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09.07.2015, 13:30
Gullden goes to Romania with high expectations
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INTERVIEW OF THE WEEK: Swedish playmaker Isabelle Gullden expects to reach the Women’s EHF FINAL4 with her new club, CSM Bucuresti
 

Gullden goes to Romania with high expectations

It will be a big leap for Isabelle Gullden when she starts her new career by Romanian champions CSM Bucuresti. So far, the 26-year-old Swedish international has been playing only for clubs in Scandinavia – first her childhood and early youth club IK Sävehof, and for the past four years Viborg HK in Denmark.

But the centre back is ready for the next step, and she will probably not feel too alone in the ambitious EHF Champions League club, where there will be several other Scandinavians.

Dane Mette Klit is the head coach, while among the players is fellow Swedish national team member Linnea Torstensson, Gullden’s former Viborg teammate Maria Fisker, and a second Danish international, Line Jorgensen.

ehfCL.com: What are your expectations ahead of your start in CSM Bucuresti?

Isabelle Gullden: They are pretty big. I am sure I am joining a club where I can develop a lot and fulfil my ambitions. I believe we can go far in the Champions League already in the first season.

efhCL.com: What is your impression of your new club so far?

Isabelle Gullden: It is a very ambitious club, and it is my distinct feeling so far that we will be training more handball – training more with the ball, actually – than I have been used to so far. Of course, we are many new players who need to be integrated, but I am sure we will all be fine.

ehfCL.com: CSM will be your first club outside Scandinavia. How do you feel about that?

Isabelle Gullden: It will be a bit like moving away from home, I think. Of course, the mentality and the culture will be different, but I feel ready for that and besides, there will be other Scandinavians there, and they have a Danish coach as well. This will help me a lot to integrate, I am sure.

ehfCL.com: Has the fact that CSM have a Danish coach, and even a former assistant coach from Viborg, played a part in the choice of CSM as your new club?

Isabelle Gullden: I never actually had Mette Klit as a coach before, as she and Jakob Vestergaard had left Viborg when I joined the club – but yes, it has played a part that she is there. I know Mette as a hard coach, but also as a fair coach, and that is a fine combination in my opinion.

ehfCL.com: What do you take with you from your four years in Viborg?

Isabelle Gullden: I have developed a lot in Viborg and I have had a great time there. Viborg has been my club and my town for so long, so I obviously take a lot with me. I will always be thinking of all my experiences and all the great people there with happiness.

ehfCL.com: IK Sävehof will be among your new team’s opponents in the EHF Champions League group phase. What is it like for you to be meeting your old club?

Isabelle Gullden: It will be a bit like coming home – at the away game in Partille in particular, of course. They have been weakened considerably by losing several players, so we will probably be favourites, but it will still be great to meet with all the people I know there.

Our last group match will be against them, so I hope that will be a great finish to the group phase and a great preview before travelling to the World Championship with the Swedish national team!



 

ehfCL.com: The two other teams in your group are reigning EHF Champions League winners Buducnost and Polish champions MKS Selgros Lublin. How do you see your group?

Isabelle Gullden: It is an okay group, I think. Buducnost will probably be favourites, especially as we may not have our team playing completely together at that time, but I am sure we will still be strong enough to proceed after all.

ehfCL.com: How far do you think you can go in the EHF Champions League with CSM?

Isabelle Gullden: We will obviously need some time to make our team tick, but I am sure we will be stronger as the tournament proceeds. Actually, I believe we can reach the FINAL4 in our first season!

ehfCL.com: Does it mean something special to you that the World Championship 2015 is taking place in Denmark, where you have been playing for the last four years?

Isabelle Gullden: Yes, it does for sure. It will be almost like playing on home ground, and besides, I have some great memories of our latest championship in Denmark (the EHF EURO 2010) where we took the silver medal, so playing in Denmark again is definitely something I am looking forward to.

ehfCL.com: Will we see Sweden take a medal once again?

Isabelle Gullden: I would love to promise you that, and of course, I hope we will. We have been drawn to a fine group (with Cuba, Netherlands, Poland, China and Angola).

On the other hand, the group we will be crossing for the knock-out matches appears considerably stronger (Denmark, Montenegro, Hungary, Serbia, Japan and Tunisia). However, I think we have a very strong team at the moment, so nothing is impossible.


TEXT: Peter Bruun / cg
 
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