EHF Cup countdown, part 10: Lugi HF (SWE)
Reanimating a successful history
Lund is a well-known place for handball in Sweden, not only because the local club Lugi is organizing the famous “Lundaspelen” tournament with more than 500 teams between Christmas and New Year, but also as one venue of the 2011 men’s world championship in Sweden.
Club Lugi, which celebrated their 100th anniversary in 2012, now continues in history at Lund. With former Bundesliga top scorer Tomas Axnér, who coaches the team since 2010, now they managed their first ever qualification for the EHF Cup Group Phase after being among the best 16 teams in the EHF Cup Winners’ Cup two seasons ago.
Lugi Lund were one of the leading Swedish teams in the 1980’s – and they managed a transfer coup at the start of the current season, signing former FC Barcelona EHF Champions League winner Magnus Jernemyr, also still standing like an oak in the defence of the Swedish national team.
In the two qualification stages for the Group Phase they eliminated Hungarian side Tatabanya and Greek champions AEK Athens. Now Lugi will face the two debutants Hannover, Csurgo and former Champions League participant Leon in their Group Matches – and additionally head to their first ever Swedish championship title since the 1980’s.
Manager Emme Adébo hopes to reanimate the old history.
“We are honoured to represent our country and it is an important part of our players’ education to play international matches. The opponents are extremely tough but we are not only here to learn but also to win some matches! Lugi has a great history even in the European cups dating back to the 1980’s so it’s nice to make some new history!” he says.
Team captain Anders Hallberg hopes for further improvement: “I think it is an hounor and a great opportunity both for me and Lugi to play in the EHF Cup. We are in the top of the Swedish handball league and to take the next step of development requires international matches.”
Three questions to coach:
What are your expectations for the EHF Cup Group Phase - concerning your objectives and your group opponents?
Tomas Axnér: We are underdogs in this competition. We are satisfied with the draw. Despite our low ranking we have some expectations to make some good results. Hannover are the big favourites to win the group, but on our home court we are not afraid of any opponent.
What does the participation in the EHF Cup Group Phase mean to you and your club?
Tomas Axnér: For me personally it’s a great experience as a coach. It’s a great opportunity for us to test ourselves against top opponents, especially for our young players.
What teams are your personal favourites to reach the final tournament of the EHF Cup?
Tomas Axnér: Montpellier, Füchse Berlin, Nantes and Hannover are my favourites to reach the final tournament.
Lugi HF (SWE)
The road to the Group Phase:
Round 2: Lugi HF – Grundfos Tatabanya 27:27, 24:20
Round 3: Lugi HF – AEK Athens 24:22, 25:23
Newcomers: Magnus Jernemyr (FC Barcelona/ESP), Hampus Jildenbäck (Haslum/NOR)
Biggest successes in EHF European club competitions:
Cup Winners’ Cup
TEXT: Björn Pazen / br
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