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Significant trust placed in Sigurdsson

FEATURE: Icelandic counted on to bring flesh blood to the German team on the court and the bench

Dagur Sigurdsson is backed by all stakeholders of German handball as he starts his mission as the new head coach of the German team.

“To search and to find the perfect man for this job was anything but easy, as we wanted to have the optimal long-term solution,” said Bernhard Bauer, President of the German Handball Federation: “It is our clear vision to fight for the gold medal at the 2020 Olympic Games and to return among the best teams at the 2015 World Championship in Doha. His experience as a player and a coach was the reason for signing Dagur Sigurdsson.”

Even the German Bundesliga was represented by its new president Uwe Schwenker when the new national team coach was presented.

“Dagur Sigurdsson is the right choice for this position. All Bundesliga clubs stand as one for this decision and will support him in any way. We all know that it is a matter of Dagur’s heart to lead Germany in the future,” said Schwenker.

Big expectations

The Icelandic, who will have a double function as coach of Füchse Berlin until the end of this season, will be released by his club in June 2015 and has signed a contract valid until 2017 – with the option of an extension until the 2020 Olympics.

“It’s a big, big honour to feel this trust of the federation and the league to start in this highly responsible position,” Sigurdsson (42) said: “I am convinced by the potential, the perspective and the chances of development of this team. To compete in Doha will be a huge challenge for all of us.”

Sigurdsson is the successor of Martin Heuberger, who had been German national team coach from 2011 to June 2014. His contract was not prolonged by the federation after originally failing in the World Championship play-offs against Poland.

However, things changed completely for the 1938, 1978 and 2007 world champions, when the International Handball Federation awarded them with a wild card for Qatar 2015 as best ranked team of the 2013 World Championship in Spain not qualified for the event in Doha.

In Qatar, Germany will face Denmark, Russia, Poland, Argentina and Bahrain in the preliminary round.

Heuberger will not be retained as an assistant to Sigurdsson, contrary to some speculation.

“We are searching for the right candidate, who will bring fresh blood to the team,” explained Sigurdsson, who is well aware of the burden to be in double function for some months: “You only have handball in your head, all day and all night. But my family agreed on this. I am not afraid of the work, as the time of two parallel jobs is limited.”

Eyeing success immediately and in the long ron

Sigurdsson has experience of dealing with club and country at the same time as coach of Füchse and the Austrian men’s team in 2009/10.

One of the major tasks the Icelandic will face is to integrate young players such as those who just became Men’s 20 EHF EURO champions in Austria.

“It’s my clear philosophy to work with young players – but of course I will need some experienced ones to be successful. I will search for the right ones and also will search for the right talents to make their way to the men’s team.

“The problem of the German team is that it won too few matches in recent years, less than 50 per cent. We have to win more often, mainly those tight and decisive games,” concluded Sigurdsson.

His first matches on the bench of the German team will be two tests against Switzerland in September, followed by the first competitive matches, the EHF EURO 2016 qualifiers against Finland (30 October in Gummersbach) and against his former team Austria (2 November in Vienna).

written by Björn Pazen / cor