FEATURE: The three-time EHF Champions League trophy holders reach out for another piece of silverware to their cabinet.
Viborg chasing seventh European title
Having won the Women's EHF Champions League three times and the Women's EHF Cup another three times, Viborg HK are now chasing their seventh title in Europe and their first Cup Winners' Cup triumph.
The Cup Winners' Cup is the only European competition Viborg have never managed to win yet. Apart from the Challenge Cup, of course, but Danish teams have too high a ranking to participate in that competition.
Once before have Viborg been in the Cup Winners' Cup final. In the 2011/12 season they were defeated narrowly by FTC-Rail Cargo Hungaria.
Now Viborg are back in the Cup Winners' Cup final, though. This time their opponent will be an old acquaintance from their Champion League days, Zvezda Zvenigorod, with Viborg playing at home in the first leg Sunday.
“Obviously it means a lot to us to be in a final again. As you know, we began the season by playing the qualification tournament for the Champions League group phase. We did not succeed with that, and that annoyed us all a lot. Therefore we are really happy to be in a final after all, and we go for all the titles we can get, so were are really going to try and win the Cup Winners´ Cup also,” Viborg´s left wing Maria Fisker told eurohandball.com.
Not only have Viborg managed to qualify for the Cup Winners' Cup final. The ladies in the green jerseys have also qualified for the Danish championship finals, where their opponents will be Women´s EHF FINAL4 participants FC Midtjylland. The tow-legged final will take place after the Cup Winners' Cup finals.
It was not on the cards that Viborg were going to be so successful this season, though. The club has overcome financial trouble as well as an injury list which at one point was as long as the menu at a well-stocked restaurant.
Maris Fisker has also been sidelined herself with an injury for a quite long period, but now the 23-year-old Danish international is back at full strength, and she is in no doubt about the secret behind the team´s success.
“We have been good at realising that when some players are missing, others will have to take a larger responsibility, and some may have to take over functions that they may not be used to. We have been good at moving together and at standing together, and you might say that the hardship has made us stronger.
“Anyway, there is no doubt that it has made us act more like a team, maybe unlike last year,” finds Maria Fisker who recently extended her contract with the club for another two years, so that it is now valid until the summer of 2016.
The first leg of the final between Viborg and Zvezda is being played in Viborg Stadionhal on the coming Sunday, with the second match in Zvenigorod next Sunday.
It is a never ending discussion whether it is an advantage to start at home or away in such ties. Most teams prefer to start away, and Maria Fisker also subscribes to that point of view.
“Now that we are going to finish in Russia, it means that we cannot celebrate a win with our fans at home in our town. But that is the way it is, and in the semi-final against Rostov-Don we proved that we also win in Russia which has been a problem for Viborg in the past.
“I am not sure just how strong Zvezda are compared to Rostov-Don, but we will definitely go for a win in both matches,” Maris Fisker said.
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