AWhen the Champions League winners of the THW Kiel touched down in the dead of night at 2.40 a.m., the German record champions were greeted by a reception committee with flashing lights and sirens. After a boozy flight home from Cologne, the north guard of the Kiel fire brigade gave the THW return a glamorous setting. Above the clouds, the stars around Sander Sagosen had previously sung loudly about the storming of Europe’s handball throne.
The big party did not materialize in view of the corona pandemic. “I have no idea what is allowed,” said the strong THW keeper Niklas Landin after the 33:28 (19:16) coup against FC Barcelona, which crowned the Kielers with a crazy year. For the fourth time, but this time completely unexpected, the THW triumphed in the premier class. “I can’t find any words, I’m so emotional,” enthused coach Filip Jicha.
For the first time in six years, a Bundesliga team celebrated in the most important European club competition. The fact that no spectators were able to follow Kiel’s brilliant performances in Cologne’s Lanxess Arena clouded the joy a little. “Unfortunately, something is missing”, said world handball player Landin, who was the outstanding support of the THW in the final of the late final tournament of the 2019/20 season.
“The whole league is happy about it”
At home and in the rest of handball Germany, there was one congratulation to the others. Schleswig-Holstein’s Prime Minister Daniel Günther (CDU) was delighted “like Bolle about the success” and spoke of a title that was “more than deserved”. Frank Bohmann went into raptures after “two great games” of the THW and emphasized the importance of the success: “The entire league is happy about it,” said the HBL boss to the SID.
The handball scene should also have been very impressed. Because the weakened replacement Kiel fought, it burned – and pulled the favored opponent with a strong cover and thanks to goalkeeper Landin the tooth. At the front, the highly motivated exceptional player Sagosen took over responsibility as he did in the semi-final thriller against Veszprem HC on Saturday. It paid off.
On the return journey, Sagosen was given the task of guarding the “arm with the golden ball”, the trophy of the premier class. “I dreamed of the gold medal that went with it when I was five years old,” he said.
However, the triumph was also the work of the coach. Filip Jicha, who won the Champions League with Kiel as a player in 2010 and 2012 under the current national coach Alfred Gislason, celebrated the greatest success of his young coaching career. The Czech is the first handball player to triumph as a player and coach for a club on Europe’s largest stage.
“It feels incredible, we’ve made history,” enthused the 38-year-old. In the previous year he had taken over the coaching position at the zebras from his mentor Gislason – after the “Corona title” in the Bundesliga, he was now continuing its success story in the premier class.
That also earned respect from a former national coach. “I have high hopes for Filip Jicha, who was an outstanding player and has a very good character,” praised former DHB coach Heiner Brand at Sky. “What Kiel achieved in the two days in“ Final4 ”was extraordinary. That only works if the relationship between player and coach is right. “