Tóth: “Only form of the day counts at EHF Finals”
With several new players and Györi Audi ETO KC’s Gábor Danyi as head coach arriving in the summer, it might be tempting for Siófok KC to already start looking ahead to next season.
However, the Hungarian side is far from done for the current season. This weekend, Siófok will compete at the inaugural EHF Finals Women 2021 in Baia Mare, the final tournament of the EHF European League 2020/21.
In the semi-final, Siófok take on Herning-Ikast Håndbold on Saturday at 18:00 CEST, after Nantes Atlantique Handball and hosts CS Minaur Baia Mare have contested the first semi-final at 14:45 CEST.
One of Siófok’s leading players is the versatile, quick centre back, Gabriella Tóth. She has scored 25 times in the European League this season, including a nine-goal outing against Fleury Loiret Handball in February.
eurohandball.com: You are 24 and have played for seven different teams in Hungary. How are things at Siófok for you?
Gabriella Tóth: It is hard to see clearly this season as the Covid-19 pandemic has changed everything. There are no fans at the matches, there is a lack of impulses. Sport is not the same without fans, they give me extra energy during a game. On the other hand, I feel great in Siófok. I struggled with injuries, but me and the team have stepped up and now we are here, at the EHF Finals. I would like to finish this season as successful as possible.
eurohandball.com: As the last winners of the EHF Cup, Siófok have made it among the last four teams of the European League again.
Gabriella Tóth: We suffered multiple injuries during the season, however we always found someone to lead us through the difficulties. Perhaps, this contributes to the fact that we are at the EHF Finals. The EHF European League is very important to us and I think for players an international cup means always a different level of excitement.
eurohandball.com: You have been at a four-team finals tournament before – with Györ at the EHF FINAL4 2016. What is the most important for a player during these two days?
Gabriella Tóth: Here, only your form of the day counts. This will decide whether you are through or not. We have to arrive at Baia Mare in the best shape, mentally, physically and condition-wise. Then we will have a chance to win. Motivation will not be a problem, as we want to finish this rollercoaster-like season with success. Experience can be significant, and we have plenty of players who have seen a lot.
eurohandball.com: You will start the EHF Finals against Herning-Ikast. What will be decisive in that match?
Gabriella Tóth: Herning are in the best form in Denmark, they have just beaten Team Esbjerg by 10 goals (31:21). They are quick, strong and I think that we will have to sometimes slow down the game. Defence is the key, if that works, we can run and score from fast breaks.
We suffered multiple injuries during the season, however we always found someone to lead us through the difficulties. Perhaps this contributes to the fact that we are at the EHF Finals. The EHF European League is very important to us and I think for players an international cup means always a different level of excitement.
eurohandball.com: What do you expect from yourself?
Gabriella Tóth: I just recovered from an injury, so it is hard to tell my form and condition. I am very motivated and I will do everything to do the job the coaching staff gives me. It is important to use my energy wisely.
eurohandball.com: In which part of your game do you think there is still room for improvement?
Gabriella Tóth: I want to develop in every aspect of handball as I am still young, and I hope there is more to come. For that, I have every chance to evolve if I can play continuously without injuries.
eurohandball.com: Siófok are only ranked seventh in the Hungarian league. What can the team still achieve this season?
Gabriella Tóth: We have had plenty of ups and downs in the domestic championship. As we approach the last rounds of the league, our goal is to reach one of the spots that gives us entry to the international tournaments. In the EHF European League, we will need an exceptional performance to finish first, but that is the plan.