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01.11.2017, 16:40
Fresh challenge, familiar faces for Hagman
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FEATURE: As Nathalie Hagman settles in Bucharest, several familiar faces will try to stop her new team. After winning the Danish league with Nykøbing, Hagman departed for CSM – and was defeated by her former side two weeks ago
 

Fresh challenge, familiar faces for Hagman

While Cristina Neagu surely stole the show this summer with her blockbuster transfer to CSM Bucuresti, the Romanian side were still in dire need of improvements to their roster. After Carmen Martin left for France, adding a right wing was a top priority – and the EHF Champions League 2015/16 winners duly delivered on their promise to create a powerhouse.

With 75 goals scored in the Women’s Cup Winners’ Cup 2015/16 for Holstebro and a tally of 68 in the Women’s EHF Cup last season for NFH – Nykøbing Falster Håndboldklub, Nathalie Hagman was quickly identified as the top candidate for the right wing spot at CSM.

The negotiations were not difficult, as Hagman was easily convinced by CSM’s offer and the team’s plan to become the best in Europe, creating a dynasty in the Women’s EHF Champions League.

A different culture

Arriving in Romania presented a very different challenge for the 26-year-old right wing, who previously played for teams only in Sweden or Denmark. Another culture, different teammates and her first season in the Women’s EHF Champions League could be enough to scare a player – but it did not work that way for Hagman:

“As a player who did not leave Scandinavia, yes, it was a totally different cup of tea for me. But I think everything is going well here,” she tells ehfcl.com, after almost four months with CSM.

“The teammates are perfect, and I like the city very much, even though it is busier than where I lived in Denmark or Sweden. Now I need to focus on handball and help the team be better.”

Reunion with NFH

In a surprising turn of fate, Hagman had little time to forget about her time in Nykøbing. The 2016 Swedish Handballer of the Year got the chance to play against her former club, as CSM and NFH were both drawn into Group A in Europe’s premier competition.

“It is always nice to play against a former club, but I must admit I was surprised to hear we were drawn in the same group. However, it is also hard to beat your ex-team, but, as a professional player, you need to be at your best and leave the emotions aside,” says Hagman.

A bittersweet trip

The trip to Denmark left the Swedish player with a bittersweet taste: “I felt welcome there, all the fans were clapping when they heard my name and it was such a special feeling.”

But the tables quickly turned, as CSM had their worst game of the season against NFH, losing 25:22 after leading with 10 minutes to go.

“Our coach, Helle Thomsen, is Danish, so she knows one or two things about Danish handball. So, I did not need to tell her much about NFH. But we knew that they were a good team and when they have a good day, they are tough to beat.

“Naturally, they had a good day against us, while we were bad. Our defence was not as good as we expected, and in attack, we did not execute what we prepared,” concluded usually high-scoring Hagman, who only managed two goals in that encounter.

Correct the mistakes

The defeat was a blow for CSM, who cruised to two straightforward wins against Krim and Gdynia in the opening two rounds of the season. There is no room for another defeat in this group phase, as Bucuresti prepare to host NFH on Saturday.

“We had a very bad day. I think it is virtually impossible to replicate that game. We will be prepared, we already analysed what went wrong and what we need to do to be better on our home court.

“Our team is very, very good and our objective is to reach the FINAL 4 in Budapest. Therefore, we have to make less mistakes. We will practice better and we will be the team everyone expects,” concluded Hagman.

If her prediction is to be proved correct, then CSM have to play as well as they did in the first two games of the season – and the talent to do so is clearly there.


TEXT: Adrian Costieu / cg
 
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