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14.10.2015, 14:20
The Swedish champions again rely on youth academy
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Women’s EHF Champions League club countdown: 2 days to go - IK Sävehof (SWE)
 

The Swedish champions again rely on youth academy

Henrik Signell and IK Sävehof must feel like an academy for Europe’s best clubs: The Swedish club educates young players, gives them the chance to improve on the international stage, moulds them into becoming national team players, and then they transfer.

Like in previous years, two of the best Sävehof players have left the club now: Jenny Alm and Filippa Idehn, the famous goalkeeper who plays only in shorts and both EURO 2014 bronze medallists with Sweden, have signed for Danish side Team Esbbjerg.

In addition, club legend Ida Oden has brought her career too an end along with Jenny Wikensten.

“We are a club that is good at developing players, but this year we have lost five national team players.

“We will now start to create a new team and the Champions League is a great way to gain this experience.

“We will fight as a team and our goal is to go to the next round,” says manager Anders Eliasson.

So again, Signell has to start with a new squad with a younger generation of Swedish talent.

In domestic competitions, Sävehof are simply unbeatable, becoming national champions seven times in a row and nine times in the past ten years.

The club is well-known and well-settled in the EHF Champions League, and in the previous years they always made it to the main round.

Funnily enough they made history in the 2014/15 season by becoming the first ever main round participant to not win a single group match - thanks to three draws the edged out HC Lokomotiva Zagreb.

But in the main round they only took one win.

Five players from Sävehof’s youth teams were added to the all-Scandinavian squad with one player from Norway, Denmark and Iceland making up rest of the side from Sweden.

Among the new arrivals the biggest hopes are carried on the shoulders of 20-year-old Dane Rikke Jensen, arriving from Danish champions Midtjylland and experienced Norwegian Stine Lund Andreassen, arriving from French Challenge Cup winners Mios Bigamos.

Coach Signell remains realistic when it comes to their goals for the season: “In domestic competitions we want to stay on top, but we know it will be tougher this year because of the losses.

“In the Champions League our objective is to go to the next round and then we will see.”

The Swedes were drawn into Group D with defending champions Buducnost, uprising Romanians from Bucuresti (including the Swedish top stars Linnea Torstenson and Isabelle Gullden) and Polish champions Lublin.

“We are in a very tough group but we will do all we can to make it hard for our opponents,” says team captain Elin Enhorning, adding: “Buducnost are the defending champions, Bucuresti is a team full of stars.

"Those two teams are of course the favourites in the group. I see ourselves having a chance against Lublin, but I know they are really good team.”

Manager Eliasson hopes that the participation in the Champions League might help to improve the new team: “It’s always important and good to play these kinds of matches.

“Especially this year if you see the our young and inexperienced team we have now.

“We are rebuilding the teams and hopefully we can reach new heights.”

IK Sävehof (SWE)

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

Newcomers: Stine Lund Andreassen (Mios Beganos) Rikke Jensen (Midtjylland), Emma Ekenman Fernis (Spårvägen), Olivia Mellegard (Önnered), Hanna Eriksson (youth team), Thess Krönell (youth team, Tilda Olsson (youth team), Mimmi Eliasson (youth team), Isabella Mouratidou (youth team)

Left the club:  Jenny Alm (Team Esbjerg) Filippa Idehn (Team Esbjerg) Edijana Dafe (Kobenhavn) Ida Oden (end of career), Jenny Wikensten (end of career)

Coach: Henrik Signell (since 2012)

Team captain: Elin Enhorning

Opponents in the group matches: Buducnost, Bucuresti, Lublin in Group D

EHF Women’s Champions League records:
Participations (including 2015/16 season): 8
Main Round: 2013/14, 2014/15
Group Phase: 2007/08, 2010/11, 2012/13
Qualification: 2006/07, 2011/12

Other EC records:

Cup Winners’ Cup:
Last 16: 2011/12

Swedish champion: 1993, 2000, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015


TEXT: Björn Pazen / bc
 
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