INTERVIEW: For Skjern's headcoach Ole Norgaard everything is going to plan lately, in three competitions they have the chances to take the title, also in the EHF Cup Finals next weekend.
Norgaard hoping for title-treble
Skjern Handbold are on an all-time high at the moment. The team from the far west of Denmark have already won the Danish Cup, they are in the semi-final in the Danish championship, and are now playing the Men’s EHF Cup Finals in the Max Schmeling-Halle in Berlin, where they will go head-to-head against HSV Hamburg in the semi-final.
They booked their ticket to the finals last Sunday in Kassel, where a 28:23 defeat against MT Melsungen was just enough to proceed to the final tournament. The 50-year-old head coach Ole Norgaard, who is in his third year in the club, finds that everything has gone his team’s way lately.
eurohandball.com: How do you recall the last minute of the match in the Rothenbach-Halle in Kassel?
Ole Norgaard: It was very hectic, of course. We were hit with a suspension with eight seconds left, but fortunately, they never got the chance to take a shot at our goal.
eurohandball.com: Was it one of those minutes that add years to one’s age?
Ole Norgaard: No, I am not sure it does. When you have been in the game for as many years as I have, you have experienced such situations before, and I am glad it all ended well for us.
eurohandball.com: What does it mean to you to have qualified for the finals?
Ole Norgaard: That has been one of our main goals for this season. It is no secret that we didn't do particularly well in the EHF Cup last season, and we really would like to do better this season. We're happy to have succeeded in that.
Furthermore, I am particularly proud of the way we did it – defeating a Bundesliga team over two matches, and mind you, Melsungen were not the only Bundesliga team we have defeated in this tournament. We also beat Füchse at home. And if you compare our budget to the budgets of such teams like Melsungen and Füchse, I think our achievement looks even greater. You have the chance of pulling off an impressive treble this season.
eurohandball.com: You have won the Danish Cup already, you are in the semi-final of the Danish championship and you are now in the EHF Cup Finals. Do you consider it possible to take all three titles?
Ole Norgaard: It is theoretically possible, of course, but let's see. If we play at our absolutely best in both the competitions left, the chance is obviously there.
eurohandball.com: Your team has been outstanding ever since the World Championship break. What is the secret?
Ole Norgaard: Things have been going our way lately, and we have to believe more in ourselves. We've become particularly better at holding on to a lead. Before Christmas, it often took us only two poor minutes to lose even a clear lead, but lately it has become really difficult to take a lead away from us.
eurohandball.com: In the semi-final in Berlin you will be facing HSV Hamburg, yet another of those Bundesliga teams you seem to have such a good grip on. How do you see your chances in that match?
Ole Norgaard: It's too early to say, but beating German sides has become a nice habit of ours. If we come with everything we've got and play our absolutely best we have a great chance. Even though the event takes place in Germany, Hamburg will not feel at home in Berlin.
eurohandball.com: And if you get past Hamburg, do you have any favourite opponent for the final?
Ole Norgaard: That doesn't really matter, whether it would be Füchse or Velenje, all the teams at this stage are strong – and let us see if we can make it past Hamburg before we even think about that.
TEXT: Peter Bruun / me
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