Jørgensen: “We are still the underdogs”
Team Tvis Holstebro have had an impressive run in the EHF Cup this season.
In the qualifiers they sent St. Raphael out, after having thrashed the ambitious French team by no less than 16 goals at home in the first leg.
In the Group Phase they sent the top Polish team Wisla Plock out among others and upset one of the competition favourites and domestic rivals, KIF Kolding, in the quarter-finals.
Despite their success, Team Tvis Holstebro head coach Klavs Bruun Jørgensen refuses to accept his team as anything else than underdogs in the final round of the EHF Cup in Nantes on 18 and 19 May.
However, this does not mean that he and his players do not have every intention of creating yet another sensation in France, where they are facing the hosts from Nantes in their semi-final.
Jørgensen, a former Denmark international and a fighter by heart himself, wants to see his players fight the best they can and believe in the chance, as he reveals in this interview.
eurohandball.com: Did you ever imagine that you would reach Nantes when you started in the second qualification round of the EHF Cup?
Klavs Bruun Jørgensen: Absolutely not. It is a big surprise that we have got this far. At first we hoped to reach the Group Phase in order get some valuable international experience, so it is really a surprise that we now stand where we do, even after having sent out teams such as St. Raphael, Plock and Kolding.
We are really going to enjoy the experience in France, as we have no chance of playing in Europe next season, unless of course we win the EHF Cup!
eurohandball.com: How do you see your chances of doing just that – winning the tournament?
Klavs Bruun Jørgensen: Obviously we are underdogs, but that does not mean that we are going to give up in advance. Playing against Nantes in the semi-final will be pretty much like playing against Kolding in the quarter-finals.
We are certainly not favourites, but I see it as an advantage that this time things are decided in one single match only - and anyhow, it is going to be a great experience to play against Nantes on their home court. We know that we will encounter huge pressure from the home crowd, but our players are used to handling that kind of pressure too. They proved that in particular, when we won in Plock, which was one of the most fantastic home crowds I have ever met.
eurohandball.com: What do you see as the reason why you have got this far in the EHF Cup?
Klavs Bruun Jørgensen: First of all that we have been good at neglecting what the scoreboard said and just keep on fighting. During this season my players have learned that I am a coach who always believes in the chance, and they have been very good at adopting that attitude.
eurohandball.com: You played the quarter-finals against Kolding having just suffered two large defeats against them in the Danish championship play-offs. How did you manage to make your players believe that they had a chance against the same opponents so soon afterwards?
Klavs Bruun Jørgensen: In European Cup matches it is not a question of what has just happened, but what happens here and now. After we lost by seven at home to Kolding in the play-offs shortly before our first quarter-final against them, we agreed that the final result lied a bit and that Kasper Hvidt in their goal had played a decisive part in the last part of that game.
After having watched the game again on video, however, we managed to believe that we could score against him and in the second quarter-final we proved that we could. That goes to prove how much our players have matured during this season, and that gives us a great perspective for next season in the Danish league.
TEXT: Peter Bruun / cor