At the moment of the sporting triumph of the Magdeburg handball heroes, coach Bennet Wiegert showed a lot of empathy and human size.
When asked about the tragic death of a Polish journalist on the edge of the dramatic 30:29 final victory after extra time against Industria Kielce, the 41-year-old's party mood evaporated after the coup in the Champions League. "You saw again how close happiness and sadness are to each other. I'm so sorry, that's just shit," Wiegert said full of sympathy.
Second title win after 2002
SC Magdeburg almost didn't win their second title in the premier class after 2002, because due to the medical emergency with fatal consequences 12:20 minutes before the end of regular time, Wiegert would have accepted the game to be abandoned. He even offered this to his fellow coach Talant Dujshebaev during the 13-minute break when the score was 20:22. "I went to him and said: Let's end the game. We'll take the result and you're Champions League winners because there are more important things in life," said Wiegert.
But that didn't happen - and so in the end the Magdeburg team cheered for backfield star Gisli Kristjansson. His lightning comeback after a shoulder injury suffered the day before in the semi-finals against record winners FC Barcelona was an example of the mentality of the entire team, which generously celebrated Sunday's triumph in Cologne. "We celebrated like crazy," reported left winger Matthias Musche at the reception in Magdeburg City Hall early Monday evening. And Captain Christian O'Sullivan announced: "The party continues today."
During the party with thousands of fans, it got emotional for the players again. "I have goosebumps," said Kristjansson as the packed crowd cheered him on. And Musche said: "I must have cried 14 times in the past 14 hours. A childhood dream has come true for me. It's great to have experienced that."
Wiegert had a similar experience. "It will take weeks or even months to realize everything that happened this weekend in Cologne. I will never forget that in my life, I know that. I cannot praise the team's character highly enough," he said success coach.
ecstasy among the fans
On Sunday evening, the team was still being celebrated in the arena by the fans who had traveled with them long after the final whistle - and there was also great cheering in the Saxony-Anhalt state capital at the public viewing. "I can only begin to imagine what will happen in Magdeburg in the next few days," said national coach Alfred Gislason, who led the SCM to its first triumph in the Champions League in 2002. The German runner-up is currently "the most effective team in the world" and "rightly won the title", Gislason praised the performance.
Wiegert, who was a player 21 years ago, was also enthusiastic about it. "Here heroes were born who wrote club history. This team is simply fantastic," praised the 41-year-old.
Kristjansson: "The will in me was strong"
Above all, Kristjansson, who was voted the most valuable player of the Champions League season and who will probably be out for a long time. "When it happened, I thought I wouldn't play handball again until January. But the will in me was so strong. I just wanted to be there and help the team, no matter for how long," said the 23-year-old backcourt player after the final and added with a smile: "Icelanders never give up. That's just our mentality."
The appearance of the Icelandic international made Wiegert emotional. "I'm so happy for him because I know what a trying time he has ahead of him now," he said, adding: "Had we lost the game I would have mourned for a long time, such a good player for a long time to lose for a long time. With the trophy, it doesn't hurt him that much."
Kristjansson confirmed his coach's assumption. "My shoulder hurts like hell, but it was worth it," said the backcourt star after the final whistle and described his emotional state as he said goodbye: "It's just amazing. I've never experienced such emotions. It's one of the most beautiful moments in my life."