Gjekstad wishes himself fantastic farewellArticle
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INTERVIEW: Ole Gustav Gjekstad hopes to end his handball career by lifting the Champions League trophy.

»EHF CL Channel »2014-15 Women's News

Gjekstad wishes himself fantastic farewell

The MVM EHF FINAL4 in Budapest next weekend will be Ole Gustav Gjekstad's last appearance on the handball stage.

After this season, the 47-year-old former Norwegian international not only leaves Larvik and the coaching job behind, but handball in general, as he will start a new job in an insurance company.

Quite obviously, he is eager to finish his handball career in style. The best way to do that, is by lifting the Champions League trophy on Sunday 10 May and crown Larvik EHF Champions League winners.

ehfCL.com: Larvik haven’t lost a single point throughout the Women's EHF Champions League this season. Why?

Ole Gustav Gjekstad: We’ve won some matches by one goal - that gives self-confidence. On the other hand, we must admit, that we didn’t play brilliant handball in some matches. Everyone works hard in the team and we never give in.

Our goalkeepers are an important reason, why we haven’t lost a single match this season. Together with a good defence, Sandra Toft and Alma Hasanic have shown top-class goalkeeping. They have filled the gap that Cecilie Leganger and Lene Rantala had left, in a fantastic way.

ehfCL.com: What does it mean to Larvik to be at the MVM EHF FINAL4 – especially considering that you did not manage to qualify last year?

Ole Gustav Gjekstad: The EHF Champions League is the only competition where we can reach our goals. We can accept not to be among the four best teams for one year – but we have to be part of the MVM EHF FINAL4 in four out of five seasons. That’s the pressure our surrounding put upon us and it’s a natural goal for the players as well as for the coaches.

ehfCL.com: You are leaving Larvik and handball after this season. Does it mean something extra this time being at the MVM EHF FINAL4?

Ole Gustav Gjekstad: Yes, to end in style with Larvik would mean a lot to me. All in all, I have been coach in Larvik for 12 years now. Of course, it will be a special feeling to leave the job after this season. The dream is to lift the Champions League trophy on Sunday 10 May. That would be a fantastic ending!

ehfCL.com: Many people consider meeting Dinamo-Sinara in the semi-final to be a great advantage for you. How do you see that semi-final?

Ole Gustav Gjekstad: I have great respect for Dinamo Sinara. They’ve impressed me a lot this season, and I also think they have surprised many of their opponents. We’ve played many good matches against Dinamo in history, but whether we are favourites or not doesn't matter to us. We know that we have to be the better team to win the semi-final.

One of our strengths is the fact that we have a lot of experienced players who have been in this kind of situation many times before. I hope that we’ll benefit from that.

ehfCL.com: Many people consider Larvik to be favourites to win the MVM EHF FINAL4. Do you agree?

Ole Gustav Gjekstad: I think it is hard to point out a clear favourite. Buducnost and Larvik have been the most stable teams throughout the season. However, Dinamo as well as Vardar both have the players and the level to defeat any opponent.

Therefore, I think that the team who is best prepared - not least tactically - will win. Of course, it is also a question of being lucky in the deciding situations.

ehfCL.com: What will your team have to succeed with in order to win the MVM EHF FINAL4?

Ole Gustav Gjekstad: The most important thing we can do right now, is to be 100% focused on the semi-final against Dinamo. My players are in a good physical condition, and can easily play two matches within two days, but we should only focus on the first match.

TEXT: Peter Bruun / me