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25.08.2017, 17:10
Homecoming veterans steal Danish league headlines
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FEATURE: Homecoming heroes Anders Eggert and Jesper Nøddesbo have stolen the headlines in Denmark ahead of a season, in which ruling champions Aalborg Handbold will be trying to defend their title and deal with the absence of Sander Sagosen
 

Homecoming veterans steal Danish league headlines

Two famous veterans returning to the Danish league have been stealing the headlines in Danish media ahead of the league season which starts on Thursday 31 August.

Danish international Anders Eggert has joined Skjern Handbold from SG Flensburg-Handewitt, while former international Jesper Nøddesbo moved to Bjerringbro-Silkeborg.

Eggert will hope to help Skjern avenge last season’s defeat to Aalborg in the Danish championship final last season, while Nøddesbo will try to help Bjerringbro-Silkeborg to regain the title they lost last season.

Both teams are likely to be in close combat for the title alongside reigning champions Aalborg who sustained a shock back in July as their home ground Gigantium caught fire. However, the damages turned out to be minor and Aalborg will be able to play their home matches in their usual venue.

While their arena recovered quickly after the fire, their team might have more trouble recovering from the departure of Sander Sagosen to Paris Saint-Germain Handball.

To replace the Norwegian shooting star, Andreas Holst Jensen has been signed from league rivals GOG at left back, while Croatian international Lovro Jotic from Zagreb is bringing VELUX EHF Champions League experience to the playmaker position.

Aalborg and Skjern favourites with a difficult campaign

A look at the squads makes last season’s finalists Aalborg and Skjern look like the favourites to fight out the title between them again.

However, unlike last season, both teams are in the VELUX EHF Champions League this season, and as always, the big question is how many physical and mental resources this will cost them.

In this respect, Skjern may have an edge, only having to play 10 matches in Group C compared to Aalborg’s 14 in Group B.

Apart from Anders Eggert, Swedish internationals Jesper Konradsson and Jonathan Stenbäcken have joined to strengthen the Skjern team for the league and the Champions League.

2016 champions Bjerringbro-Silkeborg may benefit from the favourites’ tough program.

Unlike last year, when they were in the Champions League, the central Jutland side must be expected to be subjected to less strain this season with the EHF Cup to contend with.

Anyway, having Jesper Nøddesbo as well as Michael V. Knudsen in the squad, the club can present the most experienced line player duo in the entire league.

Among the dark horses, TTH Holstebro can welcome Danish international Peter Balling back in the right back position after a long injury break, while the coaching team has also been enhanced.

Tom Eirik Skarpsno has joined from Norwegian top team Haslum as assistant to already successful Patrick Westerholm.

Ribe Esbjerg, who reached the semi-final of the championship play-off already last season, also look interesting with the arrival of Slovenian line player Miha Zvizej, who has joined from Champions League quarter-finalist Montpellier HB, as well as Egyptian international Yehia Elderaa on the left back to the talented squad.

Comeback for Wilbek

This season is also marking a comeback for former national coach and sports director by the Danish Handball Federations.

Willbek, who stepped down as sports director shortly after Denmark won the Olympic gold in Rio last year, has been attached to Tønder Håndbold as consultant in the club’s efforts to survive their second season in the top flight.


TEXT: Peter Bruun / cor
 
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