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05.02.2015, 14:34
Larvik accept being favourites in Scandinavian derby
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FEATURE: Viborg expect to be able to play freely, while Larvik are keen on staying undefeated in the Women's EHF Champions League.
 

Larvik accept being favourites in Scandinavian derby

It will be two teams, who got off to a great start in Group 2 of the main round, who meet in Arena Larvik on Saturday evening.

While Larvik won 26:25 away against reigning double EHF Champions League winners Györi Audi ETO KC, Viborg defeated Metz Handball 27:26 at home in spite of missing seven players due to injuries.

That was a performance which impressed Larvik's assistant coach and future head coach Tor Odvar Moen.

“Of course, Viborg had the home advantage, but still they made an impressive performance.

“However, even though they are haunted by injury, they still have a quite frightening back court line, with Rikke Skov, Isabelle Gulldén and Louise Burgaard.

“They do have some challenges by having a new line player. It always takes some extra time to get a new line player integrated in a team, and furthermore, their many injuries means that their substitutes are not exactly top of the world.

“They are interesting young players, but they do not have much Champions League experience, and we should try to make use of that by keeping the game on a high speed Saturday,” says Tor Odvar Moen who will see Viborg adding a further back court player to their squad for the Saturday game, as Serbian left back Sanja Damnjanovic is reported fit from injury again.

Skov: A free game for us

A player, who was crucial in Viborg's win against Metz on Monday, and who will be just as important against Larvik, is left back and defence leader Rikke Skov.

The 34-year-old veteran, who was part of all Viborg's Champions League triumphs, in 2006, 2009 and 2010, obviously knows the Champions League inside out, and her experience means a lot to the Danish champions in matches like these.

“The match against Larvik will be a match where we can play freely, a bit like we could against Metz.

“In that game, no one really expected us to be able to win because of our many injuries, and this meant that we never panicked, even when they caught up with our three-goal lead,” Rikke Skov explains.

“Against Larvik, I think we can play even more freely, as no one could really expect us to win, even if we did not have six or seven injuries.

“I do not say that we are going to lose, of course, but Larvik would always be favourites, no matter what.

“It is important, however, they we do not collapse mentally, even if we fall behind with four or five goals, but simply go on fighting, as we did against Metz,” says Skov who agrees that the Larvik match is some kind of a bonus match to her and her teammates.

“You can say that, as we took a big step towards the quarter-finals through our win against Metz, and if we can get some more of our injured players fit for our next match at home against Baia Mare, I think that things look really promising,” Rikke Skov tells ehfCL.com.

Moen: Viborg still an international top team

Even though Viborg no longer have the strength of the days when they won the Champions League three times within four years, Tor Odvar Moen still has a lot of respect for his team's opponent Saturday night.

“I think Viborg are still to be regarded as an international top team, and on their best days, they will cause trouble for any team in the Champions League.

“However, we should still be able to maintain our status as the only team in the women's Champions League with a perfect record.

“Of course, we are favourites at home, as we should probably be every time we play at home. We accept being favourites, also Saturday, but that does not mean that we expect an easy task Saturday. We definitely do not,” says Tor Odvar Moen.

Follow the match live on Saturday at 18:30 hrs local time live on ehfTV.com


TEXT: Peter Bruun / br
 
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