17.11.2022  LIQUI MOLY HBL

What German national team coach Alfred Gislason expects from the top match Magdeburg vs. Kiel

Champions vs cup winners, both German EHF Champions League participants in a direct duel: On Saturday (18:00 CET) the giant duel of the LIQUI MOLY-HBL is set. And who else, as national coach Alfred Gislason, could look ahead to this game better. The Icelander led both SCM (2002) and THW (2010, 2012) to Champions League victory, THW to six German championships and Magdeburg once (2001), and also won the DHB Cup six times with Kiel.

Alfred Gislason on….

his relationship to both clubs: I still have very close contacts to Magdeburg and Kiel.

the significance of the duel: Even though we're still in the first third of the season, the direct encounter obviously counts in the end. And that's why the points on Saturday count double and the game is extremely important for both sides. At SCM, you can now also feel the strain of the Champions League, for example because their most important player Omar Ingi Magnisson is injured. So there's a lot of pressure on Gisli Kristjansson.

Gisli Kristjansson, whom he brought to Kiel and who has been playing for SCM since 2020:

He is currently playing an outstanding season, but already last year he was one of the most important SCM players on the way to the championship. Because of the way he plays, you sometimes have to worry about him, he always goes full throttle in every duel. But it is amazing how he came back from his shoulder injuries.

the favourite role on Saturday:

At home, SC Magdeburg are favourites against every team, but if you look back to the German cup final, THW did very well back then, thanks to the defence and thanks to Niklas Landin. But because of the home advantage, the SCM are slight favourites, though I expect an even game.

the start of the LIQUI MOLY HBL season so far:

 It's a very broad head-to-head race at the top, with significantly more title contenders than in previous years. The top has really gotten wider. Füchse Berlin, as leaders of the table, have a much stronger squad than last year, Magdeburg is at least play as strong as in the last season, when they took the trophy.

Kiel actually didn't start worse than expected, given the many injury problems and without Hendrik Pekeler and Sandor Sagosen. Rhein-Neckar Löwen got off to a great start under Sebastian Hinze and are also among the favouurites. Flensburg are currently very unlucky with injuries, but Melsungen has made good progress in recent weeks with a great series.

the chances of Magdeburg and Kiel in the EHF Champions League:

I very much hope that both teams will take part in the EHF FINAL4 in Cologne, they can both make it, although the way to Cologne is of course very difficult given the strong competitors. I think that things will look different again when THW can come out again with the full squad, with Pekeler and Sagosen, from spring. Then Kiel are even one of the favorites for the title, but it won't be easy until then.

SCM is just realizing that there are different opponents in the Champions League compared to the European League and that the burden of the Champions League is very high, but they still have good chances for Cologne. But as always, the Bundesliga clubs have disadvantages compared to other contenders, because while they don't have league matches between the knockout games, Kiel and Magdeburg have to do so in the HBL. So at the end of the day, you also need a bit of luck to make it to Cologne.

Photos: Klahn