Füchse coach: Hopes are still aliveArticle
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Dagur Sigurdsson dreams of another “wonder of Berlin” against Leon

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Füchse coach: Hopes are still alive

They lost the first leg at Ademar Leon by a surprisingly clear margin (23:34), but VELUX EHF Champions League debutants Füchse Berlin are not surrendering before the re-match in the German capital. Icelandic Füchse coach Dagur Sigurdsson is hoping for another wonder and the support of their spectators on Sunday. And he also hopes that it is a good omen that other Berlin sports team secured sensational results, as Sigurdsson says in this interview with ehfCL.com.

ehfCL.com: You need a sensation to proceed to the VELUX EHF FINAL4 in Cologne. Are you confident of eliminating Reale Ademar Leon, knowing that they lost some other away matches clearly?
Dagur Sigurdsson: We know the results, we know the history of Ademar Leon. But our task is very tough and it would have been just as tough against other opponents. In the quarter finals of the VELUX EHF Champions League you never face easy opponents. We expected that we might lose in Leon, we expected a tough clash in a fiery atmosphere, but we did not expect a deficit of 11 goals. Now it will be a really hard to turn the page completely, but we do not surrender.

ehfCL.com: Is it annoying that you showed your worst performance for months in such an important match?
Dagur Sigurdsson: It was a really weak and disappointing performance. But in the last three years we have had a lot of important matches and won most of them. But now we have to deal with this situation and look ahead to another tough clash.

ehfCL.com: What about your tactics bearing in mind that you have make up an 11-goal deficit. Will you use risky tactics?
Dagur Sigurdsson: We will not start straight on the edge of a knife. We have to be patient and go step by step to catch up with Leon. In the middle of the first half in the first leg it was only two goals difference, so we have to control our tactics.

ehfCL.com: How important will the spectators be?
Dagur Sigurdsson: Our Max-Schmeling arena has become a real home of handball in the last years. I hope that our spectators will push us to the limit like they usually do. In Leon handball has a longer tradition than in Berlin and so do their fans, but we hope that we can go on together with our fans.

ehfCL.com: It is not only Füchse who are in the sporting headlines in Berlin at the moment. The men’s volleyball team and the ice hockey team have become German champions this week after thrilling matches in which they seemed to be down completely. Might this be a positive omen?
Dagur Sigurdsson: We hope that those teams are role models for us and the football team of Hertha, which is currently struggling not to be relegated to the second league. It would be great for the Berlin sports family if all teams reach their goals.

ehfCL.com: Was it hard to build up a positive atmosphere in the team after the clear defeat in Leon?
Dagur Sigurdsson: Right after the match we were down on the ground, but now the atmosphere is going into the right direction. We will try hard to catch-up.

ehfCL.com: Taking into account not only your last, but all matches in your first ever VELUX EHF Champions League season – are you satisfied with your performances?
Dagur Sigurdsson: Of course. We had to start in a really hard group with 10 tough and close matches. But we fought hard and reached the knockout stage. Then we continued with two great victories against Hamburg. But now we hope that the Max-Schmeling-Halle will not be our final destination, but the LANXESS arena in Cologne, where the VELUX EHF FINAL4 will be played. Our hopes are still alive.

ehfCL.com: Looking at all the quarter finals, are you surprised that all teams from Pot 1 didn't win their matches?
Dagur Sigurdsson: Yes, this was a bit surprising, but you have to bear in mind that the top of the game in Europe has become wider.

TEXT: Björn Pazen