Vmany German travelers appreciate the Ringkøbing Fjord, especially in the cold season. The wind, the beach, the North Sea, then the sauna in the holiday home: wonderful! The journey of the Berlin foxes to the west coast of Denmark does not include any tourist highlights. For the leaders of the Handball Bundesliga, the last few days of March are all about crowning a good season and possibly clinching two titles in the end.
This Tuesday, coach Jaron Siewert’s team will play in Skjern, fifth in the Danish league: first leg of the European League, round of 16. The second leg is waiting a week later in Berlin. In between there is a top duel in the Bundesliga – on Sunday at 2.05 p.m. (live on Sky) the Berliners have to clear the high hurdle in Kiel to keep the chance of becoming German champions for the first time.
Watch, walk around, have fun
The task in the small town of Skjern, not far from Ringkøbing Fjord in western Jutland, could be made a little easier. Skjern has just under 8000 inhabitants, but always brings out excellent handball talents. Her best-known plays with the foxes of all places and turns the long-sold-out game on Tuesday evening (6.45 p.m. on DAZN) into a big party in little Skjern: Mathias Gidsel returns to the place where he learned to catch and throw balls.
Until the age of 15 Gidsel played for his native city. And as it is in Denmark, he spent a lot of time indoors. Not only when he performed himself. Watching, running around, having fun, having a cocoa in the cafeteria and eating a hot dog: in the small towns and villages of rural Denmark, the gym is the real nursery. Mathias Gidsel then turned professional in Gudme on Funen. He has been earning his living with the foxes since last summer.
At Gidsel, the playful contact with handball has turned into a world career. The two-time world champion has twice been the most valuable player in major tournaments. The German national team recently learned how good he is in the friendly defeats in Aalborg and Hamburg. Because the old stars took it easy, Mathias Gidsel, 23, played in the unfamiliar middle position. How easy it was for him.
Gidsel, as a not very tall and rather slender player, embodies a new type who benefits from the changed rules of handball and relies entirely on speed, dexterity and intuition. Nevertheless, at six meters he throws himself into duels with the opposing defensive giants. The narrow left-hander leads through performance, not volume.
For Mathias Gidsel, betting with Skjern is a very special homecoming, as his mother works in marketing at the club and his father works at Skjern Bank, the club’s main sponsor. Of course, Gidsel has pledged to sever old ties for these two games and focus solely on the quarter-finals with Berlin. That would then be the next step to reach the final tournament in the smaller European competition on the Pentecost weekend in Flensburg (May 27th/28th).
That Füchsen and Gidsel didn’t succeed in everything in this remarkable series was evident a good two weeks ago in Magdeburg, when they lost largely without a chance. Gidsel went down with them. The lead in the table melted. In this respect, the game in Kiel is a pointer: Are the Berliners ready for the really big games? Did you learn from Magdeburg, when there were mysterious bad passes and a series of bad throws under pressure from the hall? The foxes traveled to Jutland by bus because, despite the proximity to Billund Airport, there was no suitable connection. So the pros can at least enjoy the charm of the region through the panoramic windows. Mathias Gidsel will certainly contribute recommendations for excursions if necessary.