Reichmann getting better and better under TalantArticle
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INTERVIEW: Kielce’s German wing slowly adjusting to life in Poland and quickly developing as a player under coach Dujshebaev

»EHF CL Channel »2014-15 Men's News

Reichmann getting better and better under Talant

Tobias Reichmann, a German player entering the peak years of his handball career, made a big and unusual decision last season to leave a club safely placed in arguably Europe’s strongest league and move abroad.

The 26-year-old left Germany and signed a contract with a multiple domestic champion Vive Tauron Kielce, led by a legendary coach. However, by the time he arrived at the club, the coach had changed. This was not what he signed up for.

Thankfully for the right wing, he had been through this situation in the past with his move to THW Kiel, where he enjoyed his first taste of VELUX EHF Champions League action in 2010.

After spending his first few months in town, Reichmann spoke to about his impressions of the new country, his sudden love of the English language and his special relationship with coach Talant Dujshebaev. What was your secret: how is it possible to win your final group phase match against Zaporozhye from nine goals down at half time?

Tobias Reichmann: I don’t know (laughs). We played against Zaporozhye with only nine active players, two of which are goalkeepers, then during the game Julen Aguinagalde was injured, leaving us with only six court players.

The first half was not the best one, so at half-time Talant said that we could not lose by more than nine goals. Eventually five or six, but no more. So we said “Ok, we’ll do our best” and step by step we reduced our deficit. I have never played such a match before. Kielce ended the group phase with a perfect record and can go into the Last 16 full of confidence. What do you think about your opponents in the first knockout stage, Montpellier?

Tobias Reichmann: Montpellier are a very good team. We played against them in pre-season. This was a very good and tough game, which we lost with one goal. This time we will do our best to win both matches. Now you are going back to the daily grind of the domestic league. Does this variation of the standard of matches have any influence on your attitude in the Champions League?

Tobias Reichmann: It’s really good that the players can take a break from the battles on the European courts. In countries like Germany or France, it’s not possible. Maybe at the beginning it was a bit difficult for me to change mode, but I knew about this dissonance while making the decision. Right now it is no problem for me. Do you like change?

Tobias Reichmann: Of course. The move to Poland is a huge challenge for me and my girlfriend. The biggest one is language. Usually when we ask questions in English, people answer that they speak only Polish and just walk away. What is funny about this situation is that when we lived in Germany and somebody spoke to us in English we were afraid as well and now we are so happy when somebody speaks this language with us. What about the German-speaking players? Do you stick to them?

Tobias Reichmann: Yes, I meet with them sometimes, but mostly I spend my spare time with Julen Aguinagalde. We communicate in English and we both are single representatives of our countries. You have moved clubs four times already, including moving from THW Kiel to Wetlzar. It is unusual for a player not to want to be a Zebra anymore. What was your reason?

Tobias Reichmann: I had a great time in THW, but I wanted to play more than just 15-20 minutes per match as I used to in Kiel. I think it is good for the team when each player is needed, not only seven or eight of them. That is why I like Talant’s system. You signed for Kielce after they reached the 2013 VELUX EHF FINAL4. The following season was not as successful and Talant Dujshebaev took over from Bogdan Wenta halfway through. Was there a moment when you thought you had made your decision too early?

Tobias Reichmann: No, never. I was just a bit nervous about the change in coach, because I had the same situation with Kiel. I had signed the contract when Zvonimir Serdarusić was the coach and came when the club was taken by Alfred Gislason. I didn’t want to go through it again.

Anyway in this case I wasn’t afraid, because I spoke with Ivano Balić in Wetzlar and he talked about Talant in the most dazzling terms. How do you like working with him?

Tobias Reichmann: Very much. He is one of the best coaches I have ever had. Maybe even the best one, regarding handball and his personality as well. He speaks very often with me, asking whether I have any problems on the court, with teammates or even at home with my girlfriend.

I have never had such a relationship with the coach before. You know, in Germany something like this was not so important, because I could always solve the problems by myself, but abroad it is really nice to receive such help. Talant often experiments with the positions. Recently he used you as a right back. How did you like it?

Tobias Reichmann: I liked it, because I had the ball in my hands more often. But it is hard. I am used to the system when I wait in the corner for the pass from my teammate and as a back I have more responsibility. Would you say you are developing yourself in Kielce?

Tobias Reichmann: Definitely. Each team and each coach plays different handball. Talant practises a Spanish system and that is new for me. I’m the winner in this situation; I’m getting better and better. Are you able to reach the VELUX EHF FINAL4 with him this season?

Tobias Reichmann: Yes, I think so. After the World Championship we had many injuries in the team but we have enough for now (laughs). In the next few weeks all of the players will return and maybe it will be our advantage that some players are able to recover and simply rest right now, before the most important stage of the season.

TEXT: Magda Pluszewska / cor