Lars Christiansen: A legend leaves the Bundesliga

Danish left wing, Lars Christiansen decided last season to transfer from German club, SG Flensburg, to Danish club, KIF Kolding, thus ending his 14 year Bundesliga career. This Sunday he will be honored with a farewell match at the Campushalle Arena in Flensburg. As a visible symbol of what Christiansen has meant to the club and the city, the square in front of the Campushalle has been named Lars Christiansen Platz. It’s worth noting, that Christiansen’s play was not just appreciated by his own club. Last season other German clubs paid him tribute as he did one last tour through the Bundesliga. Even arch rival Kiel, held up a large banner wishing him well.

At 38 years of age his career is on the downward slope, but playing in Denmark should help prolong it a few more years. As a numbers/statistics loving American, though, I can’t help wonder why he didn’t play one more season to break the all-time career scoring mark. With 2,875 goals he was only 30 short of Kyung-Shin Yoon’s record of 2,905. It’s hard to imagine an athlete in any American sport moving on in a similar situation. But then again he’s a Dane, and it’s pretty clear that records aren’t a priority with him.

When I first started to watch the Bundesliga on a regular basis a few years ago I had no allegiance to any team and I just wanted to see good matches. However, as I saw more games and started to identify the players I soon found myself rooting for Flensburg. Even on the TV screen with commentators speaking a language I didn’t understand it didn’t take long for this fan to appreciate Christiansen’s attitude, demeanor, and skills. Some folks are destined to be fans of flamboyant players like Stefan Kretzschmar and some are destined to be fans of the Lars Christiansen’s of the world. Count me in the latter camp. It’s going to seem strange to see Flensburg play without his reliable fast break and wing shots finding the back of the net.

Lars Christiansen Official Website:
Photo of banner displayed by Kiel fans:
Article and photos on Flensburg’s naming of Lars Christiansen Platz
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Handball-World (16 Aug 10: "Thanks, Lars – Lars Christiansen says goodbye with an impressive gala: