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10.10.2015, 18:20
A tough challenge after the departure of key players
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Women’s EHF Champions League club countdown: 6 days to go - FC Midtjylland (DEN)
 

A tough challenge after the departure of key players 

Helle Thomsen has a single focus: The coach of FC Midtjylland - one of the rare number of female coaches in the EHF Champions League - is only looking after for the Danish champions now. 

Before the start of the season, she ended her successful second job for the Swedish national team, crowned with the bronze medal at the EHF EURO 2014 in Budapest.

And Budapest was the place where Thomsen and her team were in May 2014 too, as FCM made it to the first ever MVM EHF FINAL4 in the Hungarian capital, finally ending up in the fourth position. 

Only some months later the dream of another successful Champions League season came to a rapid end, as Midtjylland surprisingly failed in qualification against Serbian champions Kragujevac. 

But what started disappointing, ended with a trophy, as Thomsen’s team won the the EHF Cup Winners’ Cup.

As FCM also became Danish champions after the league finals against Esbjerg, they qualified directly for the group matches this season. 

After this success, two key players from the back court axis went south eastward: Dutch striker Nycke Groot to Györ and Line Jorgensen to Bucuresti.

The biggest names among the new arrivals are Danish international Louise Burgaard who arrives from Viborg and Swedish playmaker Johanna Ahlm who transferred from Esbjerg. 

In addition, Midtjylland signed Serbian goalkeeper Ana Vojcic to join experienced Sabine Englert between the goal posts.

And all of them have high hurdles to cross in the group matches, as FCM will have to face two-time Champions Györ, two-time FINAL4 participant Vardar and record winners Hypo in Group C. 

So the first goal of the four times Danish champions is quite humble: to qualify for the main round.

“To be part of the Champions League is what all clubs and players dream about. 

“ The Champions League is where the biggest clubs will battle, and we are humble to be able to participate, so all our players, fans and sponsors are excited to be part of it,” says FCM manager Hans Peter Riis, adding: 

“We will fight to stay in this competition as long as possible.”

For team captain Sabina Jacobsen “it was a hard draw, but we are looking forward to facing some of the best teams in Europe. 

“To play against the best players and teams are what we as players are driven by. 

“It will be a hard challenge, but we aim for the main round.”


FC Midtjylland (DEN)

Newcomers: Louise Burgaard (Viborg), Veronica Kristiansen (Glasvaerket), Anna Vojcic (Randers), Johanna Ahlm (Esbjerg) 

Left the club: Nycke Groot (Györ), Line Jorgensen (Bucuresti), Ida Alstad (Byasen) 

Coach: Helle Thomsen (since 2012)

Team captain: Sabina Jacobsen

Opponents in the group phase: Vardar, Hypo and Györ in Group C


Qualification for the 2015/16 EHF Women’s Champions League season: Danish champions

EHF Women’s Champions League records:

Participations (including 2013/2014 season): 9

Semi-final: 2002/03, 2013/14

Quarter-final: 1998/99, 2004/05

Main Round: 2003/04, 2008/09, 2011/12

Group Matches: 2003/04

Qualification: 2014/15


Other EC records:

Cup Winners’ Cup:

Winner 2003/04, 2014/15

Semi-finalist 1999/2000

EHF Cup

Winner 2001/02, 2010/11

Finalist 2006/07

Semi-Finalist 2007/08, 2012/13

City Cup

Winner 1997/98

Finalist 1996/97

Semi-finalist 1994/95

Danish champions: 1998, 2011, 2013, 2015

Danish Cup winners: 1991, 1999, 2000, 2012, 2014


TEXT: Björn Pazen / bc
 
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