Named the national team’s most important player
Andreas Palicka was responsible for this year’s transfer bomb when he signed for Redbergslid just before the European Championships.
But why he left Rhein-Neckar Löwen refuses Sweden’s most important European Championship players to talk about.
– It is personal and private, says the veteran.
Who is Sweden’s most important player in the European Championships?
Sportbladet asked that question to twelve experts before the tournament.
Andreas Palicka received by far the most votes – eight. Then four outfielders got one vote each.
The goalkeeper veteran also started the European Championship brilliantly when he took almost half of the shots in the premiere against Bosnia in the first half before handing over to the championship debutant Peter Johannesson (who accounted for an equally strong performance).
Suddenly returned home after 13 years
There were otherwise some question marks for Palicka’s form before the European Championships. He did not convince in the rematch against the Netherlands, but in front he had a difficult end to the autumn. Suddenly he was no longer in Rhein-Neckar Löwen’s match squad and after a little over a month without games, a few days before Christmas, he surprisingly returned home to Redbergslid, a jumbo in the handball league, after 13 years abroad.
Ahead of the recent championships, Palicka has come very tired after an incredible load in Rhein-Neckar Löwen. This time it was more about lack of matching, not least at the highest level.
– But I have my way to go in the championship preparations. I have my two-week plan with the goalkeeping coach – formerly Mats Olsson, now Tomas Svensson – for what the training should look like for me to get well into a tournament and be able to perform at the top when it really matters. It has worked in recent championships and I have faith in it, says the 35-year-old.
An interview with Palicka often involves long, detailed answers. He likes to explain how he feels and thinks about different things.
But when it comes to the break-up from Rhein-Neckar Löwen, where he was a key player for many years and took league gold with 2017, it’s the lid on that counts.
– I do not answer questions about, or draw any parallels to, my old club.
I respect that, but why do not you want to talk about it?
– I can only refer to the press release from Rhein-Neckar Löwen. It is personal and private.
Going to PSG this summer
What did the two matches you got in RIK before the European Championships mean to you?
– I have returned to the club where everything started. RIK is my Swedish club. I am proud and happy and very motivated to help them on the track and in that way give back before you get old.
The contract with RIK is only for six months. Already this summer, he signed for French PSG for next season.
In the national team, Palicka formed one of the world’s absolute best goalkeeper pairs together with club mate Mikael Appelgren for several years.
Appelgren has now been injured for almost two years and at the WC and Olympics last year, Palicka was supplemented by the even older Mikael Aggefors.
For the European Championships, Aggefors has had to give way to Peter Johannesson (and Tobias Thulin, who is currently the third goalkeeper) when Glenn Solberg started a rejuvenation on the goalkeeper side and is looking long-term towards the home World Cup 2023 and Olympics 2024.
– It is a logical transition. It’s time for these goalkeepers to come in and take a look and show what they can do. As simple as that. They are the future of Swedish handball in goal. See and learn time is over. Now we will go in and make results. Maybe it’s nice for them to have a 35-year-old next to them when it’s burning. I see this as a nice transition.
On Saturday, Spain is waiting for a key match – and a likely group final.
Palicka has never been involved and won against Spain. The narrow loss in the Olympic quarter-finals still hurts.
– Of course we want to overcome that obstacle and feel the feeling of what it is like to win against Spain, he says.
Palicka’s club career
H43 Lund −2002
Redbergslids IK 2002–08
Kiel, Germany 2008–15
Aalborg, Denmark 2015–16
Rhein-Neckar Löwen, Tyskland 2016-2021
Redbergslids IK 2021–22
PSG, France 2022-
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The hot topic that Palicka refuses to talk about