Stars of the World Championships : Niklas Landin

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11 November 2016

Each week, we offer you a full portrait of one of the players that will be in the spotlights during the World Championships 2017, with the help from one of the four ambassadors of the competition. This week, Niklas Landin as seen by Valérie Nicolas.

His career

Niklas Landin’s story is, first and foremost, one of an over-talented man. Maybe not as much as his compatriot Mikkel Hansen even though, one can never sure… When he was 22 and still playing in Bjerringbro-Silkeborg, all the teams in Europe rushed to sign the next Danish diamond. Finally, it’s Rhein-Neckar Löwen who won the race. For three years, in Germany, Niklas Landin will perfect his art. In a typically Scandinavian way, he doesn’t do much in terms of moving his body between the posts but he’s very precise, often moving only an arm or a leg in order to stop the ball. Sober, but very effective. He builds himself a reputation of « shooter-eater », capable of the most magnificient performances in the most important games. No surprise, then, to see him wear the THW Kiel jersey and to be the unquestionnable number one with the Danish national team. And after many desillusions, he finally touched the Graal of every sport person of Earth last summer : he won the Olympic gold medal in Rio, defeating France in the final. The consecration, after losing three finals in European and World championships. And no doubt that, after tasting success, Niklas Landin would very much like to come back to it in 2017 in France…

Valérie Nicolas about Niklas Landin

“Niklas Landin is a very good goalkeeper who can make fantastic saves. He’s not really the most spectacular one, he’s got a very Nordic style with lots of saves in the bottom of the goal. His goalkeeping style shows him going down really quick to the ground with a lot of stretching involved. He might miss a little bit of regularity to reach the likes of Thierry Omeyer for instance, but it might be because of his age. A 27, he’s still a young goalkeeper who will bloom very shortly. For the time being, he’s able to be decisive in some games doing twenty or so saves. If he’s able to do that every game he plays, he won’t be far from being the best goalkeeper in the world.”

Niklas Landin about 2017 Men’s World Championships

“We look very much forward to participating in this championship. France always organize great events, so I have high expectations and look forward to seeing a lot of handball fans in the venues. I think the draw is quite okay for us. All teams in the group play well, but I think we have good chances to do well and qualify for the knockout-phase.”

The phenomenal play

In three saves, here is a short résumé of Niklas Landin’s style and efficiency. Against FC Barcelona, in a key game for the Champions League Final Four qualification, the Danish goalkeeper locks his goal in the last minutes of the game. Two head to head situations won, including one by « just »lifting his leg and one dive to prevent the ball from going into the unguarded net. And a qualification at the end !

Picture : Stéphane Pillaud/FFHandball