IVERSEN EYES STRONG START FOR TORUN
Danish champion Niels-Kristian Iversen is determined to get Torun’s PGE Ekstraliga season off on the right foot tonight.
05 / 04 / 2019, 10:48
Danish champion Niels-Kristian Iversen is determined to get Torun’s PGE Ekstraliga season off on the right foot tonight, but admits reigning champions Leszno are the team to beat.
Torun get their campaign started away to Zielona Gora tonight, while Czestochowa host Gorzow in the other opening-day contest.
I want to be there to make an impact. It’s going to be fun to get back on track there and hopefully start off on the right foot this time.
Iversen’s side fell just short of the play-offs in 2018 and the SGP star admits a slow start cost them as they lost five of their opening seven meetings. But he’s determined to put that right this time around as he joins forces with the likes of former world champions Jason Doyle and Chris Holder.
He said: “We had a bit of a tough start last year. We came really good in the second half of the season, but it was a little bit too late.
“We have a similar team this year and everything is open again. I am really looking forward to getting started there. It’s a good club and they have great conditions. I want to be there to make an impact. It’s going to be fun to get back on track there and hopefully start off on the right foot this time.”
Champions Leszno are gunning for a third straight championship, spearheaded by Emil Sayfutdinov, Janusz Kolodziej, Piotr Pawlicki and Jaroslaw Hampel, although the former world No.2 is currently sidelined with a broken shoulder.
His absence comes as a blow to the Bulls, but with every team having to track two Polish under-21s at reserve, having World Under-21 champion Bartosz Smektala and the promising Dominik Kubera at No.6 and No.7 could offer Leszno a huge advantage in covering for Hampel.
“Leszno look strong,” Iversen said. “They have an extremely strong one-to-seven with really strong juniors. Obviously that makes a big difference.
“It is speedway and you can never really say before we start what’s going to happen. There are a lot of different factors in winning meetings and you need a bit of luck as well. The boys need to stay clear of injuries and that has a lot to say.
“I think all the teams are strong in Poland and everybody is in there to try and reach the play-offs and get the championship. It’s no different this year.
“Leszno must be favourites. They have won it the last two years and still have the same team. You can’t take that away from them. There are other teams as well, though, and they are not unbeatable. We just have to do our best to beat them.”