Big crowds at the VELUX EHF FINAL4 media callArticle
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FEATURE: Hundreds of journalists grab the chance to talk to players and coaches

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Big crowds at the VELUX EHF FINAL4 media call

More than 300 media representatives are accredited for the VELUX EHF FINAL4 in Cologne – and most of them took the chances of the media call in the teams' hotel RadissonBLU one day prior to the start of the pinnacle event of the VELUX EHF Champions League on Friday.

All four participants of the FINAL4 were represented by key players, coaches and managers. And the amount of questions was huge. Due to the initially great sunny weather the journalists grabbed the opportunity to do most of the interviews outside in the courtyard of the hotel in a much more relaxed atmosphere.

The first team “on stage” was THW Kiel – and their coach Alfred Gislason constantly underlined the expectations: “I am here to enjoy the event. We have no pressure, we are the underdogs. We are here to have fun.”

Estonian right back Dener Jaanimaa was happy that “because of me the Estonian TV is here in Cologne.

Dominik Klein, who will say farewell to Kiel after this season and will leave to French side HBC Nantes, was impressed by the huge number of French journalists at the media call: “If only I could talk to them, but I only started learning French.”

French was the language for the second part of the media call, when Paris Saint-Germain arrived, and mainly Nikola Karabatic was in the focus of all journalists.

But also Daniel Narcisse had to give a lot of interviews. He already won the VELUX EHF FINAL4 with Kiel in the LANXESS arena – and thus the World, Olympic and EHF EURO champion is “absolutely happy to be back in Cologne. What could be bigger than this event: 20,000 fans and a great atmosphere in a brilliant arena. We will definitely enjoy the event.”

His coach Noka Serdarusic has a simple motto for the event: “I do not want to learn from defeats, I came to win. But I am definitely not sure whether we top the podium or not on Sunday.”

Meanwhile four-time EHF Champions League winner Thierry Omeyer expects “a completely equal tournament. We have reached nothing. If somebody says you are the favourite, you have to prove this role on court.”

In contrast to Omeyer, Kielce’s line player and semi-final opponent Julen Aguinagalde never won the trophy so far – but the Spaniard is confident: “I was each second ranked and third ranked twice, now I want to become number one – definitely I do not like to finish fourth for the first time.”

His teammate Tobias Reichmann, who had played for THW before, made the journalists smile, when he was asked on which floor his team is located in the hotel: “I don’t know exactly but definitely on top of Kiel.”

The final team to arrive at the media call was last years’ finalist MVM Veszprem. And right when the Hungarian side started their series of interviews the rain started to fall.

“Hopefully it is not a bad omen for us,” said Icelandic playmaker Aron Palmarsson who unveiled the secret that still he did not learn that much in Hungarian language.

“Only some words, this language is so tough”, he told EHF Live in an interview. And Timuszin Schuch was pleased to be again awarded best defender of the VELUX EHF Champions League in the All-star team fan vote: “This is a big motivation for me to make it to the final again like last year.”

TEXT: Björn Pazen / br