Steinar Ege: It would not have been any club other than KielArticle
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INTERVIEW: At the age of 42, Steinar Ege never dreamt of a comeback – until he got a call from Kiel.

Steinar Ege: It would not have been any club other than Kiel

"I had almost thrown my handball shoes out!" Steinar Ege confirms that he was definitely not planning a comeback to the handball court. Soon after his last club AG Kobenhavn went bankrupt in July 2012, he decided to end his career immediately.

However, about a week ago he got a call from THW Kiel, whom he represented from 1999 to 2002 and his handball-retirement became obsolete.

An overstretched muscle in one of Swedish goalkeeper Andreas Palicka's thighs left Kiel with Swedish international Johan Sjöstrand and the 22-year-old Dane Kim Sonne as the only goalkeepers.

"We started the season with three goalkeepers, and that is what we want for this deciding phase of the season too,” Kiel director Thorsten Storm explained the approach to Ege, who will turn 43 two days before the first leg of Kiel's quarter-final tie against MOL-Pick Szeged in the VELUX EHF Champions League.

"I never thought I would make a comeback, and it probably wouldn't have been any other club than Kiel, that could have persuaded me. And this is only due to the fact that there are some deciding Champions League matches coming up as well as a possible German championship," explains Steinar Ege.

Photocredit: Angela Grewe

The former Norwegian international already got his comeback two weeks ago in the Bundesliga match away against HC Erlangen – a game which Kiel won 36:22.

"That match showed how fast it can happen to find yourself in the goal again. Not only is Andreas Palicka injured, but Johan Sjöstrand had been ill for nearly a week, so Kim Sonne and me were the only goalkeepers left. I think it went okay, considering the fact that I had practically not been standing in a handball goal for two and a half years.”

"However, I also have to say that my teammates were extremely nice to their new goalkeeper. They really made an extra effort in the defense which did not allow Erlangen to get anywhere," smiles Ege, who used to swap with his colleague Kasper Hvidt every 15 minutes during his time at AG Kobenhavn.

There are no plans of similar arrangements in Kiel, where Ege expects to help out where he can.

Easing the pressure

"I can obviously contribute with my experience and help the other goalkeepers in the club to ease the pressure on them a bit," says Steinar Ege, who has stayed in Copenhagen with his family after ending his career there.

He has kept contact with the handball environment by working as an assistant coach to several junior teams in the Copenhagen based club FIF.

"I actually only help out once a week or so, as I am not allowed to be a coach in the club as a parent," he explains – and emphasises that we should not expect to see him back on the handball court for good.

"No, I have only agreed to help out in Kiel for the rest of the season. After that it's definitively over," he says. Before it comes that far, however, it is about the last deciding matches in the VELUX EHF Champions League and in the German Bundesliga.

In the Champions League, the opponents in the quarter-final are Hungarian MOL-Pick Szeged who sent Kiel's only remaining rivals for the German championship, Rhein-Neckar Löwen, out of the Last 16.

"Of course, Pick Szeged will be a tough opponent. They won against Rhein-Neckar Löwen away as well as at home, so they are obviously very strong, but that is only to be expected now that the competition in tightening.

"Seen in that connection, it was probably an okay draw for us, and we also have a strong team in Kiel. So I am pretty sure Szeged also see us as a tough opponent," concludes Ege.

TEXT: Peter Bruun / me