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03.09.2007, 13:51
Adventure just over the border
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Jurack, Althaus, Reiche – three Germans want to win “titles, titles and titles” with Viborg.
 

Adventure just over the border

Grit Jurack has been with Viborg since 2005Looking on the history of the Women’s Champions League, you can see little success for German teams. Since the group system was introduced, no German team could go on from their group. So it’ not a great surprise that only one German female player ever won the Champions League: Grit Jurack.

The 29-year old Leipzig-born player is the most experienced player in the current national team. She is also the all-time goal record holder for the German team with more than 1,000 goals so far. She was the first German star who moved to Denmark, but only after two years in Ikast, she returned to Leipzig. Not for a long time, though. Viborg bought the left-hander out of her contract in 2005 and in her first season with Viborg, she nearly won everything a player could win.

Jurack scored over 1,000 goals in the national teamWithin only one week in May 2006, she has become the first German to be Danish champion (in a final against Slagelse) and the first German to win the Champions League (hard work against Slovenian top club, Krim Ljubljana).

 

 

 

Jurack the pioneer

“The best moment of my life,” Jurack said about raising the big CL trophy. As she speaks perfect Danish now, she wants to spend the rest of her career in Denmark.

“I feel so good, everything is brilliant – the training conditions, the team, the country,” she said after signing a new contract valid until 2009. In the last season, her club stood in the shadow of Slagelse. At first, Viborg failed in the Champions League quarterfinal against finalist Togliatti, and afterwards Viborg lost the Danish finals in Toms Ligaen against the Anja Andersen team that also won the Champions League later on.

Anja Althaus in her new club's jerseyDream come true for Althaus

In the forthcoming season however, everything might get better for Jurack. And not only for her but also for two other German national players who joined Viborg during the summer. Pivot Anja Althaus came from the 2003 German champion DJK/MJC Trier and back court player Nora Reiche from the 2006 champion, HC Leipzig (the former club of Jurack). For both of them it’s the first experience abroad in their career.

Few CL games, but lot of international experience“Every day, every training session is an adventure to me,” says Althaus (25), the best pivot in Germany. After moving to Denmark, she was highly impressed by the club:

“I play with some players who I used to look up before and say: ‘It would be a dream to play in the same club with them.’ Now I am in the same club with Bojana Popovic, for example.”

 

   


Reiche learning from the best

Nora Reiche (23) has the same feelings – especially regarding Jurack: “I was 21 when she went to Denmark. I played in her position at first in the club, later in the national team as well. Now I play together with Grit. We are not opponents on the right back position, she is the teacher, I am the pupil – and I hope to learn a lot.”

Nora Reiche will learn from JurackShe also speaks of “a great adventure”, when talking about Denmark. She is impressed by the hard work during the training sessions:

“We train longer, much longer than in Germany, but afterwards we also get more time to rest. As we have a long season with League, Cup and Champions League, you have to be fit. With such a great number of matches, I see a chance to play.”

Reiche and Althaus both started their Danish lessons just when they arrived, but the biggest help is still Jurack.

“When the Danish speak slowly I have no big problem, but especially during the matches, when they speak very fast, I understand nothing,” says Althaus, “and then I just look at Grit and she explains everything to me.”

Celebrating a goal against Russia at euro06Althaus and Jurack understand each other rather well on court too:

“I look her in the eyes, and she knows the next action. We do not even have to talk. This is not only good for Viborg, but also for the national team,” says Jurack.

 


Plenty to play for

Althaus and Reiche signed for three years for Viborg and they have high hopes for the future. At first, at the World Championship in December, they want to win the first medal at a big tournament for Germany since 1997. Then they all have the same wish:

“We want titles, titles and titles,” says Althaus. “This will be one of the biggest experiences for us to play in the Champions League and maybe get to the final.”

Coach Ryde is pleased with the German girlsIn fact, the coach of Viborg is very satisfied with his German trio:

“The Germans have a good mentality in playing handball. They fight, they train hard, and they nearly have the same handball philosophy in their heads as we have in Denmark,” says coach Thomas Ryde. “I think we will have a lot fun and success with them.”


TEXT: Björn Pazen
 
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