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Quotes from the EHF Finals Men 2022

EHF Logo 100 European Handball Federation

Media covering the EHF Finals Men 2022 on 28/29 May in Altice Arena in Lisbon can find quotes from players and coaches during the event in Lisbon below.

Sunday 29 May

 

- final: SL Benfica (POR) vs SC Magdeburg (GER) 40:39 aet (32:32, 15:14)

Mixed zone / press conference SL Benfica

Chema Rodriguez, head coach: 

On winning the trophy in the final against Magdeburg:

"It was already amazing for us to play a final against one of the best teams in the world, now we even won this final. We had a lot of luck in some moments. This is an important day for handball in Benfica and Portugal, it is the club’s 90-year anniversary, so this is an amazing trophy for 90 years, after an incredible match."

Petar Nenadic, left back and top scorer of the EHF European League Men 2021/22: 

On winning the title:

"It is hard to say something, I am speechless and full of emotions after such a game. I am the third year at Benfica, to see this big arena, to see the fans, to see our team fighting, this is handball. I am so proud of everyone in the team, all players, staff. We are a really big family this year, we deserve this title. It was not easy, as we played against unbelievable teams. Thanks for the support, it was an incredible happy end."

Sergey Hernandez, goalkeeper and MVP of the EHF Finals Men 2022:

On the final against Magdeburg:

“This was by far the craziest match in my whole life. The way we finished the regular playing time with the goal of Alexis Borges, then the extra time, everything was crazy and amazing. We never expected this, but we have to say thank you to our incredible fans."

On winning the trophy:

"This is simply unbelievable, I have no words. We all have dreamt of a weekend like this after such a long season. It was our objective to go all the way to the EHF Finals, and once we were here, we knew everything could happen. It is all about two matches, and every team had the same chances to win.”

 

Mixed zone / press conference SC Magdeburg 

Bennet Wiegert, head coach:

On losing the final against Benfica:

"I am lost for words, it is really difficult to find the right words after this big fight of my team. Maybe we missed too many shots to win, but it is a final. We are very unhappy now, we have to fight for the next title. And for Chema and his team: Have a nice party, Benfica!"

Ómar Ingi Magnússon, right back:

On the final against Benfica:

"Benfica played very well, we have big respect for them. It was tough for us, we fought the whole game and gave our best, we gave it all, but we lost."

Jannick Green, goalkeeper:

On losing the final in extra time:

"It was really, really bitter for us. It was a close match throughout the whole 60 minutes. Little things decided, and we thought we had won the match after 60 minutes. But it was not the case. Benfica played really well, and our defence and goalkeepers did not have their best day. Mainly Benfica’s huge line players caused problems for us."

 

- third place match: Orlen Wisla Plock (POL) vs RK Nexe (CRO) 27:22 (14:13)

Mixed zone / press conference Orlen Wisla Plock

Xavier Sabate, head coach:

On the match against Nexe:

"It was really difficult to play this match. Plock and Nexe had three crucial matches in one week, and you could see that the players were tired. They are humans, no machines, this is what we always need to have in mind, this is dangerous. We had one training to prepare for this tournament. It was tough for us to play today, after yesterday’s disappointment. But today I must congratulate all of my players for their commitment and their fighting spirit. And I hope that we have some more time to recover before we play the Polish cup final next weekend."

On finishing in third place:

"Last year, we finished fourth, now we have improved, and everybody knows how hard it is to qualify for the final tournament, but it is even harder to repeat this success, which we have done."

Tin Lucin, left back:

On the win against Nexe:

"After a long season for all teams, we did a good job today, like Nexe did. They have really improved in the last two, three years."

Lovro Mihic, left wing: 

On the match against Nexe:

"It was hard to play Nexe, as they ran and rotated a lot, but we had to keep up this speed. In the end we made it, but it was not easy to play two matches in a row. We had one black hole at the end of the first half, and in the dressing room our coach told us we need to run, so we ran, this was the key. It was important to come back and to win this match."

