Hvidt: We will have to win the match in the defenceArticle
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INTERVIEW: Defence could decide the ehfTV Match of the Week between KIF Kolding Kobenhavn and THW Kiel according to KIF keeper Kasper Hvidt.

Hvidt: We will have to win the match in the defence

If, for some reason, you do not like the old Tina Turner hit ‘Simply the Best’, you should steer clear of KIF Kolding København´s home matches.

“Why” you ask. Well, that tune is played each and every time Kasper Hvidt makes a save in goal – and it happens often.

At the age of 38, the former Danish international is still rated among the best keepers in the world on his best days and he has played an important part in the Danish team’s successful VELUX EHF Champions League campaign so far.

There is no doubt that the above mentioned Tina Turner tune will need to played quite a lot of times in Brøndby Hallen on Sunday if KIF are to have a chance to take first place in Group B away from current leaders THW Kiel.

A four goal win is what the Danish team needs in the Match of the Week in order to take the lead ahead of the last two matches, although a  three goal difference will be enough, if they can keep Kiel under 26 goals, as the first meeting between the two teams in Kiel ended with a 29:26 win for THW.

At KIF, the injured players are beginning to report back for active duty, but the current number two in the Danish league have some challenges to face in their attacking play, as Kim Andersson and Kasper Irming are still sidelined, while Bo Spellerberg has been bothered by a muscle injury in his stomach after the EHF EURO 2014 and Lasse Boesen still has problems shooting after his shoulder injury.

Despite those problems, Kasper Hvidt is optimistic about his team´s chances in the Match of the Week (which will be live on ehfTV this Sunday 9 February at 16:55 hrs. CET) and he spoke to ehfCL.com about the game.

ehfCL.com: How do you see the chances against Kiel on Sunday?

Kasper Hvidt: First of all I expect an equal game, just like the one we played in the Sparkassen Arena back in the autumn. 

As a matter of fact, the result of that match lied a little bit, as we could actually have got at least a draw. However, we missed a few opportunities from six metres and sent a couple of shots past the goal in the deciding phase of the match, where Kiel rushed up and scored at the other end of the court in return.

This time we will have more than 5,000 spectators supporting us, so I definitely think we can give Kiel an even match.

ehfCL.com: When you predict an even match do I hear you saying that winning by three or four goals may not be realistic?

Kasper Hvidt: At first we have to realise that every time and everywhere Kiel enter the court to play, they will inevitably be favourites – maybe apart from when they play away against Barcelona. So, obviously they are also favourites.

That being said, I still think we can give them an equal match and an equal match can also turn out with a three goal difference at the end, as we saw in the Sparkassen Arena in the autumn.

However, if we are to have a chance to defeat Kiel, each and every one of us will have to play at his absolutely best.

ehfCL.com: An aspect of the game where you are absolutely best is the defence. Statistically speaking, you and Veszprem in Group A are the two teams who have conceded the lowest number of goals in the first seven matches – 165 each. Is your match Sunday also going to be decided in the defence, do you think?

Kasper Hvidt: Yes, there is no doubt that our defence will have to play a deciding factor. It is correct that we have a very strong defence with Lars Jørgensen, Joachim Boldsen and Torsten Laen who all represent a lot of experience too, of course. 

On top of this, Lasse Andersson has also proven to be a strong defender. Despite being just 19, he has shown impressive defensive skills already.

All together we have a lot of kilos in our defence to put up against the opponents’ attacking players, and that is crucial when you meet such big and strong players like those at Kiel.

In fact, I find the intense physical pressure which the teams can put on each other to be a really cool aspect of playing in the Champions League.

ehfCL.com: Many people have been surprised that you have done as well as you have in the Champions League in spite of all your injury problems. How do you explain the fact that you still have the chance to win your group?

Kasper Hvidt: First and foremost we have to bear in mind that we may still be anything from number one to number four and that is the thing which is so cool about that group, everything seems to be possible against every team.

But to get back to your question, one of the reasons why we stand in the position we do is the fact that we have a very deep squad, and that we have managed to develop a playing concept which fits extremely well with the players we have.

Furthermore, the squad represents an enormous amount of international experience from the absolute top level, and that is crucial when you play in for instance Kielce or Kiel or Plock, where you get under a kind of pressure which you are not used to in the domestic league.

The referees’ way of refereeing may be different from what you are used to, and the pressure you get under may be more aggressive. In such situations, our huge experience comes in useful.

ehfCL.com: Your match against Kiel is being played exactly two weeks after the final of the EHF EURO 2014. Kiel had more players in that tournament than you. On the other hand they have only had to play one domestic league match since then, while you have had three. Will any of this have any significance, do you think?

Kasper Hvidt: No, I think that question can be answered that briefly. I am pretty sure that two weeks after the EURO, the players have forgotten that they have played the EURO – mentally as well as physically. They simply have to.

TEXT: Peter Bruun / cor