Krzysztof Lijewski: I would give my brother my own towel if he asked meArticle
«Go back

INTERVIEW: The younger of the Lijewski brothers speaks to after his side Kielce faced and defeated his brother's team Plock in the Polish derby

Krzysztof Lijewski: I would give my brother my own towel if he asked me

"There are moments in sport when we put the enmity on the shelf and help each other," says the younger of the Lijewski brothers. Last Sunday his team, Vive Targi Kielce, fought a hard battle against Orlen Wisła Płock, represented by the elder brother Marcin, winner of previous edition of VELUX EHF Champions League. 

Both players did their best and played important roles in their teams, but only one could celebrate victory. The Kielce right back gives an overview of the duel, its meaning for Polish handball and stresses that sometimes sport is about something much more important than the rivalry. What a thrilling game between the two giants of Polish handball. Why, do you think, it was your team that came out on top after sixty minutes?

Krzysztof Lijewski: We won this match because of our heads in the second half of the duel. The first half was a disaster, we were playing very badly. There was too much individuality in our attack and too relaxed in our defence. It’s impossible to win against such a good team as Wisła in that way. 

We rearranged our tactics during the half-time, we told ourselves a few tough words and decided that we had to win this match and so it was. Our defence improved in the second half, our goalkeeper saved a lot of difficult shots and the players from Płock started to have problems with their positional attack.

They had to use fast breaks to stay in the game while we were striving to play our game, to put the finishing touches to every attack. Sometimes it worked, sometimes not, but all in all we should be very proud of the victory, because it wasn’t an easy game. You looked a bit disorientated in the first minutes of the duel. Was it caused by the host fans?

Krzysztof Lijewski: No, it was not the matter of fans. We needed to go through the match. We lacked concentration at the beginning of the game, we looked a little bit drowsy and we were walking, not running on the court. This was our biggest problem. 

In the second half we started to move faster and more briskly, it helped us to go in the lead. It looked like Venio Losert, who replaced Sławomir Szmal after the half time, put a huge dose of calmness to your game.

Krzysztof Lijewski: That’s right, he helped us considerably and he saved some fantastic balls, so he is also one of the fathers of this success. Do you think that Płock overestimated themselves a little bit? Did they start the match too quickly and suffer at the half-way mark?

Krzysztof Lijewski: We all know that handball is a discipline in which you need to play sixty minutes, not thirty. We knew that we weren’t able to win the match in a moment but we would have to struggle till the last siren. 

It was similar last week in our Polish league game which had almost the same course. The host put everything at stake and we lurked behind our guard. We waited until the second half to bring out our firepower. So it seems that your long bench was an additional factor which helped you in gaining a victory, was it?

Krzysztof Lijewski: Yes, of course. The season is long, hard and exhausting. If we want to be successful on many fronts, we cannot play with only seven players, we need our bench. It was crucial against Plock. You could see that each of us could have counted on his teammate if he needed a short break. Are you satisfied with the overall image of Polish handball against a European background?

Krzysztof Lijewski: Well, we showed that we can play handball and we created a nice show, not only on the court, but also in the stands. In my opinion, it was an impressive business card for Polish handball in Europe. We proved that two domestic teams are able to play at a high level in the Champions League. Do you expect your next opponent, THW Kiel, to set you a higher target?

Krzysztof Lijewski: Of course, THW Kiel are a great team. No matter who their rival is, no matter how their line-up looks, they are always favourites. They are the superpower of handball and the eyes of Europe focus on them.

I hope our fans will make an incredible atmosphere next week and will help us. You know, to win against them two times in a row would be no mean feat. Lastly, your brother was swiping resin from your shoe during the game. Did you have any problem with it?

Krzysztof Lijewski: I would give him my own towel if he asked me. There are moments in sport when we put the enmity on the shelf and help each other.

Photo credit: KS Vive Targi Kielce

TEXT: Magda Pluszewska / cor