ROUND PREVIEW: Danish team so heavily hit by injury that their 41-year-old coach is ready to play
Holstebro coach bringing his handball shoes to Slovenia
When Team Tvis Holstebro, who won Group B of the Men’s EHF Cup Group Phase, meet Rk Gorenje Velenje away in the first leg of the quarter-final, 41-year-old head coach Klavs Bruun Jørgensen will be ready to enter the court and help his injury-ridden team.
At MT Melsungen, head coach Michael Roth is not likely to play, but he has great respect for his team’s Danish opponents, Skjern Handbold.
In Sweden, Eskilstuna Guif hope to improve their attacking threat for the home game against HSV Hamburg.
Men’s EHF Cup Quarter-finals Leg 1
Skjern Handbold (DEN) vs MT Melsungen (GER)
”They are by far the strongest team we could have gotten in the quarter-finals, and I would really like to have kept them for the finals,” said Skjern line player and former Melsungen player Thomas Klitgaard, as the draw for the quarter-finals became known.
However, Skjern’s adversaries from the German Bundesliga would also have like to avoid the Danish team at this point.
“That is the strongest opponent we could have in this competition. Their team is compact, they play well, and they are particularly fast moving forward. Furthermore, they can rely on the support from an enthusiastic arena. It is going to be very loud in Skjern on Saturday,” head coach Michael Roth told his club’s website.
He may be a bit more optimistic when he learns that Skjern are severely weakened by injury. Right back Kasper Sondergaard is out for the season with a back injury, and centre back Daniel Svensson sustained a muscle injury in a leg, as Skjern defeated Aarhus 31:26 in the Danish championship play-offs less than 48 hours before taking on Melsungen in the Skjern Bank Arena.
Eskilstuna Guif (SWE) vs HSV Hamburg (GER)
In Eskilstuna, they are well aware that Hamburg will be some kind of a handful in the Eskilstuna Sportshal on Saturday afternoon, but the fact that they managed to win at home against MT Melsungen in the group phase gives way for certain optimism in the Swedish club.
“We never enter the court expecting to lose. However, it is obvious that we will have to improve our attacking play compared to our latest match in the Swedish championship against Redbergslid in order to win. I think everyone knows what is needed though,” Eskilstuna’s assistant coach Janne Ekman told his club’s official website.
The Swedish hopes may be boosted by injury in the opposing team.
Hamburg’s right wing Hans Lindberg is out for another seven weeks after having injured a kidney in a Bundesliga match and there is doubt about goalkeeper Johannes Bitter.
Rk Gorenje Velenje (SLO) vs Team Tvis Holstebro (DEN)
Holstebro is a further team struggling with injury problems ahead of the quarter-finals.
Their top scorer over the season, Michael Damgaard is sidelined with a hand injury, and right back Simon Birkefeldt was hit in the head by a shot in Holstebro’s championship play-off match against KIF Kolding Kobenhavn Wednesday.
“Simon was complaining about headache and had to stay at home, so I have brought my handball shoes too,” says head coach Klavs Bruun Jørgensen, former Danish international and also a right back.
“In this situation, a defeat by four to five goals at the most would probably be acceptable ahead of the return match.
“Gorenje Velenje are a really strong and experiences team who have played various European Cup competition for the past ten years without interruption, so there is no doubt that we are in for a very difficult task,” Klavs Bruun Jørgensen tells eurohandball.com.
TEXT: Peter Bruun / cor
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