Toublanc dreams of Champions League title with hometown club
2021 was one hell of a year for Alicia Toublanc. Within 12 months, the 25-year-old right wing from Brest played her first DELO EHF FINAL4 with her club and her first international competition with France. Before the opening game at the World Championship 2021, she had only ever played two games with the national team.
“More than anything, these two massive events gave me a lot of confidence, and also showed me that I was on the right track,” says Toublanc.
We played eye to eye with them [Rostov-Don] in the first confrontation and this one looks set to be a thriller. It remains a very important game for us, for many reasons. We want to keep our momentum going at home.
But did such a whirlwind put extra pressure on her shoulders? Stepping suddenly into the spotlight can be somewhat hard to handle for newcomers.
“I wouldn’t talk about pressure. When you play these kind of games, you want to do it again, and for sure it forces you to train even harder every day. There is this kind of enthusiasm that makes you hungry for more,” says Toublanc. She played in the final at both events, but has yet to win a gold medal.
As 2021 turned to 2022, Toublanc’s focus was clear. The left hander, born and raised in Brest, wants to climb to the highest step on the podium.
“The [EHF] FINAL4 was a crazy experience. It remains a goal for every top handball player in the world,” she says, before examining her club’s performance in the 2021/22 group phase.
“There is a little bit of frustration because we feel like we have not played our best handball sometimes, like in Dortmund or even last week in Esbjerg.”
There is one more game to go though, and Brest could still clinch a direct quarter-final spot. The French side enter the final round on 17 points in third place in group A and could finish anywhere from second to fourth based on the results on the weekend. On Saturday, they meet Rostov-Don in the high-profile Match of the Week.
“We played eye to eye with them in the first confrontation and this one looks set to be a thriller. It remains a very important game for us, for many reasons. We want to keep our momentum going at home,” says Toublanc.
It adds a little spice to know that you are representing your hometown; that you are making your family extra proud by playing for the club of your city. Ì feel like it is my duty to represent Brest in the best way around Europe.
Toublanc will take the court in front of the fans in Brest Arena on Saturday night. Born and raised in the city, she has only played for one club in her career so far — something that has become quite rare in sport today.
“It adds a little spice to know that you are representing your hometown; that you are making your family extra proud by playing for the club of your city,” she smiles.
“Ì feel like it is my duty to represent Brest in the best way around Europe, so imagine how much of a dream it would be to win the Champions League with Brest.”