Kim Andersson reignites old rivalry with Flensburg

EHF / Ida Hummeluhr

It is 20 years since Ystads IF HF's Kim Andersson played his first international club tournament - and he is still here. On Tuesday evening, his old rivals from SG Flensburg-Handewitt await in EHF European League.

686 goals later, and Swedish Kim Andersson's career is still going strong at the age of 40. With stays at IK Sävehof, THW Kiel, KIF Kolding Copenhagen and now Ystad IF HF, the right back has seen it all.

Ystad IF HF are battling away in the group phase of the EHF European League, where a very special opponent awaits in the next match for Andersson and co. namely his old rivals from SG Flensburg-Handewitt.

Underdogs from Ystad

After third round of the group phase, Ystad IF HF stands with a single win, while SG Flensburg-Handewitt are undefeated. Among other reasons, Andersson reports he and his teammates as underdogs, even though they have the home advantage.

"We must not be afraid of Flensburg. We have to be ready to play our game and have confidence in ourselves. We have proven that we can play good handball. Flensburg are big favorites, but we should not be afraid.

“We have to play like it's a regular, any other, match. Personally, I also just think it's cool to play those types of big matches again against some of the best players in the world. I also hope that my teammates think that it is a great game to play."

According to Andersson, many things must work for the Swedish champions to play their way to victory against the big German team. There are a number of players on whom the team largely depends.

"I think we have some players who have the potential to take a step further into Europe - Jonathan Svensson among others. He has shown this season and last season that he is ready to take responsibility.

“He is probably the one of our players who is closest to being able to play in Europe. It is very important that he plays well in the match against Flensburg. Our goalkeepers are also very important to us."

“Not the start we dreamt of”

With two points after three games, Ystad IF HF has not had a dream start to this season’s group phase in EHF European League, although there are several good things and achievements to highlight.

"In the first game we played in EHF European League, you could tell that we were a little nervous. It was our first European game in a long time. In the first quarter we had too much respect, but otherwise played well. We have been a bit lackluster and should have won more. We only have two points but maybe should have four.

“In Spain against TM Benidorm, we took the first two points and we are happy about that. Now we meet Flensburg on Tuesday, and it will probably be a difficult match. But we don't lose in advance, so we are very excited about the game to come," says the former THW Kiel star.

Everyday life in Ystad IF HF

With the EHF European League group stage and the Swedish league in full swing, you wouldn't think there was much time left in everyday life - but there is, says Andersson.

"I am one of the lucky few in Ystad who only play handball. Many of the others work or are studying on the side. I have three children and a working wife, so I have a lot of alone time left. I usually work out a little extra to keep my old body going. I think that I have a very nice everyday life with time to work out and take good care of my body," says Andersson about his life in Sweden.

Everyday life now is guaranteed to be different from the one he had in both KIF Kolding Copenhagen and THW Kiel. Also, the rivalry was different when he was in Germany especially.

"They didn't like me"

It ended up being seven years in THW Kiel. Seven years of rivalry between THW Kiel and the club 90 kilometers to the north which Andersson will face this Tuesday, namely SG Flensburg-Handewitt.

Andersson clearly remembers what the relationship between the two clubs was like.

"In the seven years I played in Kiel, we only lost one game to Flensburg, and that was in my first years in Kiel at home. I don't remember us losing otherwise in Flensburg. When I look back on it, it was Kiel that was the big brother of Flensburg," says the right back, followed by a gentle laugh.

Also, the difference between playing at home and away in the FLENS-ARENA, when the Nord-derby was to take place, is not something that Andersson has never forgotten. Especially at the away games in Flensburg, the Kiel profiles felt the rivalry. Several years later, however, the Flensburg fans had not forgotten who had played in Kiel. For Andersson, this meant that even as a KIF Kolding Copenhagen player, he was treated as a Kiel player.

"The last time I was there with KIF Kolding Copenhagen, there were many who didn't like me because I previously played in Kiel. It will be interesting to see what they think of me now. I think that also applies to sports. It will be fun and exciting to experience. I enjoy that type of match and hope I can play a good match. So we'll see how it goes,” Andersson expectantly says.

And how it will go when Kim Andersson visits FLENS-ARENA this time, we will have to wait to see until February. But initially, the showdown between Ystad IF HF and SG Flensburg-Handewitt awaits on Swedish soil on Tuesday 29 November 2022, at 18.45 CET.

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