Reinkind: “We are eager to win all 14 group matches”
The Machineseeker EHF Champions League 2022/23 will get a fitting start as the competition throws off with the Match of the Week between THW Kiel and Elverum Handball on Wednesday at 18:45 CEST. Harald Reinkind is one of three Norwegian players in Kiel’s squad this season.
In 2014, Reinkind left his home club Fyllingen and moved to Germany, first to Rhein-Neckar Löwen, in 2018 to THW Kiel.
For 2022/23, Reinkind is part of a Norwegian trio at Kiel, alongside playmaker Sander Sagosen – who is injured and will not play in the MOTW – and new arrival Petter Øverby.
“It is always something special to face a Norwegian team in an international competition. And I really appreciate that Elverum again are part of the EHF Champions League. This is of high importance to Norwegian handball,” Reinkind told eurohandball.com.
“But I have not faced any of those players during my time in Norway. They have a young team with many new players, and I only know a few of them from the national team.”
While winning the EHF FINAL4 2020 with THW Kiel has been Reinkind’s biggest success on club level, he made it to two World Championship finals with Norway – in 2017 and 2019. He also won bronze at the EHF EURO 2020.
For now, his focus is entirely on the club competitions.
“We are really looking forward to the start of the EHF Champions League season, the anticipation is huge,” the right back said.
“Last season was really fun, making it to Cologne again, though unfortunately we did not win the title.”
The match against Elverum is the starting point for another Mission Cologne for the left-hander and his team.
“In every season, one of our main goals is the qualification for the EHF FINAL4,” he said.
“Right from the start of the group phase, we need to be focussed. We have it in our hands to have a more pleasant way to Cologne by finishing on first or second position in our group.”
Apart from Elverum, Kiel’s opponents in group B include the likes of titleholders Barça, 2022 finalists and former champions Lomza Industria Kielce, former finalists Aalborg Håndbold and HBC Nantes, and Hungarian champions Pick Szeged.
Reinkind agrees with Kiel manager Viktor Szilagyi, who has said this is “one of the best groups ever in the history of the EHF Champions League.”
“This group is really outstanding, we face many top teams, and we are eager to win all 14 group matches, but we know that this is a really tough job,” Reinkind said.
It is always something special to face a Norwegian team in an international competition. And I really appreciate that Elverum again are part of the EHF Champions League. This is of high importance to Norwegian handball.
Apart from Sagosen, Kiel will also miss defence boss Hendrik Pekeler, who is recovering from a torn Achilles tendon. Both players are only expected back on court in 2023.
“It looks like we are well prepared for this situation,” Reinkind said.
“Our start in the domestic competitions really worked well, we gained confidence from beating German champions Magdeburg in the Super Cup and we have won all three Bundesliga matches so far. But of course, it takes time to integrate our new players.”
Among those new arrivals is a young player, who played in Elverum until the end of last season: Swedish EHF EURO champion Eric Johansson. Reinkind expected Johansson to “give us some advice on Elverum’s tactics.”
“He played a strong previous season and I hope he will develop in the right way here at Kiel,” Reinkind said about Johansson.
Kiel will be wary of Elverum’s best scorer from last season, Tobias Grøndahl, who netted 81 times – eight goals more than Kiel’s best shooter in 2021/22, Niclas Ekberg.
“He has a huge potential and is highly ambitious, always giving 100 percent. We have to have an eye on him,” Reinkind said about Grøndahl.
Still, Kiel are favourites in the first MOTW of the season on Wednesday (live on EHFTV at 18:45 CEST with English commentary). Not only because they have never lost to a team from Norway before, but also because they beat Elverum twice as recent as last season.
“We have to take this role, mainly as we are eager to win all home matches throughout the whole season. We have high hopes to go all the way, and some really high hurdles will come, so we have to start victorious,” Reinkind said.
The players got an additional boost last week, as head coach Filip Jicha and his assistant Christian Sprenger extended their contracts with Kiel until 2026.
“This is a great signal for the club and all players,” Reinkind said. “I am happy with this long-term decision, which is important for all of us.”