 

Mixed zone / press conference RK Nexe 

Albin Eter, assistant coach:

On the match against Plock: 

"It was a tough match for us, but in general we did what we could do at the EHF Finals. In some situations we could have played better, but we are so proud of being the first Croatian team at a final tournament. We were really happy to be here, and I am sure we left a good impression. Next season, we try to return to the EHF Finals." 

Halil Jaganjac, left back: 

On his last match for Nexe:

"Of course, it was an emotional match for me, as it was my last one for Nexe. We have played a great season and finally made the biggest success in the club’s history to arrive at the EHF Finals. It was obviously tough for both teams, having the third match in one week. The most important fact is that everybody is healthy."

On playing the EHF Finals:

"I am proud to play this weekend with the giants of European handball – and I really hope that Nexe can repeat this success. I have to say thank you to everybody at this club who helped me in the last four years. I hope to see Nexe again in future."

 

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Saturday 28 May

 

- Semi-final 2: Orlen Wisla Plock (POL) vs SL Benfica (POR) 19:26 (8:10)

Mixed zone / press conference SL Benfica

Chema Rodriguez, head coach: 

On the win in the semi-final against Plock:

“Plock played a tough match on Tuesday and only had one day to prepare, this was the difference: We had one week to prepare. I am so happy for my team, our dream came true to make it to the final, we still can win this trophy. We came from qualification and now we are still part of the final day. My players give 100 percent, not only today, but every day. And our team is like a family.” 

On the chances in the final against Magdeburg: 

“Magdeburg are an amazing team, they have amazing players and an amazing coach, and they are number one in the best league of the world. But with our fans we want to make a miracle tomorrow. We try everything.” 

Ole Rahmel, left wing: 

On making it to the final: 

“We came from the first round of qualification and made it to the final, our dream came true. We had a lot of respect for Plock, but we gave all we could and we won.” 

On the keys for success: 

“Definitely we won the duel of the goalkeepers by far; combined with our defence, this was the key to success. Sergey Hernandez made an outstanding job today, and our middle block with our 'buffalos' Rogerio Moraes and Alexis Borges swept away all attacks.”

On Benfica's chances against Magdeburg: 

“They are the big, big favourites, but we have the big chance to make history for our club. We have already played against two German teams this season, and I hope that, as a German, I can help the coaches to prepare on Magdeburg, as I know all their players quite well. After winning the EHF Cup with Kiel in 2019, I have the chance to win another trophy, which is amazing. We have nothing to lose tomorrow, and we hope for our fans. We want to stop Magdeburg, and we can have a chance, if they are not on 100 percent.” 

Rogerio Moraes, line player: 

On his defence play in the semi-final against Plock: 

“I improved my defence play when I was in Veszprém, but I learnt even more since Chema (Rodriguez) is my coach. Our defence works well throughout the whole season, and especially today.”

On the semi-final result against Plock: 

“Nobody could expect a result like this, not even the most optimistic Benfica fans. We had a tough season, first of all we passed the group, then we played every knockout match as if it was the last one. This was the key to make it to the final.”

On knowing how to win a trophy (with Vardar in the EHF Champions League):  

“It is the first such final tournament for most of our young players, but others like Jonas Källman, Alexis Borges, Petar Djordjic, or me, have played finals and won trophies and can tell the younger players how it feels to play a final or to win the trophy. We made a huge step, but we are not the favourites, though we have the advantage of having our supporters here.” 

Jonas Källman, left wing: 

On making it to the final: 

“It was our dream to come to the EHF Finals and now even to the final, we knew that it would be really difficult and very hard. There are so many really good teams in this competition this season. So I am very satisfied to make it to the final. We have a 50:50 chance, Magdeburg play amazing this season, they are the favourites a little bit more.”

On winning the EHF Champions League in 2008 and 2009 against a German team (THW Kiel) in the final: 

“I have this experience, and I hope that tomorrow, I will experience it again.”

