We have proved to all hesitaters they are wrong, Andersson saysArticle
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New season, new club and new trophy to claim for the Swedish right back stalwart of KIF Kolding

We have proved to all hesitaters they are wrong, Andersson says

Only two clubs in the Men´s EHF Cup made it all the way from the first qualification round to the quarter-finals – Branik Maribor and KIF Kolding. While the Slovenian underdog made a surprising run to the top seven of the newly formatted competition, the appearance of the new Danish powerhouse was more than expected as they made several star signings over the last summer.

But as one of the brightest stars of the whole competition Kim Andersson warns, nothing can be taken for granted beforehand. The three-time winner of the EHF Champions League with Kiel and the silver medallist of the London Olympics with Sweden talks exclusively to eurohandball.com before Kolding´s next hurdle on the road to Nantes to the brand new trophy.

eurohandball.com: After you won the first three rounds of the Group Phase you could have hoped for a smooth progression to the quarter-finals. However, then you lost three in a row and your heads were down after your last defeat in Prešov.

Kim Andersson: Despite we had won by 20 goals at home against Prešov we knew we were to face a big task, since we lost at Rhein Neckar and Zaporozhye. However, we did not stand a chance of beating Prešov.

On one hand we arrived with a lot of injured players, nearly 50 per cent of the squad was hampered by injuries and on the other hand Prešov proved they have a really strong team. At the end of that evening we were really happy to qualify, but we were not happy with the way we played. We have to forget about it soon.

eurohandball.com:  What can you expect from quarter-finals. Your next hurdle on the way to the EHF Cup Finals in Nantes should be well-known for you?

Kim Andersson: Yes. It is unbelievable that we have been drawn against Team Tvis Holstebro. We are going to meet them four-times in a month since we face each other in the play off. We are very happy with this draw. We won three out of four points in the league, we know them very well and they know us well too, but if you look down at the papers we are the stronger team.

eurohandball.com: In Kolding you have joined a new ambitious project, what does a success in the EHF Cup mean for this club?

Kim Andersson: It means a lot, because we have been just founded last summer. KIF are a new team, with new players. It is an interesting mixture and although we were lacking some basic in knowing each other, we have proved to all hesitaters they are wrong as we won the Danish league or as we beat Rhein Neckar at home even without playing our best game.

eurohandball.com: Kolding had to start in the competition from the very first qualification round, what kind of experience it was?

Kim Andersson: Throughout the whole season we have shown we are a good team, but we also found out we have to be much sharper than we were at the last two matches. We have to know our limits and know where we have to be in this game. We have entered the quarter-finals now and since this is a knock-out stage, we cannot afford to have weak days like that.

eurohandball.com: How do you find the idea of the EHF Cup Finals as a final tournament played in a final four format?

Kim Andersson: If it will be almost the same like the Champions League Final4 – it would be really a great event to take part in. I am very fond of  the format with two end games and we have a great chance to get there. We have to trust in ourselves and hopefully, we are going to enjoy the EHF Cup finals in Nantes.

eurohandball.com: You might become the only player with a new EHF Cup trophy after lifting the EHF Champions League trophy with Kiel last season. Is this a special motivation for you?

Kim Andersson: Not just because of that, it would be fantastic to win something like that, because I have never played that competition before. This trophy is a big challenge for me.
eurohandball.com: Have you been experiencing a huge change in Kolding compared to what you have been used to in Kiel?

Kim Andersson: Of course it is a big difference coming from the best club of the world where we played many great games, especially in terms of the quality of the domestic competitions. And playing in Kiel in Sparkassen in front of 11.000 spectators will be always something special.

But in Kolding it is pefect too, we play in two great arenas, handball is a great sport in Denmark, our fans are fantastic and they have no lack of passion. We are trying to show everybody we deserve their support, although there were lots of negative thoughts about us when our club has been founded. But we just have to stay focused and concentrate on playing a good quality handball.

eurohandball.com: When you signed for KIF you said you would have signed for six years if that was possible...

Kim Andersson: This is true and despite playing here only my first year, I am still convinced that I would sign. I am in a bit different situation compared to Kiel where I was just one among the other key players. But we are on the right track, we hope to get more quality players for the next year as we try to build something great here.

eurohandball.com: Did your private life also played an important role when you decided for Kolding?

Kim Andersson: To be honest that was my main reason for change from Kiel, otherwise I would never leave THW. I live in Copenhagen and my family is only 50 minutes away in Ystad. We are really happy to be back again after almost eleven years.

eurohandball.com: Do you have time to follow the VELUX EHF Champions League?
Kim Andersson: Not that much, to be honest. I may say that Kiel are the only team I am half-half following as I am too busy with our playing schedule with Kolding.

eurohandball.com: How do you rate their chances to get back to Cologne and defend the title? You were the part of the team at their all successful campaigns. Will they manage that without you?

Kim Andersson: Of course they can win without me. They have the top players and if they manage that, they just confirm how great club they are being able to get the new players directly work for the system. I am pretty sure they will reach the final weekend in Cologne.

eurohandball.com: You have announced your comeback to the national team of Sweden recently. What was the reason for your decision?

Kim Andersson: When I was approached with a question if I could return to the national team, I asked my family and my wife if this is a good time for a comeback and she was really supporting me. I am really looking forward to join my teammates again.

TEXT: EHF / br