From ball boy to pro: Christopher Bissell, Erlangen handball player. – Sports

Philip Lamm, for example, or Manuel Neuer. And of course Thomas Muller. Christopher Bissell is one of a number of famous athletes, all of whom have fulfilled their dream of becoming professional ball players. The handball player from HC Erlangen went through all the youth teams of his club, recommended himself to the second team for preliminary training sessions with the pros, and finally made the breakthrough – a unique selling point, at least in Bavaria. And that is in the strongest league in the world, which cannot necessarily be said about the German League. The 26-year-old recently extended his contract with the booming First Division club for another three years, and a long and difficult season ends on Sunday with a home game against Balingen-Weilstetten. The soiree theme was flagged up in the second half of the season, and some observers have given more credence to the team that has a notable crew.

On the other hand, the traditional Franconian club could achieve the greatest success in the club’s history: no one thought that it could reach the fourth final in the cup. Among other things, they got rid of the four-time cup winner, SG Flensburg-Handewitt, a competitor who not only has much better financial prospects. The left winger Bissell can claim a fair share of it. Bissell is a leader, someone who always does his best.

Bissell is a toxic defender, with the second most steals in the league in terms of ball wins these days. Roughly 85 percent of his throws fall into the goal, which is also an excellent value. “Chrissy is a passionate leader and his physical style of play is also very important because he can always inspire the whole team,” HCE General Manager Rene Silky said recently when his contract was extended. But what is particularly important to the club is Bissel’s close association with his hometown club. Born in Erlangen, he has a good relationship with fans, after all he comes from among them. For a professional company, such sentiments are worth their weight in gold, Selke also knows: “Because of his close association with his hometown, he is of course the defining personality of everyone in Erlangen. We are very happy we can build on for another three years.”

Bissell had to go through the steel bath of all talents – long trips away and then not a minute of work

The path was not easy, even Bissell had to go through the steel bath of all talent on his way to becoming a professional athlete. Initially a soccer player, he tried base handball at his school – and stumbled: “When the effort became so great that you had to make a decision, I enjoyed the handball more and my teammates were closer to me.” Bissell has always been hard-working and ambitious. After the youth, he played for two years in the U23, in parallel with the first team. Coach Robert Anderson brought him to the pros. The Swede is an old coach, the young players had to make their way. But also the one who rewards performance, Bissell remembers: “He didn’t line up by name. If you did your best in training, he let you play.”

Bissell had a name. After all, it was Father Carsten who took over the management of the club in dilapidated condition eleven years ago and made it what it is today. As the boss, he sets the direction, pulls the strings, but likes to stay in the background. The lawyer does not interfere in sports matters, especially with his son. Which wasn’t always easy. Carsten Bissel talks about trips abroad through Germany, where his son spent hours on the bus and then sat on the bench throughout the match. The father never interfered, for Christopher the name was just a problem at first: “Of course it was like that in the beginning, you generally have to prove yourself as a young player first. If this backstory continues, then he will be looked upon with a particularly critical look. But it was not the case. As if I was blamed.” The topic never came up in the team world, and soon his ever-increasing performance made him disappear completely.

Passionate leader and personality: Christopher Bissell was born in Erlangen and has an especially good relationship with fans, as here after his Round of 16 victory over Wetzlar.

(Photo: Wolfgang Zink / Imago)

Under Anderson’s successor, Adalstein Egolfsson, the jump into the main formation was a success because then regular left winger Martin Stranovsky was injured. The Slovak international had arrived from Barcelona and was the club’s first name, but Bisel’s performance was so consistent that the Iceland coach kept his faith. Four years have passed since then. At the beginning of the second half of the current season, Raul Alonso took over as coach of the team. Like his predecessors, he has only positive words about his left winger: “He is a player who gives 100% every day, in every training session. Chrissy is very professional and very ambitious.” Such players make the coach’s job easy, and “Bissel has developed an extraordinary handball development in the past few months. He has always surprised us with his fantastic performances.” Alonso is “happy that I can continue to plan with him.”

Another thing that makes Christopher Bissell a special professional: in addition to his sports career, he passed the second state exam in law. This also should not be unique to Bavaria.

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