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27.02.2019, 09:00
Odense's Heindahl confident for Danish do-or-die duel
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FEATURE: Odense HC line player Kathrine Heindahl has the recipe ready to beat Kobenhavn Handball when both teams meet Saturday with the last Women’s EHF Champions League Quarter-final ticket at stake
 

Odense’s Heindahl confident for Danish do-or-die duel

The situation is clear before the Danish clash between Odense HC and Kobenhavn Handball in the Women’s EHF Champions League this weekend: the winners go through to the quarter-final.

And whoever get the ticket to the last eight, it will be their first-ever quarter-final berth.

The match in Odense on Saturday starts 14:30 CET and will be streamed live on ehfTV.com.

Both teams are on six points in Group 1 of the main round, and as they drew 24:24 in their first meeting in the competition, the winners Saturday will book their quarter-final ticket. Only another 24:24 result would postpone the decision until the last match day.

Teams know each other extremely well

Having won the Danish league already, Odense can focus entirely on Saturday’s match as the play-offs for the Danish championship do not start yet.

“It will obviously be a match between two teams who know each other extremely well,” says says Kathrine Heindahl, line player in Odense as well as in the Danish national team.

“We have played quite a lot of important matches against Kobenhavn lately, apart from the matches in the domestic league. We met them in the finals for the Danish championship last season, and we met them in the Champions League only a few weeks ago, so obviously we have plenty of knowledge about them.”

Two confident teams

Heindahl played an important part Sunday when Odense brought themselves into a favourable position by winning 29:24 away against Brest Bretagne Handball.

The runners-up from last year’s Danish championship did not get a particularly good start in that match, falling behind 7:2 at the start, but they turned the tide and ended Brest’s last hopes to proceed in the competition.

Heindahl is generally content with her team’s performance in the Champions League this season so far.

“You might say that our performances have been a bit mixed, but in general, I think we have won the matches we had to win,” she says. “We were missing Stine (Jørgensen) back in the autumn, and that had some impact on our results, but even so, we have been able to win the Danish league already and take our destiny in the Champions League into our own hand."

For a team new to the Champions League, and with a squad full of players with no previous international experience, Odense have been doing well.

The 26-year-old line player and defence expert is also enjoying only her first season in the Champions League.

“That is what I want to do all the time,” she says. “It has been great to be allowed to use my muscles a bit more than allowed in the Danish league, and it has been cool to meet some of the strongest teams and players in the world.”

The right to meet Györ

The winners of the Danish duel Saturday not only qualify for the quarter-final, they will also know who their opponents will be: back-to-back defending champions Györi Audi ETO KC.

“It would most likely be David against Goliath, but I would really like to have the chance to accomplish the impossible,” Heindahl says. “I would also love the opportunity to play away against Györ just to experience the fantastic atmosphere in their arena. I think such matches would increase our motivation to work even harder to improve further in future.”

Guarding the ball

Before she and her teammates can start thinking about Györ, however, they have to overcome Kobenhavn on Saturday. And Heindahl is pretty sure what will be deciding in that match.

“There is no doubt that Kobenhavn will be arriving with plenty of self-confidence after their match against Buducnost, whom they virtually tore apart and defeated 31:20 in their latest match,” she says. “Kobenhavn have a really good team, and they definitely deserve to be where they are. They are very keen on running, so I think the recipe, apart from extremely strong defensive play, will be guarding the ball well.”


TEXT: Peter Bruun / ew
 
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