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23.09.2018, 09:00
Rebuilding Larvik hope to create an upset
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Women’s EHF Champions League countdown: Larvik HK (NOR). Once again, Larvik will play the EHF Champions League Group Matches, but the once-so-dominant Norwegian club do not enter the season as domestic champions
 

Rebuilding Larvik hope to create an upset

After 13 years of unbroken dominance in women’s handball in Norway, Larvik had to witness Vipers Kristiansand taking the national title last season. Reclaiming the championship trophy and being successful in the Champions League are the main projects for the south Norwegian club in 2018/19, but new head coach Geir Oustorp knows it will be hard work.

Three questions before the season:
What can Larvik achieve in the EHF Champions League 2018/19?


In Group A, where their opponents are two national champions – Montenegrin side Buducnost and French Metz Handball – as well as Danish runners-up Odense HC, Larvik appear to be the underdogs when it comes to qualifying for the main round.

“We know that Metz are very strong, Buducnost have been reinforced by getting Katarina Bulatovic back, and Odense is the best team in Denmark in my opinion, although they did not win the championship last season. So, it will obviously be tough,” admits head coach Oustorp.

What can new head coach Geir Oustorp do with the team?

Filling the shoes of legendary Tor Odvar Moen, who has moved to Hungarian Siofok, will not be easy – and the fact that several key players have left the club does not help. However, Oustorp can look forward to building on the Champions League experience gained with his former club Glassverket.

“Building a new team here in Larvik is an interesting job, but also a challenge that takes some time. However, I am glad we have got Mari Molid back. After her fine season in Danish club Randers last year, I have high expectations of her,” says Oustorp.

Can Larvik return to the top of Norwegian handball?

It seems to be harder for them to achieve success in the Champions League this season than it does for Norwegian champions Vipers, but the team from Kristiansand appears to be the biggest obstacle for Larvik’s hopes to reclaim the Norwegian title.

“Several experts expect us to finish third in Norway this season, and those experts may very well be right,” says Oustorp.

Self-esteem

Larvik know they are no longer at the level from when they won the Champions League in 2011 and reached the final again in 2013 and 2015.

“Our financial situation is tight, and at the moment, we are probably on the level we can afford,” says Oustorp. “In our Champions League group, our home games may very well decide our destiny.

“Playing against the best teams in the world is both motivating and what the whole club is aiming for.”

Under the spotlight: Cassandra Tollbring

The older sister of Swedish international Jerry Tollbring will feel some extra responsibility on her shoulders this season. The 25-year-old playmaker and left back, who joined from Höörs HK in her homeland last year, will be even more crucial to Larvik as Kristine Breistøl has left for Team Esbjerg in Denmark and experienced Tine Stange is pregnant.

Fun fact

Meeting Buducnost in the group matches will be deja vu for Larvik, who faced the Montenegrin side in the Champions League Final in 2015 and again in the quarter-final of the 2016/17 season. Larvik will be seeking revenge for defeats on both occasions.

What the numbers say

Larvik won the Norwegian championship 13 years in a row before losing the title to Vipers Kristiansand last season.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Redo for første hjemmematch, er du?Onsdag Boligmappa Arena 1800⚔️

A post shared by Karoline Lund (@karolinelundd) on


Larvik HK (NOR)

Qualified for the Women’s EHF Champions League 2018/19 season: Norwegian runners-up

Newcomers: Mari Molid (Randers), Yasminee Gluic (Follo), Karoline Lund (Aker), Sara Møller (Follo), Marte Figenschau (Stabæk)

Left the club: Kristine Breistøl (Team Esbjerg), Thea Mørk (København)

Coach: Geir Oustorp (since summer 2018)

Team captain: Mari Molid

Women’s EHF Champions League record:
Participations (including 2018/19 season): 20
Winners (1): 2010/11
Runners-up (2): 2012/13, 2014/15
Semi-finals (4): 2001/02, 2003/04, 2009/10, 2011/12
Quarter-finals (5): 2000/01, 2002/03, 2006/07, 2015/16, 2016/17
Main Round (1): 2013/14
Group Matches (6): 1994/95, 1997/98, 2005/06, 2007/08, 2008/09, 2017/18

Other EC records:
EHF Cup:

Runners-up (1): 1995/96
Quarter-final (1): 2017/18

Cup Winners’ Cup:
Winners (2): 2004/05, 2007/08
Runners-up (1): 2008/09
Semi-final (2): 1996/97, 2005/06
Quarter-final (1): 1998/99
Last 16 (1): 1999/00

Norwegian league: 19 titles (1993/94, 1996/97, 1999/00–2002/03, 2004/05–2016/17)
Norwegian Cup: 17 titles (1995/96, 1997/98, 1999/00, 2002/03–2006/07, 2008/09–2016/17)

 


TEXT: Peter Bruun / cg
 
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