Viudes close to fourth EHF Cup quarter-finalsArticle
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French line player of Kolding has a special motivation to reach the EHF Cup Finals - he would play in his native country with a foreign club

Viudes close to fourth EHF Cup quarter-finals

The Danish handball has become a traditional destination for many French women in the past years, but their male compatriots are still quite rare. One of the first swallows is a Kolding line player Cyril Viudes.

He was one of the key players for the Danish league leaders in the previous round of the EHF Cup Group Phase, when his team beat big rivals from Rhein Neckar Löwen 25.23. If KIF win on Sunday in Mannheim, they will clinch a berth in the quarter-finals with two rounds still to be played. For Viudes it would be his fourth EHF Cup quarter-final appearence as he already played at this stage in the old EHF Cup twice with Spanish team Bidasoa Irun and once with Saint Raphael Var.

As he said in the interview for one of his dream for this season is not only to qualify for the top eight, but also to take part in the EHF Cup Finals in Nantes in his native country. You're now first in the danish league, ahead of clubs like Silkeborg or Aalborg, what were the goals at the beginning of the season?
The goals are clear, we have to win the championship. We are at the top at the moment and we have really good chances, I think we're even listed as favourites, even though teams like Aalborg, Skjern, Silkeborg or even Tvis are strong contenders and intend to play their chance. With this play-off system, anything can happen, that's the aim for the public and for the medias, to keep things interesting until the final. In the EHF Cup you had to start from the very first qualification round, but after three rounds of the group phase you seem to be on the right way to the quarter-finals. How far can you go in this newly restructured competition, which is now more prestigious but also more difficult than in the past?

Of course it's a major challenge for us. We intend to go all the way to the EHF Cup Finals in Nantes in order to try and win this competition. We think we have good chances, but we're not the only ones. Rhein-Neckar, Magdeburg, Göppingen, Płock, Koper and even Nantes, who will be playing the finals at home, if they qualify, are legitimate candidates. The Rhein-Neckar Löwen game on Sunday will be the breaking point of this group phase. What do you expect from this game?
I think this will be a huge fight. We beat them at home a few days ago, so I think it will be a tough rematch, because clearly it's the first place of the group that both teams will compete for. They were leaders of Bundesliga until recently, and that's not by luck, so the arena there will be electrifying. But we're going to Germany to get a positive result. How would you feel about coming back to Nantes to play the EHF Cup Finals?
That would be fun and quite exciting. Whatever happens, if we take part in it, and that's not the done thing yet, we'll play it to win it, and it would be even greater if we won in France. That would be a good occasion for my family to come and see me and for me that would make an extra motivation. And it's always good to come back to your native country and show everybody you play in a good club, so that people don't forget about you! Even though your team is not well-known in France, you have many great players in the squad. How does it feel to play along players like Bo Spellerberg, Kasper Hvidt or Kim Andersson?
They're really good players and you get better by playing with them everyday, I've got to take it all in. But, once again, I've got qualities as well and I've got something to bring to the squad too. When we play together, and that star tag is being put aside, they're just my team-mates and my friends, nothing else. You've got the take the best of a varied squad when high-profile games arrive, and everyone works towards this goal.

Photo: Frank Cilius

Further information
Follow the match live on on Sunday at 17:00 hrs local time.

TEXT: Kevin Domas / br