In the first conference rain of the new season, andy schmid drew new courage for the upcoming title fight. Accompanied by the cheers of his teammates honking in the background, the captain of the rhein-neckar lowen accepted the handball supercup with a broad smile.
"It’s nice to start like this. It was a real pointer," commented the outstanding swiss playmaker on the cup winners’ clear 33:26 (18:16) victory over champions SG flensburg-handewitt.
Before the start of the lowen in the 53. Bundesliga season with the game against TBV lemgo on sunday, the mannheimers underpinned their claim to the championship title in front of a good 8000 spectators in dusseldorf. Especially the second one satisfied all the parties involved. National player patrick groetzki made no bones about his pride at winning a hat-trick of titles in the competition, which has been held since 1994: "we are the first team to have won the supercup three times in a row. You have to get there first." With a firm look, the auben added: "that we want to have a say right at the front is clear."
The trauma of last season, when the team that had been leading for a long time ran out of steam on the home straight and its northern rival still managed to pass, seems to have been overcome. Rough is the confidence of oliver roggisch that the abgange were adequately replaced by zugange like jannik kohlbacher (wetzlar) and steffen fath (berlin). "We bring a certain experience with us. The first seven in the attack has stayed together so far – except for newcomers fath and kohlbacher," said the sporting director.
The fact that, according to the "mannheimer morgen", the lowen are also close to extending the contract with 34-year-old head coach schmid until 2021 or 2022 can be seen as a further indication of the preservation of established structures.
These conditions are one reason why the lowen are considered by most bundesliga coaches to be the top favorites along with THW kiel. To the chagrin of coach nikolaj jacobsen: "even if everyone now says we are the rough favorites with THW kiel. You can see we still have a lot of work to do. We are on a good way. But it will still take time, even if everyone else does not believe it."
It is one of the peculiarities of the new season that the reigning champions from flensburg are not considered by most experts to be among the title contenders. For this reason, the bloodletting of key players appears to be too severe. Much will depend on how quickly coach maik machulla succeeds in integrating the six newcomers. The unequivocal championship vote of his fellow coaches, not one of whom was committed to the flensburg team, prompted a laughed comment from him: "that speaks for the coaching competence we have in the bundesliga."
Veteran holger glandorf, 2007 world champion, has little use for such predictions anyway. His statement sounded like a declaration of war on the highly traded teams: "we don’t mind if others take on the role of favorites. Last year we came from behind as well."