Mannheim (AP) – Uwe Gensheimer is looking forward to the new season in the Bundesliga (HBL) handball with mixed feelings. Expectation reigns with the captain of the national team.
In an interview with the German news agency, the 33-year-old also says: “There is, of course, a certain uncertainty.” On top of that, he sees a big burden on the players – and he reveals when, in his opinion, there is a chance to attack big championship favorites THW Kiel.
After a one-month break, the Bundesliga will play again on Thursday. Does anticipation dominate? Or what do you think of the start of the season?
Uwe Gensheimer: As long as I assume that I am a player, the expectation certainly weighs more heavily. We’ve never had a break as long as now, except when I injured my Achilles tendon. To have competitive games for the first time since March, you as a player just look forward to it. From the club’s point of view, the economic situation remains catastrophic. It hurts, of course. It will also be emotionally different, of course a few spectators cannot replace a full house.
The audience capacity of the arenas may be used for a maximum of 20 percent. Does that make economic sense for the clubs?
Gensheimer: Of course the 20 percent is not enough for us, so we don’t have to talk about it. We are happy that at least some spectators are allowed in again. But of course we would be even happier if this number increased in the future.
Do you think the season can end as planned?
Gensheimer: There is, of course, a certain amount of uncertainty. I hope that with the competition concept we can guarantee that the game will run continuously.
Doesn’t that ask a lot of the players in terms of their private lives?
Gensheimer: Of course we make sure we fulfill our role model function. We are the ones keeping the game going, and an infection would put our teammates at risk too. That is why I do not interrupt my daily life, but you can see where you stand.
In addition, 20 instead of 18 teams now play in the Bundesliga, which makes the playing frequency even tighter. Will that be a problem again during the season?
Gensheimer: I think that’s going to be a big topic, of course. We are so happy to be able to play again. But of course the timing will be extreme if you add the international tournaments. Then the question is how the trainers manage to distribute the load.
Nevertheless, you support hosting the World Cup in Egypt in January. Would you voluntarily miss it if the winter exposure is too high?
Gensheimer: No, that’s not a problem for me at the moment. I’m just too hot for that. Only if I felt signs of my body or didn’t feel right it would be different. But when I’m feeling good, I want to play.
Would you also play as a playmaker for the national team? Surprisingly, you were recently used in this position at the Rhein-Neckar Löwen.
Gensheimer: Even the national team manager noticed that, I spoke to Alfred Gislason about it. He said he might try. But it was an exception with the Lions because we had some injured players. But if Alfred puts me there in the national team, I will.
You will turn 34 at the end of October, but you are still considered the best left winger in the world. How long do you want to play?
Gensheimer: Let’s see. As long as no young person is better, it is still possible (laughs).
Back to the Bundesliga one more time: what can stop THW Kiel on the way to the next championship?
Gensheimer: Seriously, they certainly haven’t gotten any worse compared to last year. Now they have even brought in Sander Sagosen and with it a player who has not narrowed the requirements. But maybe there will be a chance to attack them in December when they have to play the Champions League final. It may then happen that the attitude and concentration on the Bundesliga matches fall a bit.
ABOUT THE PERSON: Uwe Gensheimer (33) is the captain of the national handball team and one of the best players in the world. Since 2019, the left winger has been back in the Bundesliga for Rhein-Neckar Löwen, with whom he won the German Championship in 2016.