Dahmke sets his hopes in team spirit and a white wall

EHF / Björn Pazen

His girlfriend Stine Oftedal already has her ticket, now Rune Dahmke hopes to follow suit and reach the EHF FINAL4.

“We have no internal competition, but of course, we both cross the fingers for each other to be part of the final event of the EHF Champions League,” Dahmke tells eurohandball.com.

Stine Oftedal made it to Budapest by winning the quarter-finals against Brest Bretagne with her Hungarian club Györi AUDI ETO KC and now it is Rune Dahmke’s turn to take the final step to Cologne for the highlight weekend of the men’s competition.

On Thursday at 20:45 CEST, live on EHFTV, THW Kiel face Paris Saint-Germain in the second leg of the quarter-finals - the final Match of the Week prior to Cologne. After the 30:30 draw last week in Paris, the only Kiel-born player in the THW squad hopes for “the white wall” of fans to push them over the line and to the LANXESS arena.

“We expect more than 10,000 fans and we know that they all come to cheer for us to support us on our way to the EHF FINAL4.

“We want to make them happy - for the city, for the club, for the team. When this ship horn is blowing for the start of the team presentation, we are all excited and on a high and I hope we all know what to do.”

Kiel Montpellier KLAHN 23.02.22 413324A

For Dahmke, the draw is “a good base, but also a dangerous result. We start at 0:0 again, it is like a final. From the psychological point of view, we know that we need to win to proceed and against teams like Paris you always have to be aware.”

In terms of tactics, the left wing promises “one or two surprises from our side. We have talked about some details, which we want to change compared to last week, and our coach Filip Jicha had some really good ideas. But before a match, you never know if it all works.”

Focus on the here and now

Last season, PSG were THW’s stumbling block in the Champions League quarter-finals, Kiel had won the first leg on home ground 31:29, but lost 34:28 in Paris.

“The teams are almost identical, so there is definitely a thought about revenge in our team, but the main focus is on the here and now,” says Dahmke, who won the EHF Champions League with Kiel in 2020 - in a very special event.

“Due to Covid, no spectators were allowed. When we stood on the podium, we all agreed: we have to come back here with our fans when this is possible again. And now this is a great motivation for all of us. Cologne is the Mecca of club handball events, everybody wants to go there, to play for 20,000 spectators is simply incredible.”

One of PSG’s players Kiel will have to focus on most on Thursday is their centre back Luc Steins. Rune Dahmke is fully impressed by the development of the Dutch playmaker.

“Two, three years ago, only insiders knew him, now he is PSG’s driving force in attack. The way he plays is amazing, especially one-against-one against much taller players and he is so quick. We knew that we have to have more than one eye on Luc Steins.”

But who will be Kiel’s potential match-winners on Thursday?

“Maybe our usual suspects. But in the end, it does not matter. It is all about the team and the final result.”

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