Gottfridsson: More than I was hoping forArticle
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EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Having played more than he expected and having qualified for the VELUX EHF FINAL4 with SG Flensburg-Handewitt, Jim Gottfridsson can only be happy with his first season in the Bundesliga.

Gottfridsson: More than I was hoping for

Things have gone fast for Jim Gottfridsson after his transfer from Swedish league club Ystad's IF to SG Flensburg-Handewitt last summer.

Not only has the 21-year-old Swedish international got more time on the court in his first Bundesliga season than he expected in advance. With Flensburg, the talented centre back has also reached one of his greatest dreams: To qualify for the VELUX EHF FINAL4. What has your first season in the Bundesliga and in SG Flensburg-Handewitt been like for you?

Jim Gottfridsson: I am very content with my first in SG Flensburg-Handewitt. Thanks to Ljubomir Vranjes (Flensburg head coach) and the other players I have learnt a lot, and I have been able to develop a step further over the season. Before joining Flensburg, you said that you were not going there in order to sit on the bench, and you certainly have not. Have you actually got more time on the court than you expected?

Jim Gottfridsson: I am very happy with the amount of time I have played in my first season here in the SG. Before the season I was hoping for about 20 minutes per match. That was my goal in such a top team. Now it has turned into some more minutes, and I am proud of that. I hope to be able to go on helping the team this way in future too. What has been the biggest change this season, compared to your time in the Swedish league?

Jim Gottfridsson: I think that the biggest difference is the fact that we play twice as many matches in Flensburg and at a higher level which makes the intensity of the games higher. Due to the fact that there are no play-offs in the Bundesliga, each match is deciding, and thus the games are always played at a high level. Now you can look forward to the first VELUX EHF FINAL4 of your career. Did you even dream of that before joining Flensburg?

Jim Gottfridsson: As a player you always dream of an event like that. The VELUX EHF FINAL4 in Cologne is the greatest handball event at club level and thus a big thing for each and every player. Before my time in Flensburg I was never expecting to be part of it, but an opportunity like that was one of the reasons why I joined a top team like SG Flensburg-Handewitt. What does it mean to you that you are now going to play the VELUX EHF FINAL4 in Cologne?

Jim Gottfridsson: Going to be part of the event in Cologne this year is an incredibly big thing. The excitement in and around the team and among our fans is huge. I am really looking forward to experiencing that special atmosphere in the LANXESS arena, and I can hardly wait to finally enter the court. It is this way: You really do not know if you will ever get this opportunity again. How do you see your team's chances at the VELUX EHF FINAL4?

Jim Gottfridsson: At the VELUX EHF FINAL4 the best teams of Europe meet, and therefore it is obviously a tough competition, where we are facing two top teams in Europe. However, I believe in our team, and we are definitely going to give all we got that weekend!

TEXT: Peter Bruun / br