10 years of EHF FINAL4 “super fans”Article
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FEATURE: In 2010, four French handball fans made their first trip to the VELUX EHF FINAL4 in Cologne. 10 editions later, they are still here.

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10 years of EHF FINAL4 “super fans”

Meet the VELUX EHF FINAL4 super fans: Kevin, his brother Nelson, and their two friends Luc and Guillaume, all from France. The four are huge supporters of handball and probably quite a familiar sight for a few visitors who have been in attendance in Cologne.

Why? Because they are reasonably easy to spot. The four usually wear sailor costumes, cheer loudly for the teams and never forget their mums back home. Whenever they are away for Mother’s Day, they bring a sign saying “Bonne fête maman”, clearly visible in LANXESS arena.  

This happened quite frequently in the past decade, as Mother’s Day in France always falls on the last Sunday in May – and with the four of them attending every VELUX EHF FINAL4 since 2010, they have rarely spent the day at home.

The fact that they visited all editions of the event in Cologne, including the current one, earned them the title “super fans” and they were honoured at half-time of the semi-final Telekom Veszprém HC versus PGE Vive Kielce. Furthermore, they received VIP upgrades after showing evidence of all their visits to Cologne with photos and tickets of the respective years.

The super fans have memories galore from the EHF FINAL4. “We remember [SG Flensburg-Handewitt goalkeeper] Mattias Andersson on fire in 2014. After they eliminated Barcelona in the semi-finals through penalties, he played a memorable final with about 20 saves against Kiel,” says Kevin Karcher.

“Number two – we’re French, so let’s be a little chauvinistic: The ‘French FINAL4’ last year, with three French teams and the second European title for Montpellier after 2003. During the semi-final we sat next to hundreds of Vardar supporters. What an amazing atmosphere,” he continues.

“And perhaps the best: The ‘Remontada’ in the 2016 final. We were ready to fall asleep in front of a one-sided game. Veszprém were leading by nine goals in the 45th minute, then Kielce went for a 9:0 run in the last 15 minutes to go into extra time and win the title. LANXESS arena was delirious after every goal from Kielce.

“That’s for the game. Obviously there is an incredible atmosphere at the FINAL4. The groups of fans are crazy. I remember a red wave of Veszprém supporters singing in cathedral square in 2016. It was intense​,” Karcher concludes.


TEXT: Courtney Gahan/jh
 
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