A fight for points and prestigeArticle
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Exclusive interview with two coaches, Gislasson and Dujshebaev, before the match Kiel vs Ciudad.

A fight for points and prestige

A clash of giants: THW Kiel and BM Ciudad Real will meet at their direct duel on Sunday in the main round of the CL. Both teams won all CL their matches this season and the two clubs met in the final of last season. Back then the Spaniards won due to an away victory in Kiel.

Before the first Kiel vs Ciudad game of the season, Eurohandball.com talked to both coaches, Alfred Gislasson (Kiel) and Talant Dujshebaev (Ciudad).

Kiel and Ciudad meet once again Eurohandball.com: On Sunday a draw would be enough for both teams to qualify early for the quarterfinals. Is it your objective to make a draw?

Gislasson: Both teams know each other very well, and if you meet Ciudad you always want to win. I don’t think that any of the two teams would like to play for a draw, only for a victory. Ciudad Real are the best team in the world, and aside we have high ambitions – so in this match you don’t only fight for points, but for prestige.

Dujshebaev: No, I don’t think that the match will end in a draw. Both teams are very close to qualification for the quarterfinals – even the team that will lose on Sunday. So both teams want to win. I believe, we’ll see a brilliant match and I don’t think about the final result right now.

Eurohandball.com: Ciudad won in Kiel last season – which team is the favourite for Sunday?

Gislasson: The match will be totally equal, as both teams are very experienced – so in my opinion there’s no favourite for this match. Look at last season: Kiel won in Ciudad Real, Ciudad won in Kiel – everything can happen.

Dujshebaev: Kiel are the favourites as they play at home. It will be very tough to play against them and against the 10,000 fans. So we hope to achieve a good result and to have a chance to become number one in the group by reaching a better result at home. But the match is totally different to last season’s final. I don’t even think about that match any more.

Eurohandball.com: What’s the injury situation in your team?

A big batlle is coming up...Gislasson: Nikola Karabtaic ist still injured and had to miss our Wednesday match in the Bundesliga, but I hope he would be able to play. In addition only Börge Lund will miss the match.

Dujshebaev: Our defence player, Didier Dinart, is still suffering from an injury he picked up at the World championship. He didn’t play in Almeria, where we played and won our league match on Wednesday. But I hope that he will be able to return on Sunday.

Eurohandball.com: Do you expect a close match?

Gislasson: Matches between Kiel and Ciudad are always close, and this season both teams hope to become number one in the group to get – maybe – an easier opponent in the quarterfinals. The difference on Sunday will not be big.

Dujshebaev: It will be a close, but a highly interesting match. Not taking HSV Hamburg in account, the two best teams of the world will meet, so the result will be very close.

Eurohandball.com: How far will your team get this season? Will there be Kiel – Ciudad a final again?

Gislasson: If we reach the finals, we’ll meet Ciudad again. Ciudad will reach the final in any case. It’s not so bad to meet Ciudad in the main round, because then we know that we don’t meet them in the quarterfinals.

Dujshebaev: You have to wait and see what will happen. The only thing we know is that we won’t meet in the quarterfinals again. But it’s possible that we’ll meet again in the semi-finals or later. There are certain factors, apart from the sporting aspects, that decide how far you come. These are injuries, draws and so on. But we know that from quarterfinals on you can only have tough opponents.

Eurohandball.com: Ciudad Real – just as Rhein Neckar Löwen - officially bid for Nikola Karabatic. Will this have an influence on the match?

Karabatic may be in the centre of attentionGislasson: No, when Nikola enters the court and has the ball in his hands, he doesn’t think about anything else but the match. It will have no bearing on the game.

Dujshebaev: I don’t think so. Currently Karabatic is the best player in the world and he’s interesting for all top clubs. But only Karabatic knows what he’s going to do. There’s no rivalry between Ciudad and Kiel, the clubs have a very good relationship.

Eurohandball.com: What’s your tip for Sunday?

Gislasson: New match, new luck – I hope we’ll win.

Dujshebaev: It’ll be very hard for us to win, but I hope for a world class match.

TEXT: Björn Pazen