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25.09.2018, 19:40
Ambitious Kobenhavn out to learn
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Women’s EHF Champions League Countdown: Kobenhavn Handball (DEN). Newcomers Kobenhavn are here to learn at first, but have an eye on the big prize
 

Ambitious Kobenhavn out to learn

Kobenhavn Handball are in the Women ́s EHF Champions League to learn, but long-term, their ambitions are huge.

Their objective is to reach the Women ́s EHF FINAL4 in 2020 at the latest. After defeating Odense HC in three close Danish championship clashes, the Champions League debutants from the capital are hungry for more.

Three questions before the new season

What can Kobenhavn achieve in their first season?

Considering many of their players have plenty of international experience at a high level, national team as well as club level, they may go far despite being debutants. CEO Janni Møller Thomsen is cautious, but optimistic.

“We are attending the Champions League for the first time, which we are very humble about, but also confident, that we will be great representatives for our capital Copenhagen and Denmark.

“Our first milestone will be to qualify for the main round in January, and after that we will set up new goals,” she says.

What will the arrival of Norwegian top goalkeeper Emily Stang Sando mean to the team´s chances?

Sando was made redundant by their rivals Odense who signed Dutch international Tess Wester, and that turned out to be Kobenhavn‘s fortune.

Partnering with Swedish international Johanna Bundsen, Sando contributes to Kobenhavn having one of the strongest goalkeeper duos in the entire competition.

Is the squad deep enough to cope with the Champions League besides the physically challenging Danish league?

Kobenhavn are well equipped with two highly qualified players in each position and newcomers such as Thea Mørk on the left wing and Linn Blohm on the line guarantee quality as well as experience.

Still, captain Jenny Alm has her concerns. “As not many in the team has experience in the Champions League, we are going to learn as we play. We are going to enjoy every match and play our game in the way we play best.

“Hopefully, we can go through to the main round with some extra points,” says Alm, who has previous Champions League experience, not only from Sävehof, but with Danish side Esbjerg.

Self esteem

“This season, we are in the Champions League to learn, not with the expectation of winning it,” club owner Kim Mikkelsen has stated, and CEO Janni Møller Thomsen expresses pretty much the same view when looking at Kobenhavn’s group.

“In the Champions League, there are only strong opponents and the three teams we meet are no exception.
“Brest Bretagne has a very strong team and has signed even more skilled players for this season, and they are in our opinion candidates for the FINAL4.

“Rostov Don were in Budapest last season, which says it all – and the team this season looks even stronger. They have a great history with handball, and we look forward to visit the arena in Rostov, as it has a reputation of being a fantastic atmosphere.

“Sävehof are the opponents, we know best as several of our players have played in Sävehof and we look forward to this derby. There is always a little extra spice, when teams from Denmark and Sweden meet.”

Under spotlight: Mia Rej

“I played a divine season!” Rej stated on TV, as Kobenhavn had won the third and last final match against Odense in the Danish championship play-off last season.

The 28-year-old playmaker will need to play something similar to a divine season again if Kobenhavn are to be successful in the Champions League.

Rej, who has recently caught the eye of national coach Klavs Bruun Jørgensen too, is crucial to the attacking play of the team from the Danish capital.

Her speed, perception and eye for the game can and should be major assets to the Champions League debutants.

What the numbers say

Having been founded on 24. January 2013, Kobenhavn is a very young club for a Champions League participant, to say the least.

Fun fact

For goalkeeper Johanna Bundsen, the meetings with IK Sävehof will be special occasion as the 27-year-old Swedish national team goalkeeper played for Sävehof from 2007 until 2017.

Captain Jenny Alm also had a spell with the Swedish top team.

“For me, playing away against Sävehof will be like coming home,” says Alm.

Kobenhavn Handball

Qualified for the Women´s EHF Champions League as: Danish champions 2016-17

Newcomers: Linn Blohm (FCM Håndbold), Thea Mørk (Larvik HK), Emily Stang Sando (Odense HC), Marie Wall (H65 Höör), Amalie Milling (HIK Håndbold), Andrea Hansen (FIF Håndbold), Larissa Nusser (Dalfsen Handbal)

Left the club: Louise Svalastog Spellerberg (retired), Stine Knudsen (retired), Rikke Schou Ebbesen (no new club yet), Marie Tømmerbakke (retired), Myrthe Schoenaker (Oldenburg), Mia Marie Møldrup (MKS Lublin)

Coach: Claus Mogensen, since summer 2016

Team captain: Jenny Alm

Women’s EHF Champions League record:

Participations (including 2018/19  season): 4
Group matches (3): 2000/01, 2008/09, 2009/10

EHF Cup:
Quarter-final (1): 2013/14
Group Phase (1): 2017/18

Cup Winners’ Cup:
Winners (1): 2008/09
Semi-final (1): 2003/04

Danish league: 1 title (2018)


TEXT: Peter Bruun / cor
 
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