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30.01.2019, 15:30
Odense aim to transfer domestic brilliance to Danish derby
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FIRST HAND INSIGHT Having won all 19 matches in the Danish league so far and sitting 10 points ahead of Kobenhavn Handball, Odense HC are favourites for the Danish derby in Group 1 of the Women’s EHF Champions League on Monday
 

Odense aim to transfer domestic brilliance to Danish derby

The second round of matches in the Women's EHF Champions League features three national derbies and all three are the subject of this series of first-hand insights, breaking down both teams and comparing their relative strengths.

Despite a shaky start to this season’s Women's EHF Champions League, Odense HC have been untouchable in the Danish league.

19 wins in 19 league matches recorded by the team coached by Jan Pytlick makes them runaway leaders in the league and only once has a Danish team been able to defeat Odense this season.

That was probably the defeat that hurt the most, though, as Nykøbing Falster Handballklub won the Danish cup final 28:26.

Sitting 10 points ahead of Kobenhavn Handball in the league makes Odense favourites for their clash on Monday evening, when the two Danish representatives in the Women’s EHF Champions League meet for what may very well be a direct battle for a quarter-final berth.

Let us have a look at how the two teams stand against each other.

Attack
Advantage Odense

With no less than five Danish internationals in their usual starting line-up, Odense are better off.

With Mette Tranborg, Mie Højlund and Stine Jørgensen in the backcourt line, Trine Østergaard on the right wing and Kathrine Heindahl on the line, it is an outfit which is hard to beat for most teams.

Kobenhavn are well off on the right back with Anne Cecilie de la Cour and Hanna Blomstrand, but their backcourt line suffers from the absence of long-term injured playmaker Mia Rej.

On the line, Linn Blohm comes close to matching Heindahl, but of the left wing, the defending Danish champions are missing Thea Mørk, who has retired, as well as injured Maria Wall.

Defence
Tie

Statistically, these two teams actually have two of the weakest defences in their main round group, which is quite surprising, when you look at their defensive line-ups.

Odense have a quite strong and experienced defence, built around Danish international Kathrine Heindahl, but the defensive area of Kobenhavn’s team is also well organised with Dutch international Kelly Dulfer as the central player and leader.

The equality is also emphasised by the fact that Odense have conceded 189 goals so far in the Champions League, compared to 184 by Kobenhavn.

Goalkeepers
Advantage Odense

To the surprise of quite a lot of people, young Althea Reinhardt has actually been the most successful Odense keeper this season, where she has actually turned into Jan Pytlick´s first choice ahead of Dutch international Tess Wester, who joined ahead of this season.

With a save rate around 40 per cent in the Danish league alone and several stellar performance in the Champions League, the 22-year-old Danish international deserves her status

Together, this strong duo gives Odense the edge over Kobenhavn, where Swedish international Johanna Bundsen is still suffering from the aftermaths of a concussion sustained before EHF EURO 2018.

Norwegian Emily Stang Sando and young Amalie Milling form a rather reliable duo in Bundsen’s absence, but they do not quite reach the level of the Odense shot-stoppers.

Experience
Tie

In their current setup, both teams are new to the Champions League, but both possess players with plenty of experience at a high international level.

Odense have players with experience from the Danish, Dutch, Norwegian and Brazilian national teams and just like Kobenhavn, most of their players have also appeared at the highest level in club handball.

Kobenhaven also have numerous players with big-match experience from the Danish, Swedish and Dutch national team, so lack of experience should be an issue in any of these two teams.

The verdict

The conclusion of this form check confirms that Odense are favourites to take the two points and very likely a ticket for the quarter-finals.

However, we will have to wait and see what happens, when the two teams enter Brøndbyhallen in the suburbs of Copenhagen Monday evening.


TEXT: Peter Bruun / cor
 
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