Duvnjak feeling right at home as a zebraArticle
«Go back

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Croatian top star fits well in the new THW squad

»EHF CL Channel »2014-15 Men's News

Duvnjak feeling right at home as a zebra

Domagoj Duvnjak knows the taste of success and he wants to continue tasting it, therefore the recent World Handball Player of the Year switched to the three-time EHF Champions League winner THW Kiel.

His transfer was announced already one year ago, months before his former club HSV Hamburg nearly became insolvent.

And due to this financial situation, Croat Duvnjak is not the only former HSV player wearing the Zebra shirt, as Spanish world champion and 2014 EHF EURO top scorer Joan Canellas joined him, as has 2014 VELUX EHF Champions League winner Steffen Weinhold from SG Flensburg-Handewitt.

With those three signings Kiel can count on an outstanding backcourt axis including Filip Jicha (2010 World Handball Player of the Year), Aron Palmarsson (2014 VELUX EHF FINAL4 Most Valuable player), Marko Vujin and Rasmus Lauge.

And despite (or because) of this huge competition for position, “Dule” Duvnjak (who signed a three year contract) fits well in his new team, as he says in this exclusive interview with ehfCL.com after winning his first trophy with THW Kiel, the German Supercup (24:18 against Füchse Berlin).

ehfCL.com: Have you already settled in your new team and in the new city?

Domagoj Duvnjak: Regarding the team – absolutely, but due to our tough preparations I did not see that much of Kiel. However, it’s not so far from Hamburg and I had played very often there.

My team mates gave me a warm welcome which made the start very easy for me. So it is really fun to be at THW, as we have a great squad. I am really looking forward to my first season in Kiel and it is even nicer to start a new job with a trophy right away.

ehfCL.com: So even for you the first title with a new club means something special?

Domagoj Duvnjak: Yes, I am really happy to win the Super Cup. But everybody saw that a huge amount of work is ahead of us to fit well as a team and to reach our highly set targets. I am happy that the intense preparation is over now and the season will start soon. I believe in our team – we are ready for a successful season.

ehfCL.com: You mentioned the current THW squad, a pool of stars mainly in the back court positions. Will your role be different to the one you played in Hamburg, where you were the superhero?

Domagoj Duvnjak: Firstly, I really feel well in this squad. Secondly, no star counts alone, only the team counts.

Of course we belong to the favourites in all competitions, but you have to show up on the court. You cannot think that everything is a sure-fire success without any work, in contrast: The preparation has proved that we make too many mistakes and that not everything is perfectly balanced.

ehfCL.com: Which position, centre back or left back, do you prefer at Kiel?

Domagoj Duvnjak: Ask our coach Alfred Gislason, he will decide. I don’t care which position I play, as long as we are successful.

ehfCL.com: How big is your anticipation for the VELUX EHF Champions League?

Domagoj Duvnjak: Huge! Of course, I am mainly looking forward to the matches against my former club RK Zagreb. We have some tough hurdles like PSG and Metalurg ahead in our group, but it is our goal to finish on top and have the best possible base for the knock-out stage and our goal of the VELUX EHF FINAL4. After winning the trophy in 2013 with Hamburg it’s my clear aim to return to Cologne.

ehfCL.com: In the middle of the club campaign lies the World Championship in January, do you dream of winning your first gold medal with the Croatian team?

Domagoj Duvnjak: That would not be so bad, would it? But it is still so long before the event starts, so from now until the winter it's only about THW Kiel. 

TEXT: Björn Pazen / cor