Omeyer: Re-start at zeroArticle
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THW Kiel's French goalkeeper talks about the chances to reach the VELUX EHF FINAL4, and the differences compared to last season.

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Omeyer: Restart at zero

He has won the EHF Men's Champions League three times, twice with THW Kiel and once with Montpellier MAHB, but now Thierry Omeyer has a fourth title in his sights. After a draw in the first VELUX EHF Champions League quarter-final leg at RK Zagreb the French goalkeeper – who has played in two additional EHF Men's Champions League finals – is sure that Kiel are able to win the rematch on Sunday and to proceed to the final destination Cologne, where the VELUX EHF FINAL4 will be played on May 26-27. Omeyer – Olympic champion, three times World champion, twice European champion and former World Handball Player of the Year – is confident that the "Zebras" will book their ticket to the LANXESS arena this Sunday (29 April), as he says in this interview with Did you win a point or lose a point in the first leg in Zagreb?
Thierry Omeyer: At one point we were behind by seven goals so the draw was a good result in the end. We wanted to win, but not everything worked well in our team. However, we still have the chance to decide the quarter finals in the second leg. What were the major problems for THW in Zagreb?
Thierry Omeyer: We conceded too many goals to counter attacks, as we missed too many shots in attack. Our defence was outstanding most of the time. But despite being below with seven goals we did not lose our faith in ourselves and in the ten final minutes we played like we were back to normal and scored some easy goals. Did your team underestimate the Croats?
Thierry Omeyer: No, as all eight teams who have qualified for the quarter finals of the VELUX EHF Champions League are top teams. Zagreb have a lot of experienced players, they had won at Barcelona before and lost against the defending champions by just one goal at home. So Zagreb are a quality team. The decisive moment was when they turned the game around when we were five goals ahead, and then were suddenly seven goals behind. This period did not have anything to do with underestimation. Kiel is the only team from Pot 1 of the quarter final draw who did not lose their first leg. Is this a good omen for the second leg?
Thierry Omeyer: It is half time and we re-start at zero. It is our big objective to reach the VELUX EHF FINAL4 in Cologne and therefore we have to win the second leg. That's a very easy calculation! Within three days THW Kiel can reach their two major objectives: qualifying for the VELUX EHF FINAL4 and become German champions. Does that boost your motivation?
Thierry Omeyer: We only focus on Zagreb, as this game is much more important. In Bundesliga we only need one point from all upcoming matches to become champions again – and this is bound to happen at some point. But in the VELUX EHF Champions League we need full concentration on Zagreb. One year ago THW Kiel failed to qualify for the VELUX EHF FINAL4 at the quarter-final stage against eventual trophy winners FC Barcelona. Do you have those games in mind before the second leg against Zagreb?
Thierry Omeyer: The match against Barcelona was last year, now we have a new season and our situation is completely different, too, compared to last season. In 2011 we took two titles but missed the major ones – VELUX EHF Champions League champions and German champions. In 2011 a lot of things went wrong, but this season we are on a roll. So we do not look back, only ahead. But if you look back to 2010, when you won the VELUX EHF FINAL4 in Cologne, that could bring back good memories...
Thierry Omeyer: Of course, this was a great victory, we like looking back on Cologne. But still we do not look upon titles we have already won, but on those which we want to win in future. The VELUX EHF FINAL4 is a great event for any sportsman, so we want to be part of it again this year.

TEXT: Björn Pazen