Flash quotes: EHF FINAL4 Women 2024 final and placement match
EHF Champions League

Flash quotes: EHF FINAL4 Women 2024 final and placement match

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European Handball Federation

BUDAPEST - Comments from Györi Audi ETO KC head coach Per Johansson (SWE), right back Ana Gros (SLO), line player Kari Brattset Dale (NOR), right wing Viktória Gyori-Lukács (HUN) and goalkeeper Silje Solberg-Oesthassel (NOR), SG BBM Bietigheim head coach Jakob Vestergaard (DEN), left back Xenia Smits (GER), line players Sofia Hvenfelt (SWE) and Kaba Gassama (ESP), left wing Antje Döll and back Karolina Kudlacz-Gloc (POL) after Györi Audi ETO KC beat SG BBM Bietigheim 30:24 in the final; and from Team Esbjerg head coach Jesper Jensen (DEN), left backs Kristine Breistøl (NOR) and Michala Møller (DEN) and line player Kathrine Heindahl (NOR), and Metz Handball head coach Emmanuel Mayonnade (FRA) and goalkeeper Hatadou Sako (FRA) and centre back Alina Grijseels (GER) after Team Esbjerg beat Metz Handball 37:33 in the 3/4 placement match at the MVM Dome on Sunday.

Final: Györi Audi ETO KC vs SG BBM Bietigheim

Per Johansson (SWE) – head coach, Györi Audi ETO KC

On leading Györ to victory:
“Of course, this have been my most hectic two months in my life. I came directly from the qualification with Netherlands to Olympics to play Vipers, who was defending champions. We had those two games against them but then it was directly Ferencváros, Debrecen, Esbjerg then Bietigheim.

“Of course, I have had some training on big games with extreme pressure. I think this is what you want as a coach, what you dream of as a coach that you will be in a situation where you worked with amazing players, and you played the best players also in the world.

“I gave everything, I gave my heart. I gave everything because also for me it was a big chance to win something big together with a team that I have never experienced before. I have been in big clubs, but the atmosphere and the work ethic what I already to put in was amazing. This was two beautiful months.”

On the match:
“We face a team today who maybe have been the best team in the months with extremely good performance to Ikast and Odense and also, they totally kill Metz yesterday. Of course, we well prepared. It is a team with a lot of muscles, a lot of one against one attack, a lot of good players and very solid team on every positions.

“What I spoke to my girls is that we need to be ready for the hard attack and for the speed. This was our best, outstanding defence performance this short period I have been with the girls. We also followed up with Sandra Toft yesterday who was great and maybe deserved the chance, but I believe that Silje (Solberg) can do the same and she did the same. This was the key, and we could actually balance the game from early in the match.

“I am extremely happy because I think goalkeepers and defence can win titles. I think we showed this today and we put enormous hours on developing defence.”

On the opponents:
“Jakob (Vestergaard) is an experienced coach and also his team. Tremendous season for Jakob in his first season in Bietigheim and he bring them to the final. This is actually a better achievement than winning a trophy. This is amazing what he has done with this team.”

Ana Gros (SLO) - right back, Györi Audi ETO KC

On winning her first EHF Champions League title:
“Honestly, it’s crazy. All of the emotions, like not really realising it, but at the same time it’s just so amazing. It’s a big relief for all of us. We had a so hard season, many ups and downs, we had different challenges, also for myself, but at the end of the road, this is what we wanted. I’m so happy and proud of our team.”

On the match:
“We said before the game that we have to have an amazing defence because they are such physical players. Amazing players with good skills. And I think it worked so well. We were really aggressive on them from the beginning. We didn’t let them come through so easily.

“And of course, in attack, we were not stressing, we took great decisions. All in all, it was a good game from our side.”

On the season:
“We faced many challenges. It was not easy. We lost both domestic trophies. So it was not easy at all, but we knew we still had this one to win and we gave it all to the end.”

On their celebrations:
“I think we all have to go all in. No excuses.”

Kari Brattset Dale (NOR) – line player, Györi Audi ETO KC

On her emotions:
“I feel amazing, I can’t describe it.

“All the match we had a really strong tactics. We started to miss a little but it doesn’t matter because we controlled the whole way and I am just so happy for everyone. We had a strong defence tactics how we want to stop Bietigheim and we solved it really well. They struggled really to score goals and that was our goal.

“Now it’s time to celebrate. It’s going to be a good party.”

Viktória Gyori-Lukács (HUN) – right wing, Györi Audi ETO KC

On her emotions:
“I can’t describe what I feel now. First I smile, then cry, than smile again. I am extremely happy about the match. I have never felt such huge emotions like this.”

On the match:
“The only thing I can say about the match is that we won it. I think we concentrated very well through the whole match. We didn’t let Bietigheim control the game even for a minute. We had some ups and downs today as well but smaller ones than yesterday. So I am very very happy and we it’s time to celebrate.”

