"Everyone wants to be part of the championship"

Left wing Conny Wilczynski gives an insight into the Austrian team's preparations ahead of the EHF EURO in Denmark

"Our double-header against Iceland is just about a week ago. We lost the first match and then won the second. The fact that we stood our ground against a team like Iceland definitely boosted our confidence and shows that we are on the right track.

However, at the same I think we shouldn’t make the mistake of overestimating our own capabilities. Iceland played without Aaron Palmarsson and Alex Petersson, so two of their key players were missing.

It was nevertheless a nice change from the weekly routine in the domestic championship and it underlined our hopes that we’ll play a good tournament in just about two months’ time in Denmark.

We were altogether 20 players for that seven-day training camp in Traun. It’s kind of a new luxury problem we never had before in Austria. There are many young players climbing up the ranks, aiming to make a name for themselves.

Of course, this means that the fight for the 16 to 18 spots in our team for Denmark has begun. But at the same time I don’t overrate that. It’s the usual thing that happens. We are all professional athletes; this is part of our life. Everyone wants to be part of the championship.

Patti (ed. Austrian head coach Patrekur Johannesson) knows how to keep us focused on handball and handball only, while at the same he is constantly trying to keep the team’s mood high.

The training camp in Traun was a pretty tough affair. We trained twice on most days, only once we got half a day off.  So we pretty much didn’t do anything else than playing handball. We worked on a lot of athletic aspects, so that we are in the best shape possible when the European Championship comes around.

By now we have all returned to our clubs. The aim for everyone is to stay healthy and fit until we gather next time at the beginning of January. And then we are off to Denmark – I hope to see you there."

Conny Wilczynski (31) celebrated his debut in the Austrian national team on 25 March 2002 in a match against Romania. Since then he has been taking to the court more than 120 times, scoring 555 goals on the way. With Austria he participated at the EHF EURO 2010 and the World Championship 2011. On the club level he won the Austrian national championship three times (2004, 2005, 2006) with A1 Bregenz.

At the beginning of the 2006/07 season he transferred to Füchse Berlin in Germany. In 2008 he became the German Bundesliga’s top scorer with 237 goals. In 2011 he returned to Austria and to SG INSIGNIS Handball Westwien, the club at which he started his career. He is not only a player but also the club’s current manager.

written by Conny Wilczynski, Austrian national team