 

Mixed zone / press conference Orlen Wisla Plock

Xavier Sabaté, head coach: 

On the defeat in the semi-final against Benfica:

"No question about the better team today. This was the worst match I have seen of my team since I became coach here four years ago. No words against the team, I am the head coach and I take full responsibility. And there is no excuse for this match, like that we had the match against Kielce this week or that we only had one day to prepare. Our game and our attitude were not good enough today. Our goalkeepers saved four shots, Benfica’s goalkeeper 16 shots; we scored 10 goals from 34 shots in position attack. That says it all. You can lose, but you cannot play like this." 

On the 3/4 placement match against Nexe on Sunday:

"We wanted to make it to the finals, now we aim to win on Sunday and improve our position compared to last year. We hope to be better."

Zoltan Szita, left back: 

On the defeat against Benfica and Sunday's match against Nexe:

"We made too many mistakes today, but we hope that we can prove that we belong here tomorrow. We are not the type of team which we were today.

 

- Semi-final 1: SC Magdeburg (GER) vs RK Nexe (CRO) 34:29 (18:13)

Mixed zone / press conference SC Magdeburg 

Bennet Wiegert, head coach:

On the win against Nexe:

"We are really happy to be in the final again, this is not anything normal for us, but still something special. I am very proud of my team after a tough match, which was not easy to win. Nexe fought until the end. Maybe the bigger number of options to rotate and save energy were the keys for the victory."

On the preparation for final on Sunday: 

"I will immediately focus on the second semi-final to find the right tactics either against Plock or Benfica. It is important to get a fast regeneration of all players, as we will need all of them tomorrow."

Matthias Musche, left wing and top scorer: 

On the match: 

"It was a deserved victory, but it was really hard to beat Nexe. I do not know what were the keys to win, definitely not our defence, as we were not happy with it today. Nexe played really strong, and we had three tough matches against them this season, none of them with a clear result. Every time we needed to give 100 percent to win. Today, they never gave up."

On the preparation of the final: 

"I am really looking forward to watch the UEFA Champions League final tonight, then we will analyse our opponent, and just start the day with huge anticipation for our final."

Philipp Weber, centre back: 

On the match: 

"It was a short period when we were shaken, in the rest of the match we played on a constant high level and took a deserved victory. We have beaten them twice before, but it is always hard to play against Nexe, so we are really happy that we have made it." 

On the keys of success: 

"The width of our squad is our major advantage in the whole season, and again today. Everybody gave his part to this success, this was crucial, it worked well. Now we have to make the final step tomorrow. It is never normal to play a final, this is always something special. We need to recover and to prepare in the best way."

 

Mixed zone / press conference RK Nexe 

Branko Tamse, head coach: 

On the defeat against Magdeburg: 

"SCM did a great job today and in the whole season, both in the European League and in the German Bundesliga, so I really hope they will win the titles. We played too bad today, caused too many mistakes in attack and lost too many balls, so Magdeburg could score many easy goals. But we never gave up, what makes me proud."

On tomorrow’s placement match: 

"It is not tough to motivate my players for this match, as we can fight for the third position, and we will give all we can."

Janko Kevic, centre back:

On the match: 

"We had problems in the first half, as we made too many mistakes and missed too many shots. But even when we were down by five goals at the break, we never gave up and showed what we are able of, but the gap was too big."

Halil Jaganjac, left back and top scorer: 

On his performance and the match: 

“It is more important for me to win a match than to be the top scorer. But we had a really tough opponent, one of the three best teams in the world, they beat Barcelona in the Super Globe final, they will become champions of the German Bundesliga, in my opinion, they are clear favourites to win the final tomorrow, no matter, who is the opponent. We gave all we can, it was a very competitive, open game. We are a small club from a small town, and making it here is already a huge success for us. Our only problem was the period, when we were down by two goals, then we made some stupid mistakes, throwing the balls away, which Magdeburg used to get ahead."

 

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Friday 27 May

Media call SC Magdeburg

Bennet Wiegert, head coach:

On the chances to defend the title:

"Any team, which came here, wants to win the trophy. All four teams can win this title. We will have a difficult match against Nexe ahead, we had some difficulties in travelling. We have beaten Nexe twice in the group phase, but tomorrow’s match will be totally different, it is neither played at Magdeburg, nor at Nasice. We have the advantage that we know how to beat them, but it is also dangerous to underestimate them. We need to perform on top level to make it to the final."

