Woltering back at her “second home” Podgorica

MAL7445 V EHF / Björn Pazen

She is back in Podgorica, back in the city where she had her biggest successes on club level. But back with a different mission. Clara Woltering, now 39, played for Buducnost for four seasons and the German goalkeeper became a legend as part of the club’s golden team. Now she is back in Montenegro for the Women's EHF EURO 2022, as goalkeeper coach of Germany.

Even at border control at the Podgorica airport, she was recognized by the customs officer.

“Montenegro is still something like a second home for me. On the first days in the team hotel or in the arena, so many people came to me to say ‘hello’ and ask me how I feel,” says Woltering, the goalkeeper coach of Germany.

“This is crazy, how many people still know me here and how many are still part of this great handball family. Even players I never played with, hugged me.”

Right in her first season, in 2011/12, she won the EHF Champions League with Buducnost in a thrilling two-leg final against Györ, crowned in the Moraca Arena in the Montenegrin capital, where the EHF EURO 2022 matches are currently being played.

Three years later, Woltering steered Buducnost to their second EHF Champions League trophy at the EHF FINAL 4 in Budapest – and was awarded MVP of the tournament. It was her last match for Buducnost. But the contact to Montenegro, to Buducnost, and to her former teammates has always remained close.

With 40 games at eight consecutive final tournaments from 2004-16, Clara Woltering is the German player with the biggest number of EHF EURO matches – ahead of other big names such as Grit Jurack, Anja Althaus or Nadine Krause.

20221107 GER Woltering Quote
This is crazy, how many people still know me in Montenegro and how many are still part of this great handball family. Even players I never played with, hugged me.
Clara Woltering
Germany goalkeeper coach

Also, current Montenegro coach Bojana Popovic is a close friend of Woltering’s.

“We call each other quite often, and though we have not seen each other for a long time, the meeting with her was just like we had not seen us for just one day ago,” Woltering says.

“She backed me when I came to Podgorica, and Bojana is truly a brilliant sportswoman and a great personality.”

In 2015, when Woltering returned to Germany, she went back to regular business besides handball: the family farm. Woltering is agricultural engineer, overseeing 250 bulls, 40,000 chicken and 50 acres of land.

“Today, our farm is the focal point of my life, but still there is my passion for handball. This sport is like a virus for me – once you are infected, you never lose it again,” she says.

After finishing her playing career at Borussia Dortmund, she became goalkeeper coach of that club. Now, alongside Swedish and THW Kiel legend Mattias Andersson, she takes care of the women’s national team.

“Though the number of players who were my teammates at Buducnost is quite low now, I still follow the matches of the club and the national team. Therefore, I hope, I can help our – currently really strong – goalkeepers in the duel against the EHF EURO hosts,” Woltering says in the build-up to the match on Monday (18:00 CET, live on EHFTV) in the Moraca Arena.

In their respective openers, Montenegro clearly beat Spain 30:23, while Germany were lucky to come out on top against Poland, 25:23.

“I am sure the arena will be fully packed like it was on Saturday. This was an atmosphere like it was, when I played here. Emotions like those would be a benefit for all players of both teams.”

But will two hearts beat in her chest on Monday evening?

“No, definitely not. I am German, I am here with the German team, and I want to win. But of course, I will love to meet so many people I know in the arena.”

photos © Anze Malovrh / kolektiff

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