A moment with ... Marcin LijewskiArticle
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INTERVIEW: ehfTV commentator Tom Ó Brannagain speaks to Polish star Marcin Lijewski, who returned to Płock after 11 years abroad. The older of Lijewski brothers joined Orlen just weeks after he won the VELUX EHF FINAL4 with HSV Hamburg.

»EHF CL Channel »2013-14 Men's News

A moment with ... Marcin Lijewski

Marcin Lijewski relaxes in the confines of the media room in the Orlen Arena in Płock. He casually asks the "techies" working around us to give us 30 minutes to have a chat. They instantly agree. Marcin is a big star hereabouts.
His last foray in Polish handball was at Wisła Płock, 11 years ago, where he won a Polish championship, but as he says things are so much different now...

"New arena, new team, a focus to build something." He tells me he's nervous because his English is not so good, but once he begins to talk, it flows naturally like the Vistula river from which the club takes its name (Wisła).

There is no doubt that the memories of the "VELUX EHF FINAL4" are fresh in his memory. "It was surprising, but incredible."
He and his team really didn't expect the victory. They were as amazed as anyone else that they could have won. “But we worked hard,” he says. He briefly mentions his brother Krzysztof, who had left Hamburg for Kielce the previous season, had shared his big brothers joy at a party after the event even though Kielce had come third.

"Schwalb is a great man-manager"

He doesn't use these exact words but the intent is clear. "He knows I'm not the same player as Hens, and so he knows exactly what to say to all of us.”

He is glowing in his praise of Martin Schwalb.  

His brother surfaces a lot in our chat. Marcin joined him at Hamburg and they roomed together on trips and fought for the same position.

"In Hamburg, the players in the same position roomed together on trips. So I stayed with my brother. That was nice.”

You can sense the pride in his voice as he talks about younger Krzysztof.

He doesn't believe he was a role model for him in his formative years, but he is proud that a family produced two "left-handlers and that his brother and he got to share some great moments as opponents and as teammates at Hamburg and internationally with Poland.

"We are fighting for the same position, but understanding that you can't play all the games."

They each give the other advice and there seems to be no feeling of despondency if one is performing better than the other.

"Who's better?” I ask.

"It doesn't matter, I'm just proud."

Me, the stick and the fish

Ironically for a team sport player his new passion is a very individual and private pastime. He likes to fish.

"I kiss them and throw them back."

It's a passion born long ago with his grandfather, that he hasn't been able to pursue due to his handball commitments.

“It’s just me, my stick and the fish,” he says. But he doesn’t catch them to eat them; no they get blown a little kiss too.

No daddy of the team

But at 35, although he feels 25, he has more time. The less time consuming Polish training and playing schedule allows him more free time. To fish!

"No, I'm not the daddy of the team, I work as hard as the young guys, but I am there to give advice if I am asked."

And with his trophy cabinet stuffed with winner’s medals from his time in Poland and Germany, along with the national team and now CL Gold, he has plenty to offer the young guns of Płock.

He still wants to play on, but has a career in coaching in mind along with a sports/teaching degree in his back pocket, although he says he wouldn't have the patience to train younger teams.

His demeanour is so calm, you can't believe that, but his philosophy on coaching leads me to believe he would make a pretty good job of it.

When I asked him what his proudest achievement was, and that he could only pick one, there is an instant of indecisiveness. He is a proud Pole and his medals with the NT rate highly with him..

"It has to be the FINAL4. Holding that trophy in front of 20,000 was something really special."

In the end Marcin has no unfinished business in Germany, but with a new project in Poland and closer to his family in Gdańsk, the big man is home and out to prove he still has it at the highest level.

If his performance in the first match of Group B is anything to go by, he still has "it" and has found another gear as well.

Listen to the entire interview with Marcin here.

TEXT: Tom Ó Brannagáin, ehfTV commentator