On the night-time drive home, the SC Magdeburg team bus became a party mobile. After the dramatic 30:29 final victory against Industria Kielce, coach Bennet Wiegert and his protégés celebrated the second triumph in the Handball Champions League after 2002 on the Autobahn.

In the afternoon, there will be a big reception for Gisli Kristjansson’s team in Magdeburg. “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,” said Wiegert before departure with the winner’s trophy and luggage.

“I can only begin to imagine what will happen in Magdeburg in the next few days,” said national coach Alfred Gislason, who led the traditional club to its first triumph in the Champions League 21 years ago. The SCM is currently “the most effective team in the world” and “rightly won the title”.

Coach Wiegert praises his “fantastic team”

Wiegert felt the same way and praised the players in the highest tones. “Everyone has made history. This team is just fantastic,” said the 41-year-old.

An example of the team’s mentality was Kristjansson’s lightning comeback, who dislocated his throwing arm in the semi-final against FC Barcelona the day before and still scored six goals in the final 24 hours later.

“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 and added with a smile: “Icelanders never give up. That’s just our mentality.”

Kristjansson’s appearance also made Wiegert emotional, especially since the Iceland international will probably be out for a long time. “I’m so happy for him because I know what a tough time he has ahead of him,” said the successful Magdeburg coach, adding: “If we had lost the game, I would have mourned such a good player for a long time losing for a long time. With the trophy, it doesn’t hurt him that much.”