EHF Champions League TV Show and the rest of the story on Kiel

The EHF has added a weekly show featuring highlights of the past week’s games and interviews. The first edition showed highlights of 8 matches and summarized the results for each group. With English language commentary and at about 20 minutes long it’s a nice lunch time break to catch up on the Champions League.

The featured interview in the first show was with new Kiel head coach, Alfred Gislason. Gislason, an Icelander, formerly coached his country’s National Team and at Gummersbach in the Bundesliga. A little bit of backstory is warranted as the feature pretty much ignored most of the controversy surrounding his hiring.

Some of the things left unsaid include is why would Kiel replace their tremendously successful coach, Noka Serdarusic, in the first place. In 2006-07, Kiel became the first German team to complete a “triple” by winning the EHF Champions League, the Bundesliga Title, and the German Cup. In 2007-08, they had to settle for a double, losing to Ciudad Real in the Final of the Champions League. A disappointment for sure, but hardly justification for a change in leadership. According to reports in Handball-World, the change was made due to personality conflicts between Serdarusic and Kiel General Manager, Uwe Schwenker. When the private conflict between Serdarusic and Schwenker could no longer be covered up, the board of shareholders at Kiel decided unanimously to quit with Serdarusic and keep Schwenker. And on top of the 700,000 Euro transfer fee paid to Gummersbach, Kiel is also still paying Serdarusic’s salary through 2009.

Another point worth mentioning is the relationship between Serdarusic and star player, Nikola Karabatic. Karabatic’s father and Serdarusic are long time friends and Karabatic’s move to Kiel from his native France was largely facilitated by this relationship. Karabatic has obviously adjusted well to the HBL, and willingly signed a long term contract with Kiel through the 2011 season. I wonder, though, if he would have signed the same contract after Serdarusic was unceremoniously let go.

It remains to be seen if Kiel’s coaching change will have an impact on the team. So far, the results look good. Kiel is 7-0-1 and on top of the standings in the HBL and are 2-0-0 in Champions League play.

Handball-World: “The New One: Alfred Gislason will be coaching THW Kiel”
EHFTV: (The 1st Champions League show is listed under 6 Oct)