28.05.2014, 03:07
Austria enter World Championship Play-offs without Schlinger and Hermann

PREVIEW: Head coach Patrekur Johannesson has to replace the two back court shooters ahead of crucial double-header against Norway

Austria enter World Championship Play-offs without Schlinger and Hermann

In ten days Austria's men's national team will take to the court against Norway for the chance to qualify for the World Championship 2015. The first match of the two play-offs against the Scandinavian squad takes place in Vienna on 7 June, the return match one week later in Bergen.

After having reached the main round at the EHF EURO 2014 in Denmark, Austria can potentially qualify for their second consecutive major tournament in a row.

However, head coach Patrekur Johannesson has to find a replacement for back court shooters Roland Schlinger and Max Hermann - both are injured and won't be available. Back in the squad is Janko Bozovic, and youngster Nikola Bilyk has also made Johannesson's cut.

"The chances stand at 50:50, every game starts at 0-all and both teams play well," the head coach says. 

"Norway are a physically strong squad. Christian Berge is their new coach, and I'm sure he'll bring something new to the team. Most of the time they play a 6-0-defence with Borge Lund as the key player, but they can easily change this to 5-1 as they did in their test against Slovenia recently.

"In attack they have world-class players such as Bjarte Myrhol on the line, Espen Hansen, Kent Robin Tönnesen on the back court and Sander Sagosen, who is regarded as one of the biggest talents in Europe.

"We know we have to be at our best, but that's where we always want to be."

The Austrian national team gathers on Saturday and plays a test match against Slovenia on Monday night. Austria lost to Norway at the EHF EURO 2010 (27:30) and at the World Championship 2011 (27:33) but most recently beat them at a test on 10 January 2014 34:32.

The World Championship 2015 take place in January in Qatar.

TEXT: ÖHB / EHF / ts

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