EHF Cup countdown, part 7: IFK Kristianstad (SWE)
Boosted by fans and Krutis
A big name on the bench and a new “insurance” between the goal bars characterise the all-Scandinavian team of IFK Kristianstad.
The biggest name in the team is former Flensburg, Hamburg and Sweden goalkeeper Dan Beutler, who returned to home court before this season.
Kristianstad also profited from his saves in qualification, when they first beat last season’s Challenge Cup finalist Handball Esch (Luxemburg) and last season’s EHF Cup Group Phase participant Bacau from Romania.
In their first ever group phase campaign the Swedish third ranked team now will face last season’s EHF Cup finalists Nantes, and the internationally experienced former Champions League participants Szeged and Presov.
Kristianstad have a very concrete objective for their six group matches: “We want to gain at least five points.” Additionally they again hope to be among the best four teams in Sweden to qualify for international competitions again.
Club manager Nikolas Larsson is expecting a huge interest in Kristianstad.
“We are very satisfied with advancing to the EHF Cup Group Phase and hope to make our home games becoming fantastic fiestas for the strong home crowd, as we aim to have more than 4,000 spectators at each home game,” Larsson said.
And they will see the maiden season of the new club mascot, the tiger, “Krutis”, which means “gunpowder” and shall symbolise the power of IFK.
IFK team captain Johan Jepson is ambitious: “I think we can be a bit of a surprise to the very strong teams in our group.”
Three questions to coach Ola Lindgren:
What are your expectations for the EHF Cup Group Phase - concerning your objectives and your group opponents?
Ola Lindgren: It’s a very challenging group, but we will try to take the advantage of our home games, which we are confident to win.
What does the participation in the EHF Cup Group Phase mean to you and your club?
Ola Lindgren: It is an important development stage for our club, we hope to gain experience for the future and also put Kristianstad on the European handball map
What teams are your personal favourites to reach the EHF Cup Finals?
Ola Lindgren: I think we will find the final teams among a quartet of Montpellier, Füchse Berlin, Nantes and Tatran Presov.
IFK Kristianstad (SWE)
The road to the Group Phase:
Newcomers: Dan Beutler (HSV Hamburg), Fredric Pettersson (Aarhus), Andreas Cederholm (Skövde), Albin Lagergren (Varberg), Daniel Lindgren (HK Drott)
Biggest successes in EHF European club competitions:
Swedish champions: 1950, 1952, 1953, (1941 in outdoor handball)
TEXT: Björn Pazen / br
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