, Veszprém or Montpellier - THW manager Uwe Schwenker talks about the CL chances.

»EHF CL Channel »2008-09 Men's News

Schwenker's predictions 

German champion THW Kiel are always counted among the favourites of the CL. Right before their first match against Metalurg Skopje talks to THW manager Uwe Schwenker.

Kiel won the German Super Cup right before the start of the season. In their first league match they made a surprise draw against Dormagen, followed by a series of 10:0 points including a 42:40 victory in the lions’ cage of the Rhein Neckar Löwen. A week ago Kiel ended the EHF Champions Trophy third after losing the semi-final clearly against Ciudad Real. In the Champions League they will play against Skopje, Drammen – and their old rivals, Barcelona.

Not only Ciudad and Kiel will fight for the Mr. Schwenker, your team will start as one of the favourites. THW is ready for this role?

Schwenker: Before we talk about the CL finals we have to reach the Main Round. And this will be very hard as we will play against our old rivals Barcelona in the group phase. With the new playing system we will take the results made against Barcelona to the Main Round. It’s possible that Ciudad Real will be our opponents there – or even worse if we play against Zagreb and Rhein Neckar Löwen. Then we have four top teams in the same group and only two can reach the quarterfinals. Very tough! What’s your opinion about the new playing system with quarterfinals again?

Schwenker: I like this system very much as we’ll have tense matches in the Main Round and in the first KO round, the quarterfinals. This is great as more top teams will go on after the Main Round compared to the playing system of last season when there were no quarterfinals. Your team lost against Ciudad Real at the Champions Trophy. Is this a warning before the season?

Schwenker: No, I don’t think so, it was too early. We saw where we have problems and we have to solve them. But as we missed some key players, I hope that we can improve before the real tough matches against Barcelona. You mentioned the injured key players. When will Nikola Karabatic return after his elbow injury picked up at the Olympics?

Schwenker: We don’t exactly know, but we hope soon. This decision will be taken by our medical staff. There will be another X-ray exam in the next days and maybe afterwards we will know when he can return. He’s a very important player for us. You mentioned Ciudad Real and Barcelona as major opponents. Do you think that there will be another duel between Spain and Germany in the final?

Schwenker: This depends on the results of the Main Round and the draw for the quarterfinals. But I think that Ciudad Real, Barcelona, Rhein Neckar Löwen and Hamburg are the favourites as usual. However, don’t forget about Zagreb who signed Balic and nearly have the complete Croatian national team now. But concerning the favourites there can be some surprises like the team of Veszprém with their new hall and their great supporters or even Montpellier.

TEXT: Björn Pazen