On the podcast this week we talk to one of the best players in Europe so far this season, Spandau Berlin’s Dmitrii Kohlod.
During the talk with James, the Belarussian-born attacker tells us how he moved to play in Russia, first with Sturm 2002 and then with Dynamo Moscow. But very quickly, he realised he needed to leave to take his game to the next level.or
“Nobody really follows the championship, or, you know, nobody followed us, and at that time even the national team was, let’s say, not even in the top 8 in Europe, so nobody had interest in following this league. That’s why I wanted to leave the league. Despite the country being the biggest one in the world, the league is pretty small.”
Dmitrii is still not 100% satisfied that he has reached the most professional environment he can yet, though. Even in Spandau, there are problems. He explains:
“We are not a 100% professional club, to be honest. We have players who also coach or have a second job. Some of our players are kids who miss morning sessions because of school. We also have guys from the German national team who are soldiers in the army and have to go to military camps for one and a half months almost every year. This often means we train with only 5 or 6 players, which is not easy or fun for us or the coach to get ready for matches, especially against top teams. Before the first game against Jug Dubrovnik, the German national team collected our players for a training camp without any reason. We trained with only 6 or 7 players, and they came back just three days before the game. So, to be frank, we are only half a professional team. But we are not making excuses; we are just trying to give our best effort and fight every game. We are not thinking about whether we will win or not before the game. We will go to Dubrovnik, give everything we have, and see what the result is at the end of the game.”
Despite the problems Spandau faced though, this season the club from the German capital have been the surprise package in the Champions League, picking up two unexpected victories against Jug and Ferencvaros. Dmitrii gives his view on those games:
“It’s always nice to get points in the Champions League because I believe there are no weak teams, bad teams or bad players. So winning is always good. Frankly, Jug was very lucky to get points if you watched the game in Berlin. Even their coach said this in an interview. We weren’t surprised with the result in Dubrovnik because we prepared very well, analysing all the small details. We were physically and mentally trying to be as prepared as possible. We played with Ferencváros here, and of course, they were missing two or three guys. But this cannot be an excuse in the Champions League because they are a top team on paper. They are much better than us, and we are probably one of the weakest teams on paper in the Champions League with the lowest budget. But it’s not only about the paper, and we’re not looking for excuses.”
Dmitrii is always looking for new challenges, though, an still believes he can reach the next level, but not necessarily at Spandau:
“I don’t see myself staying for 5 years. As I said, I take it day by day. If I have the opportunity, I would like to take the next step to join a team at a higher level than ours. For example, there are some good leagues like the Hungarian, Italian, Spanish, or Serbian league. So, there isn’t anything specific, just that I am ready to take a step forward.”
Amongst other things in our talk, we discuss water polo in Russia, how the league operates, and the impact of the embargo on Russian athletes and clubs since last year.
As ever in part 2, we put your questions to Dmitrii. He gives his Total7, his favourite player, his future nation of representation and much more!
Listen to our episode with Dmitrii now! All the episodes of the Total Waterpolo Podcast are available on all major Podcast streaming services, such as Spotify, Apple Podcasts and YouTube. Don’t forget to head over to www.wearwaterpolo.com and use our discount code ‘PODCAST10’ for 10% off your next order!