Much at stake in the Scandinavian derby
Having lost their first two group matches, Elverum HH are in desperate need of points in the Scandinavian EHF Cup derby at home against Team Tvis Holstebro on Sunday, 24 February..
A two goal defeat at home to group favourites Orlen Wisla Plock and a five goal loss to Maribor Branik in Slovenia have put Elverum under pressure before taking on their Scandinavian neighbours Team Tvis Holstebro in the Terningen Arena on Sunday evening.
A further home defeat will make it very difficult for the Norwegians to progress from Group C.
“It is a very difficult group as it is, and there is no doubt that Team Tvis Holstebro will be coming with extra self-confidence after the win in Poland last weekend (29:28 against Wisla Plock) so I expect a very tough match,” Elverum line player Magnus Gullerud told eurohandball.com.
“Actually, I hope they will underestimate us a bit,” said Gullerud, who is one of the key players in the Norwegian team despite being just 21 years old.
He already has experience from several internationals for Norway, and is set to join Danish league club SønderjyskE on a two year deal at the end of this season.
At present, however, he is focused on bringing Elverum as far in the EHF Cup as possible.
“If we are to succeed against Holstebro, we will need to defend well and to get a lot of fast breaks,” explained Gullerud, who outlines his recipe for success against the Danes, who have three points from their first two matches.
However, Magnus Gullerud should not expect any help in the form of underestimation from Team Tvis Holstebro.
“We are not in a position where we can afford to underestimate any opponent, neither in Europe nor in our national league,” said Team Tvis Holstebro´s assistant coach, former Danish national team goalkeeper, Michael Bruun.
“In fact, I see us as being under just as much pressure as Elverum.
“After our draw at home against Maribor in the first round, we are also in need of points, as the weakest number two in the group phase may not qualify for the quarter-finals.
“Therefore, the way I see it, nine or even ten points may be needed in order to be sure to reach the quarter-finals,” Bruun told eurohandball.com.
“Elverum is a very strong team who only lost by two to Wisla Plock even after they were leading by six early in the second half, and their five goal defeat away to Maribor is not that bad either, as the Slovenians are probably much stronger at home than away.
“Therefore, I expect a difficult match in Norway, but when you have the chance to win an away match in international handball you should definitely take it, and one or two points up there would be really useful for us,” concluded Bruun.
TEXT: Peter Bruun / cor