Party atmosphere in DunkerqueArticle
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NEWS REPORT: Fans of the French newcomers are enjoying their side's European adventure to the fullest

Party atmosphere in Dunkerque

The VELUX EHF Champions League coming to town is always a special event, no matter where you play.

In Dunkerque, however, it is a little bit more special, since this season is the first where the local team are taking part in the competition.

“We had this kind of frenzy when we were in the EHF Cup Final two years ago, but this year is something else.

“We've worked hard to get there and the fans are going to be lucky, with Kiel and Kielce coming to town,” says coach Patrick Cazal.

The local arena might be the smallest amongst all the participants, but it's far from being the quietest. There is an orchestra in one corner, fans banging on wood pieces in the other and a good atmosphere all around.

No wonder these guys have been elected best fans of the French league two years ago and the people who've made the trip from Plock won't say anything to the contrary: “It's cool in here. It's different from the atmosphere in Poland; there is music and people cheering. It's a real handball crowd and they know the game very well,” says Barto, a fan from Plock.

Positive influence

When you ask Dunkeque's players whether their fans can make the difference, they are quite positive about it.

Vincent Gérard, who played in the competition before with Montpellier, notes: "Since it's the first time here, people are really excited. We used to play it every year when I was in Montpellier, so it was seen as being normal, whereas here, fans are very aware this might be the only time they've got such occasions to see big games.”

Although the local team lost their second game in a row in the competition, there are still smiles on the players' faces.

“Let's be honest, we are the smallest team in here, so we try to make the best of it and to have fun on the court. We want our followers to be proud of us even if we lose those games,” says Guillaume Joli, who scored three times in their 25:28 defeat to Wisla Plock on Saturday.

TEXT: Kevin Domas / cor