“I always feel good about playing Lada,” says Hagman
Most likely, more than one eyebrow was raised all over Europe, as the result of the Group D match in the Women’s EHF Cup between Nykøbing Falster Håndbold and Handball Club Lada last Saturday became known.
No less than 35:23 did the European debutants from Denmark defeat the Russian-side, who had eliminated the Danish top team Viborg HK with a nine-goal aggregate during the qualifiers. Lada were generally seen as one of the strongest teams in the group phase.
To one of the Nykøbing players, the clear win did not come as that big a surprise though.
Swedish international, Nathalie Hagman was a part of the TTH Holstebro roster, who defeated Lada in the final of the Cup Winners’ Cup last season and this was not the first time Holstebro defeated the Russian squad.
“I have never lost against Lada, so I obviously have a good feeling every time I am facing them and this was also the case this time,” Nathalie Hagman tells eurohandball.com. “In fact, I think Lada were a bit better last season than they are now, where they have more young players in their team.”
“However, this does not mean that our performance was not great. When we play well, we play really well and in that game, we did extremely well on defence, which gave us those so-called ‘easy goals’ on counter attacks. In the attack, we also found our game and because of this, we were able to make a clear difference in the second half,” adds the 25-year-old right back.
EHF Cup important to the club and to the team
While the EHF Cup this season is far from being Nathalie Hagman’s first experience in a European Cup competition, it is the first time her current team, Nykøbing, are in a European tournament.
“I think it is important to NFH as a club to show their face in Europe and it also important to us as a team. Although I am not looking forward to the long trip to Lada later on, it is fun to play these international matches against other opponents than the teams we are used to meeting in the Danish league.”
“I also think it is vital for us as a team to play as many matches together as we can, in order for our relatively new team to get as much match experience as possible,” says Nathalie Hagman, who was also a crucial figure for the Swedish national team at the recent EHF EURO 2016. Hagman has had no problems motivating herself to compete in a new tournament so soon following the competition in her homeland this past December.
“That has not been a problem, although I can feel that my body is pretty tired. Playing in the matches is the fun part of it and as I said, playing these European matches is particularly fun, so I really feel motivated,” elaborates Hagman, who plays at the right back position for Nykøbing, but switches to the wing for the Swedish national team.
Possible key match in Germany
For Nathalie Hagman and her teammates from Denmark´s most southern top club, the next task in the EHF Cup will be the away game against TuS Metzingen on Saturday night.
Metzingen did not only reach the EHF Cup final last season, but the German-side also opened their group phase campaign in the EHF Cup this season with a 22:16 win in Norway against Glassverket – a squad that played in the group matches of the EHF Champions League back in autumn.
“I am very much looking forward to that match, which may be a key match in our group. I see Metzingen as being stronger than both Lada and Glassverket, but it will be a good test for our team. Additionally, it will also be good for us to be together on those journeys to away matches in Europe, even though this trip will not be particularly long,” says Nathalie Hagman.
TEXT: Peter Bruun/tm