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30.08.2018, 22:20
Skjern face tough title defence in Denmark
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SEASON PREVIEW: Reigning champions Skjern Handbold look to be narrow favourites in a Danish league, which appears to be the strongest in years
 

Skjern face tough title defence in Denmark

Defending a title is usually a tough job and Skjern Handbold, who became Danish champions for the first time in 19 years in the spring, also seem to have their work cut out for them, although the VELUX EHF Champions League quarter-finalists stand out as narrow favourites.

The biggest question in Skjern has been how to replace last season’s top scorer Markus Olsson, after the Swedish left back left for France.

The gap is partly being filled by former Danish international Thomas Mogensen, who has arrived from winning the German championship with SG Flensburg-Handewitt and by Slovenian international Jan Grebenc, joining from Rk Gorenje Velenje.

Another prominent newcomer, Icelandic international Bjørgvin Pal Gustavsson looks to become a perfect partner to one of Denmark’s greatest goalkeeper talents, Emil Nielsen, while the talented right wing Sebastian Augustinussen has been brought in from KIF Kolding Kobenhavn as a stand-in for the injured Rene Rasmussen.

“We are going to rotate our back court line a lot this season, where our increased number of options will also give us the opportunity to play faster and play even more fast breaks,” explains head coach Ole Nørgaard.

Møllgaard to lift Aalborg

Aalborg Handball may emerge as one of Skjern´s toughest rivals for the title.

Having signed Danish international Henrik Møllgaard from Paris Saint-Germain Handball, the team from northern Jutland appear strengthened in the defence as well as in the attack, while their goalkeeper duo has also been reinforced by the arrival of Norwegian talent Kristian Sæverås from Malmø HK as a backup to Swede Mikael Aggefors.

Another contender could be Ribe Esbjerg HH, provided their new head coach Lars Walther manages to integrate no less than 11 newcomers into his team.

Their most prominent new signing is probably German line player Jacob Heinl, who has joined after 14 years in SG Flensburg-Handewitt.

“After talking to the people from Ribe Esbjerg, I found this project so interesting that I simply felt I had to be part of it,” explained Jacob Heinl, who will join up with former Flensburg teammate Søren Rasmussen, a goalkeeper who has joined from Bjerringbro-Silkeborg.

Further prominent newcomers in Ribe Esbjerg are Icelandic internationals Runar Karason and Gunnar Steinn Jonsson as well as Norwegian shooting star Hermann Vildalen, all back court players.


TEXT: Peter Bruun / cor
 
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