On the depth of Magdeburg’s squad:

"Fortunately, all our 16 players are fit, we have all options, and we will need all 16 players to be successful, having two matches within 24 hours. We are a team, we do not have to count on one top star.”

On having the great chance to become German champions next week in their minds:

"We do it step by step, the full focus is on the EHF Finals this weekend, next Thursday we want to take the first match ball to win the Bundesliga trophy. But we are not thinking about that in Lisbon.”

Christian O’Sullivan, centre back:

On the chances in the semi-final against Nexe and to defend the title:

“We came here to win the trophy, but the other teams want to do the same. We know Nexe well, we played them very often, we have beaten them twice this season. But I was really impressed, how they beat GOG in the quarter-finals, they play a great handball and they have great players. We have to watch out.”

On the second semi-final Plock vs Benfica:

“On neutral ground, I would say Plock are the favourites, but Benfica are the hosts and have the fans as support.”

Media call RK Nexe

Branko Tamse, head coach:

On the chances in the semi-final against defending champions SC Magdeburg:

“Magdeburg are the favourites for this tournament, but you never know what happens at final tournaments. We start at zero, we play 60 minutes, and I hope that we can surprise Magdeburg, though we have lost both group matches against them.

On the impact of their fans and the meaning for Nasice:

“100 fans accompanied us in the charter plane and will cheer for us, like they have done all the season. Nasice is a city with 8,000 inhabitants, we are so proud that we made it, this is a big success for Croatian handball. This is unbelievable that we are here.”

Fahrudin Melic, right wing:

On the chances against Magdeburg:

“Magdeburg have to prove their favourites' role on the court on Saturday, we will do everything to cause a surprise. When you look at the history of final tournaments, not always the best teams were the winners in the end. We have our chance.”

On the importance of Halil Jaganjac:

“Of course, Halil is our top player and we depend a lot on him, but we have many other players who can score. Mainly we have to focus on our defence and counter attack goals.”

 

Media call Orlen Wisla Plock

Xavier Sabate, head coach:

On the duel with Chema Rodriguez, who played under Sabate as coach at Veszprém in the past:

“It is always nice that you face so many former players, and in this case, it is really special after five years in Veszprem. I have a really good relationship with him – but on the court you are no friends anymore, of course.”

On the fact that both coaches know each other very well:

“We need to find some little surprises for the crucial moments, as little things will decide, which team goes to the final. Benfica and us have many experienced players, so I really expect a close match, especially as they play at home. Everything can happen here, as four great teams made it here.”

On a special penalty training after missing some penalties against Kielce on Tuesday:

“Except this match, we were very successful on penalties, so we focused on other things in our Friday training.”

Mirsad Tersic, left back:

On the duel with his former Veszprm roommate Chema Rodriguez:

“It is always special to see him and share some words about life and handball.”

On playing in the Altice Arena:

“This is a great, huge arena, no doubt that we will have a crazy atmosphere tomorrow.  I hope for many fans – and that we finally have a successful journey.

On the impact of losing the last league match in Poland against Kielce on Tuesday after penalty shootout:

“It was hard, but we are proud of our game and the whole season. We did not lose a single game in the second part of the season. It is not a shame to lose against a top team like Kielce. We are sad, but we fight for the next chance to win a trophy here.”

 

Media call SL Benfica

Chema Rodriguez, head coach:

On the special situation to face his former coach Xavier Sabate:

“Javier knows me, I know him, both teams almost play the same style, there is not much room for surprises.

On the favourites' role:

“Wisla count on two strong players on each position, all with a huge international experience, they know how to play those matches, they have a strong team, it will be difficult to defend them and to attack, we try to make our best with our fans here.”

Sergey Hernandez, goalkeeper:

On the semi-final against Plock:

“I expect a very even game. Both sides have great teams and great coaches, both have a similar style of playing. I am sure, small things will decide. The match will be open until the very end,  not decided after 45 minutes.”

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