Silje Solberg-Oesthassel (NOR) – goalkeeper, Györi Audi ETO KC

On the win:
“I did not expect this. We had a really tough semi-final and today Bietigheim fought so hard. Even if you’re leading the whole game, we never stepped up big time. It was a tough game. We did what we talked about. I’m really happy that we are here with the gold.”

On her own performance:
“It doesn’t matter who starts (as a goalkeeper). It’s good that we can find our best in such important games.”

On their coach, Per Johansson:
“For many of us, he matters a lot. He came and he was very clear on what he wants, and it was really important. It was his honesty, also, even if it’s good or bad. I think it was one of the main things.”

Jakob Vestergaard (DEN) – head coach, SG BBM Bietigheim

On their opponents:
“They kicked our ass, to be honest. They were very very good, the best team in the world. We knew that and we knew that we need to be very clever about offence and defence, that they have an excellent team and they are very strong in every position.”

On the reason for defeat:
“We had a lot of problems in the first half with our defence and in general by making good chances and when we did make good chances, Silje (Solberg) was ignoring good in the goal so therefore we actually struggled a lot. Tried a little bit, changed a little bit but of course it’s more fun to win a final like this but we have to be honest.

On the weekend
“Amazing atmosphere really this weekend for us, this has been very exciting. We have a little bit experience of the EHF Champions League FINAL4 so of course we hope to come back.”

Xenia Smits (GER) - left back, SG BBM Bietigheim

On her emotions:
“Tomorrow, for sure, it will be a happy silver, now a very sad silver, of course.”

On the reason for defeat:
“We just have to say they were stronger today. We ran behind from the beginning. We did not make this moment that could have turned the game. We may had some chances, but we made a mistake and we missed. So you have never had the confidence going forward during the game. Hard to describe now immediately after the game, but it is like it is.”

On making history as the first German team to reach the EHF FINAL4 final:
“It was a long time ago that somebody took a beautiful medal like this home to Germany and home to the club. It never happened before for our club. Now also the officials were telling us that they are very proud of us and it’s OK, it’s fine, and tomorrow for us it will also be fine.

“But if I see on the other side, celebrating the gold, my sporting heart is burning already to start over again for the next season and try to come here again and maybe take this gold. So we will go all in next season again.”

On the season:
“Now I just find the word ’proud’ and maybe also happy and thankful that I can have this moment here, probably at the Olympics, in the championship, in this nice and beautiful club. A lot of words to describe all these feelings, but they are hard to find.”

Sofia Hvenfelt (SWE) – line player, SG BBM Bieitgheim

On her emotions:
“Right now, I am pretty disappointed. I think Györ is a really good team, and they played an amazing match today. So, I am a little disappointed we could not make it more even. At the same time, I am so proud of this team and we have been fighting the entire season. We are very happy with the silver but not right now.”

On the reason for the defeat:
“Our defence in the first half was not the same as it as been before. Györ is too good to use this. I think there was too big difference in the beginning today.”

Kaba Gassama (ESP) – line player, SG BBM Bietigheim

On the match:
“I am so proud of my team. It was a really hard game, they played absolutely well.

“For us it was amazing because it was so hard to arrive here. I think we enjoyed yesterday, and we enjoy it today. I think for us it is a big thing. The second place is also really good.”

On their season:
“The beginning of the season was really hard for us in the group, but I think the team became better and better. Everyone can see that on the field.”

Antje Döll (GER) - left wing, SG BBM Bietigheim

On her emotions:
“I’m really happy and proud about the silver. After this game, we were not able to win, we accepted this and I’m really proud, it’s more than we have imagined before. Everything is fine for me.”

On the weekend:
“It was a really crazy weekend. This was so big and nice, so many visitors. It was a really nice experience for us for our first time. We are happy that we handled it very well. I hope I will come back.”

Karolina Kudlacz-Gloc (POL) – back, SG BBM Bietigheim

On the reason for defeat:
“It was many factors today, but I think defence and goalkeepers win the game. I’m sure that it’s the reason we were in the final, because of our defence and our goalkeeper. But, unfortunately we could not play today what we wanted to play. In the beginning, our defence was not that good. Györ stripped our defence in every position. We could not take the easy chance in the counterattack.

“Today Györ was a better team in many tactics. Of course, we can also be proud, but today we also wanted to win the game and we are a bit disappointed that we could not play what we can because of so many reasons.”

3/4 placement match: Team Esbjerg vs Metz Handball

Jesper Jensen (DEN) – head coach, Team Esbjerg

On the win:
“I am very satisfied and also relieved. I think it is so tough to finish in the fourth place with such a great squad, so I feel a lot with Metz. I know some of the players very good, so it is always hard to see them in this position.

