THW Kiel is refreshed and without supports

AOn the official team photo, the two smile just as happily as most of their colleagues. Sander Sagosen, number five, and Hendrik Pekeler, number 61. But if the German handball record champion THW Kiel starts the season next Wednesday, the two supports will be missing.

Because the Kielers paid dearly for the famous final sprint in the 2021/22 season by winning the DHB Cup and reaching the Champions League finals in Cologne: First the defense chief tore himself pekeler in May the Achilles tendon, then backcourt ace Sagosen seriously injured his syndesmosis ligament. The next setback came during the summer break when he had to undergo another operation on his malady ankle.

The shell only “borrowed”

This year, the two Kiel regulars will hardly be used, which of course hurts a lot, as coach Filip Jicha says: “It’s a big challenge for everyone, because the two are missing in everyday life. Now everyone has to work so that we can achieve our goals.” Even if the absence of the Kiel support team leads some experts to name SC Magdeburg, Füchse Berlin or even SG Flensburg-Handewitt as favorites for the championship title after their weak season, the THW sticks to its usual high goals.

Both Final Fours should be reached, in the Bundesliga the repeated qualification for the Champions League is at the top of the list of priorities, said the managing director Viktor Szilagyi at the traditional season opening press conference in the Baltic Sea resort of Damp in Schleswig-Holstein. The highest bid remains the championship. “The SCM has earned the shell on loan until June 2023,” said Jicha with a smile, “they played an outstanding season, without ifs and buts. We like to hunt – even without Sander and Peke. We also want to chase consistency. We want to get on the wave.”

For THW, the 2022/23 series starts on Wednesday with the Supercup in Düsseldorf against Magdeburg. The first home game against TVB Stuttgart follows on September 4th. Jicha and Szilagyi have not been idle. The 23-year-old Swedish backcourt player Karl Wallinius was recently signed. It had long been clear that Eric Johansson would move to Kiel, a talented Swede and a classic THW transfer. Circle player Petter Överby is already a seasoned Bundesliga player at the age of 30. In goal, Tomas Mrkva replaces Dario Quenstedt, who has moved to Hanover Nicholas Landins.

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