“We will fight until the end”Article
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Flensburg's Ljubomir Vranjes will retire at the end of the season to start a new life as club manager. He talks to Eurohandball.com before the HSV game.

“We will fight until the end”

Currently he’s injured and can’t help SG Flensburg/Handewitt in the second leg of the CL quarterfinals. Nevertheless, Ljubomir Vrnajes (35) is still optimistic that his team can reach the semi-final by winning in Hamburg by more than three goals.

It's easier to talk to Eurohandball.comAfter 18 years of professional handball, the Swedish international of Balkan origins will finish his career at the end of the season. He signed a contract to coach Swedish club Skövde in December, but some weeks ago he changed his mind: Vranjes will be the new team manager of SG Flensburg-Handewitt. Read what Vranjes hopes before the quarterfinal return game.

Eurohandball.com: Your team lost the home match in the quarterfinal by 25:28 against Hamburg. Now you will travel to HSV. What do you think about the chances?

Vranjes: I think they are 70 to 30 for Hamburg. HSV will play at home and they won the first leg. In contrast to our team, their injured players such as the Lijewski brothers can play again. In our team a lot of key players –Marmelund, Muratovic and others – are still missing. But we will fight until the end to win in Hamburg.

Eurohandball.com: Your team will be the same as last week?

Vranjes: Yes, even if our line player, Jonny Jensen, might return. He started trainings on Wednesday.

Eurohandball.com: Is it a very special match to meet a German team in the CL quarterfinals?

Vranjes: Yes of course, it’s a derby; similar to playing against Kiel. It’s very special and we all enjoy this match a lot. There’ll be a great atmosphere in the hall; the teams know each other very well.

Eurohandball.com: Two HSV players, Marcin Lijewski and Blazenko Lackovic, played for Flensburg until last season. Will this fact play a role?

Vranjes: We played together for a certain time and we became friends. All of us understand the importance of this match. So for 60 minutes the friendship will come to an end.

Eurohandball.com: You’re injured and this will be your last season on court. Can you still come back to play or are you watching your team as a manager already?

Vranjes: I hope that I can return in May. I’m on rehab, so I hope to enjoy every minute of my last active season. I knew from the start of the season that I will see the great arenas for the last time in my playing career, but you get a strange feeling with the end of you career nearing.

I’m not a player in 100% anymore. I start to watch the matches in a different way and I start to think as a team manager. Now that I have some time, I’m preparing for this new phase of my handball career.

TEXT: Björn Pazen