“I am very happy, I am very glad and I am very proud about all the work we put in it the last 24 hours. It is tough things and Metz had only 21 hours and that is a big difference. We do not need to go home to Denmark and play another game like we have done in the last two years so there were many things in our favour, and I think the power we had in the end was probably the three hours we had in front of Metz.

“Of course, we are extremely happy and extremely proud of this. For me personally it is a big thing to end up with a victory.”

Kristine Breistøl (NOR) – left back, Team Esbjerg

On the match:
“It was a tough game, it always is against Metz. There were a lot of physics and they run a lot so we knew we need to play a good game today and I think we managed. In the first half there was a little bit too much back and forth, a lot of goals and in the end we managed to score more than them so we are really happy.”

On playing her last game for Esbjerg before joining Györi Audi ETO KC:
“Of course it is special to play the last match. Now I’ve known for a long time that I’m going to change. So probably the emotions will come more after when I realise this was the last thing I did with Esbjerg. But at the same time I am excited for what to come and I’m looking forward to new adventures but of course it’s special after six years.”

Kathrine Heindahl (NOR) - line player, Team Esbjerg

On what the win means:
“It means everything. It’s so important, also for our self-confidence for the next season that now that we have been there, we have won the match and it’s motivating us even more in this amazing atmosphere and this Champions League tournament.”

On her own performance:
“I’m really proud of myself and the consistency I have had during this injury and my mindset has been really positive. During the last couple of trainings I could feel like I was getting closer and closer, but also Jesper (Jensen, coach) showed me the confidence that he can see that I can do something for this team and it means a lot for me.

“Every minute I can get is also for this Olympic dream I will take and I know that I’m a person that gives a lot of attitude and positivity into the team. I’m so high on energy now with this comeback that I want to give to this team. So when somebody has played many minutes yesterday was so important for me to show that we still have something to fight for in this Champions League (EHF) FINAL4.”

On their tactics:
“Make the game as hard as possible. We also knew that Metz was playing a really hard game yesterday and they played many minutes with the same players, so to go as hard as possible was definitely one of the keys.”

Michala Møller (DEN) - left back, Team Esbjerg

On the win:
“It means a lot for us. Last time it has been really tough. We wanted to show that we are a good team and we also can win here in Budapest. That was a big motivation for us and of course we wanted to play in the final, but we are really proud and really happy about this.

“Both the team and I really wanted to show that we are a good team and we also can win in Budapest. It was nice to finally win a game here, it means a lot for us. We hope we will be back next year and we are even more motivated for coming back.”

On her performance:
“I just had to run a lot and sometimes it was difficult to Nora (Mørk) to run out. I normally defend there and it was a part of the plan to play there. I normally defend there, so that was normal for me, but there was a little pressure.”

On who will celebrate hardest:
“I would say Kaia Kamp, who is also from Aalborg, she is a real party-starter. We are flying home at one tomorrow so we have a lot of time to celebrate.”

Emmanuel Mayonnade (FRA) – head coach, Metz Handball

On the defeat:
“We didn’t have the result that we expected before the match. Of course we want to win like always. It was not easy. Yesterday night was not easy, this morning also, to find the way to push the players to give everything but they did it of course. And I think we did a good job but Esbjerg was better tonight and we just have to accept it.

“I know that feeling because two years ago we also won the last match against Esbjerg so one more time I have so much respect for them but of course I don’t want to say I’m happy. I hope that I will have a chance to come back next year. I promise that I will do my best with my new team to do it.”

Hatadou Sako (FRA) – goalkeeper, Metz Handball

On the defeat:
“Everything was wrong. We had a really great feeling before coming here and we wanted to make something good during the weekend, but nothing was on our side.

“We played so bad in defence, we had too much difficulty in attack and I’m really sad, because we didn’t show our best face. We know that Metz Handball can defend really hard and can play very well in attack, can attack wonderfully and this weekend we missed it. This makes me very sad.”

On playing her last game for the club:
“I wanted to finish very well with Metz, because I have this club in my heart, but it didn’t happen. I will have all the good feelings and good matches, I will stay with this and forget this weekend, even if it was a big weekend with lots of people and a wonderful arena. The performance was very bad."

Alina Grijseels (GER) – centre back, Metz Handball

On her emotions:
“I need some days, maybe weeks to think about the season, to think about what happened. Maybe at the end I will be proud of our season, but now of course I am sad and disappointed that we only got the fourth place. We wanted so much more, and we were so focused, but in the end, you get what you deserved and what you played. We were in this weekend maybe not good enough for more.”

On their performances:
“Our defence was not good enough in both games. Like in the first half I feel like it was OK, but still, we say like we have to close more and stay more compact also in the centre. In the second half we just let them do what they want with us and 37 goals I think it is too much. On this level you cannot win a game if you get 37 goals.”

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