Respect for Veszprém’s atmosphereArticle
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Rhein Neckar Löwen wing player Uwe Gensheimer talks to before the top match in Hungary.

Respect for Veszprém’s atmosphere

He’s only 23 years old, but he’s already the player who has been the longest with the Rhein Neckar Löwen. Uwe Gensheimer was born in Mannheim and has been with the Mannheim club since 2003.

And he is already one of the most important athletes on the field, especially for the fans. The left wing player just came back from his first major tournament with the German national team at the EURO in Austria.

On a club level Gensheimer is the top scorer in the Bundesliga and the Champions League. On Sunday the Löwen will play in Veszprém – and Gensheimer hopes to make a great step towards number one in the group. You played a strong EURO and since then you’re the outstanding player for the Löwen in all competitions. Are you currently in the form of your life?

Uwe Gensheimer: I’m in a very good condition now, but already since the start of the season. But as I shared my position with Gudjon Valur Sigurdsson before the EURO it wasn’t as obvious as now, when I can play over 60 minutes as "Goggi" is injured. But still I think I can play better, as I have improved in the last months. In the Bundesliga the Löwen are out of the title race, but in the German Cup and Champions League you still have all chances. Will the Löwen win their first title this season?

Uwe Gensheimer: Everything’s still possible. In the national league we unexpectedly lost a couple of matches and missed a lot of points. But in the cup where we have reached the semis and in the Champions League we’re on the right track. We still dream of a title, that’s right. As your team’s already qualified for the German Final4, what would participation at the EHF FINAL4 mean to you?

Uwe Gensheimer: This is very far away, as we first have to struggle to become number one in our group. And only after the group phase we know what position we have for the k.o. matches. But in case of a good draw we can go very far, even to Cologne. Are the Löwen one of the top candidates for qualifying for the FINAL4 in Cologne?

Uwe Gensheimer: We can achieve it like last season, when we reached the semis. But the most important thing is to have a good base for the k.o. matches. Since the EURO we have improved, even as we lost against Kiel and Hamburg. But the team is on a good way and played really well. We can go on from those performances, when we play in Veszprém on Sunday. You won the first match against the Hungarian champion with a three goal difference. Is your team the favourite for the rematch, too?

Uwe Gensheimer: We played the final of the EHF Cup there in 2008 and we know the atmosphere in Veszprém. We have to be aware and keep cool and don’t get affected by the spectators. Then we have a chance to win there. The chances for a victory are 50:50, I reckon. A lot of players joined your club at the start of the season. Is the team now playing together well?

Uwe Gensheimer: Not only did we have new players before the start of the season, but also two new playmakers within the season. And as the playmaker’s the most important player for attacks, it took some time to become well-rehearsed. The same is also the case in our defence. We changed our middle block, which is the integral part. This process took a while, but now it’s working well. You and Patrick Groetzki are the "Fan’s darlings" in Mannheim. Is it hard for you to stand this role?

Uwe Gensheimer: Not at all, I enjoy every home game. I was born in Mannheim and have – like almost no other top player – the possibility to play on highest international level for my own home club. The club has improved, I have improved, and it is fine to play here. Are you a leading part of the team?

Uwe Gensheimer: Even as I’m 23, I’m the player with the longest time at the Löwen in the current team. Thanks to this fact, and thanks to my performances, I’m one of the leading players. My colleagues respect me. You’re the penalty specialist in your team. How can you be so ice cold?

Uwe Gensheimer: You have to train it a lot. After every training session, I throw penalties against our goalkeepers. The more often I hit the back of the net, the more secure I get.

TEXT: Björn Pazen