‘Did you enjoy it a bit’, Bloemendaal captain Glenn Schuurman asked after the 3-0 semi-final match in the EHL against Club de Campo. He put a big smile on his face. Not only because of reaching the second consecutive final of the most important European club tournament, but also because Schuurman celebrated his 30th birthday. “In that sense, it’s a nice birthday present, but I’d be happy to exchange this gift for the cup.”
Schuurman himself had also enjoyed it. His team put down a fine pot on Saturday in the Wagener Stadium against the second Spanish opponent this week. On Thursday, Atlètic Terrassa was already 2-1 over the Bloemendaal knee. “We set a high-level today, especially in the first half. Then we made the difference. We played that out in the second half’, said Schuurman.
Feared to counter
Beforehand, Bloemendaal coach Rick Mathijssen emphasized that Club de Campo should not be underestimated. The current number three in the Spanish league is known as a counter team with lightning-fast strikers.
However, the Spaniards did not get to their game. From the start signal they were grabbed by the throat by Bloemendaal. After seven minutes, the Sparrows were already leading 2-0. “We wanted to put pressure on them right away and try to play forward as much as possible. We wanted to establish a certain foundation in the first half, on which we could build on in the second half’, Schuurman explained the battle plan.
So that plan was successful. After 56 seconds Jorrit Croon appeared in the Spanish circle and shot the ball hard into the roof of the goal. ‘That was a global campaign by Jorrit. I haven’t seen them like that very often. It immediately put us in a good position.’
Make a difference quickly
Six minutes later, Tim Swaen pushed in the 2-0 from a penalty corner. ‘That was very nice. In these kinds of competitions you want to make a difference very quickly’, explained Schuurman. ‘Towards the end, fatigue can play a role. If you’re still tied, it could go either way.’
Schuurman cited the game against Terrassa as an example. ‘In the last five minutes they made it 2-1, while we were the better team the whole game. That way we still got into unnecessary trouble. We’ve been ahead of that today.’
The two quick goals were already a blow to Club de Campo, which was dealt a final blow after Alejandro Alvarez was sidelined for ten minutes due to a yellow card after a foul on Jasper Brinkman. Last namesake Thierry then scored the 3-0. ‘These are the crucial moments,’ said Schuurman. ‘Do you handle the redundancy situation well or do you let it simmer and deal with it a little halfway. But when we had to kill, we did. That made the difference.’
Schuurman: ‘We learned from that match against Terrassa. We really wanted to push through and after the 3-0 they kind of gave up. It was played.’
Rot-Weiss Cologne in the final
Bloemendaal’s opponent in the final will be Rot-Weiss Köln, after beating Surbiton in the semi-finals. “I can see who we have to play against. We are concerned with our own game. I had no preference. I don’t think I’ve ever played against both teams. Bring it on.’
Schuurman hopes that his bosom friend Roel Bovendeert will be available again. The striker is struggling with a hamstring injury and was sidelined in both EHL games. ‘I’ve known Roel for a long time. At the moments where I thought: it won’t come back, it was suddenly there again. I’m hopeful about that, but we’re not going to take any unnecessary risks, especially with a hamstring. Anyway, who knows, maybe he’ll fly to the second pole again on Monday.’
The fourth EHL title?
Bloemendaal can become the first team to extend an EHL title. On a personal level, Schuurman can become a European club champion for the fourth time. An honour that he has to share with teammates Jaap Stockmann, Wouter Jolie and Bovendeert. “That would be bizarre, of course, but I’d rather not talk about it before that.”