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14.03.2014, 16:40
Hermansson Högdahl: The competition has become more open
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INTERVIEW: The top bracket of clubs in women’s club handball has become larger, finds Mia Hermansson Högdahl who won the tournament for the second time in succession with Hypo Niederösterreich in the 1994/95 season

»EHF CL Channel »2013-14 Women's News
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Hermansson Högdahl: The competition has become more open

Mia Hermansson-Högdahl´s career was really at its peak back in the 1994/95 season. In 1994 she was awarded World Handball Player of the Year, and on 7 May 1995, she and her teammates from Hypo Niederösterreich celebrated their second triumph in succession in the Women’s EHF Champions League.

A 26:19 home win against Podravka Koprivnica in the second leg of the final more than made up for the 17:14 defeat in Croatia in the first leg a week previous.

“I remember us playing a poor first game, which we lost by three, and forced us to play considerably better in the return match, but apart from that I remember us being very good that season,” the 48-year-old former Swedish international recalls.

“We were a very international side with a lot of different nationalities represented in the outfit. It is always a challenge to make many different cultures work together, but we formed a good mix, I think.

“Our coach, Arne Högdahl was good at making us work as a unit, and our manager Gunnar Prokop was just as good at making everything around the team work.

“We played very fast and were good in our counter-attacks. That was part of the reason for our success. Another part was training. I have never trained as much as I did in those years in Hypo,” smiles Mia Hermansson Högdahl, who also had a brilliant career in the Swedish national team along with her triumphs with Hypo Niederösterreich. Her 216 internationals and 1,091 goals are both still Swedish records.

Hanging on to handball

The following year, the 1995-96 season, Podravka got their revenge, defeating Hypo by one goal on aggregate in the final, but that was without Hermansson Högdahl in the Austrian team, even though she was still under contract at the club.

“I got pregnant towards the end of 1995,” she explains.

After her successful years in Hypo Niederösterreich she played three years in Norway at Byasen and she had just started a career in Spanish handball with Milar Valencia, when an injury forced her to bring her career to an end in 2000.

However, she has been hanging on to handball after she ended her active career.

"I have been employed by The Norwegian Handball Federation since 2003, first as an analyst, and since 2009 as assistant national coach, and I am really happy to still have a position in handball,” says Hermansson Högdahl (pictured right celebrating the silver medals at the 2012 EHF EURO), who quite naturally is still following the Women´s EHF Champions League closely.

“My impression of the current level in the competition is very positive. I think there are many really good teams and the tournament is definitely much more equal than when I played there.

“These days, there are much more teams who can take points from each other than in the past. We have seen that in particular in the main round group where Larvik are, but also in the other group, where a team like Sävehof may be outsiders but are still able to match up with most of the other teams,” says the former centre back.

“I wish we had a FINAL4 in my days”

“I am sure that this will mean that we will also see handball of a very high quality at the (Women’s EHF) FINAL4 in Budapest in May,” she expects.

“I think it is a really great idea with this new format. I have been to Cologne for the men´s version, which is really a great event and I expect the event in Budapest to be something like it.

“I only wish we had had such an event in the days when I played,” says Mia Hermansson Högdahl in conclusion.


TEXT: Peter Bruun / cor
 
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