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17.02.2017, 17:30◄ last page     


INTERVIEW: In his last season in charge of the club, Flensburg coach Ljubomir Vranjes talks to ehfCL.com about his tactics against PSG and how to manage the balance between recovery and tension.
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Vranjes' success recipe: "Release the flock and let it run"

Mathematically SG Flensburg-Handewitt still can finish on top of Group A in the VELUX EHF Champions League, but they will have to beat Paris Saint-Germain on Saturday (17:30 hrs local time).

SG coach Ljubomir Vranjes, who will join their group opponents Veszprém and the Hungarian national team this summer, gives an exclusive insight view of how his team prepare, why Flensburg are that strong and how the team have reacted to his decision to leave the 2014 VELUX EHF Champions League winners after 11 years as a player, sports director and coach.

ehfCL.com: Flensburg beat Kiel in the Bundesliga and won at Plock in a dominant way: The restart after the World Championship could not have been better, right?

Ljubomir Vranjes: We always assume to start well into the second part of the season. We give all to win, but you can never be sure that it happens like now with three victories after the break.

ehfCL.com: Though key players like Tobias Karlsson and Johan Jakobsson are missing, what makes Flensburg that strong at the moment?

Ljubomir Vranjes: We do not build our team on individual players but on unity, so that each player can replace everybody. We do not talk about injured players but we trust those, who will be on court. It is a quite simple system.

ehfCL.com: As PSG is your opponent on Saturday, you only have to show the video of the 37:32 win from last year. Sounds like an easy preparation, or was it different?

Ljubomir Vranjes: No, I did not show the video of this match as the circumstances were completely different that time. It was right at the start of the season, now it is February. Two completely different teams were on court compared to tomorrow. I live and I work here and now, not in the past.

ehfCL.com: Do you have to motivate the players for the duel with PSG or do you have to inhibit them?

Ljubomir Vranjes: I never would inhibit or stop anybody! Allegorical, I simply release the flock and let it run. In a group match against PSG there is no danger that the players get overheated.

ehfCL.com: Looking at the PSG squad: Which particular player need to be stopped, or all of them?

Ljubomir Vranjes: By looking at their squad it is really hard to focus on one player and even some players. The squad is really wide and much too strong.

ehfCL.com: Mathematically Flensburg still can become winner of Group A. Do you still count on this miracle?

Ljubomir Vranjes: First we will try to beat Paris, as we always try to give all we can. But from a realistic point of view, to top the group at the end is quite far away.

ehfCL.com: Last season, one single goal against eventual champions Kielce was missing to make it to Cologne. How do you rate the chances this season to go all the way?

Ljubomir Vranjes: I rate our chances in the same way as one year ago. We love knockout matches and we are good in playing them, regardless the opponent. We all want to make it to Cologne but before that, there is a group phase, the Last 16 and maybe the quarter-finals. I estimate the chances not that bad for our second ever participation at the VELUX EHF FINAL4.

ehfCL.com: German league, German cup, Champions League: How do you manage the balance between recovery and tension for your players?

Ljubomir Vranjes: This is not easy to explain. For a German club it is extremely hard to find this balance. It is not the number of matches, but the long travels by bus or plane where it is really hard to recover. We try to find and optimize the perfect timing of travel, nutriment and sleep to care for enough time to recover. This is what we focus on.

ehfCL.com: How did the players and the rest of the club react when you announced your decision to leave Flensburg?

Ljubomir Vranjes: The players have congratulated me. In the upcoming months, we still have a lot of common goals and therefore we work together. I have not paid much attention to the surroundings but all private chats have been very positive and everybody can understand my decision.


TEXT: Björn Pazen / ew

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