Alingsas need to adapt to cup-mode once again
Last season, Alingsas HK were in the VELUX EHF Champions League Group Phase.
This season, it is the EHF Cup for the Swedish side, who are entering the tournament in Qualification Round 2.
In their attempt to reach the next round, Alingsas will have to overcome TSV St. Otmar St. Gallen, the first leg being played in the Sporthalle Kreuzbleiche in St. Gallen.
“We are really looking forward to playing in Europe again, but first we will have to adapt ourselves to this cup mode again after last season’s Champions League,” Alingsas coach Mikael Franzen tells eurohandball.com before he and his players travel to Switzerland.
“This may mean that a narrow away defeat would be okay, but actually I think we have a very good chance against St. Gallen though they have some good players and a great goalkeeper in Martin Galia.
“All in all, I think we should be able to beat them over two matches,” finds Mikael Franzen.
Another Swedish team, Ystads IF have a considerably longer journey ahead of them.
Kim Andersson and his teammates are flying to eastern Russia to meet Permskie Medvedi.
“Of course, it is a long journey, and we will be up against a Russian team with some physically strong individuals.
“I expect a tough away match, but I see our chances of reaching the next round as good,” Ystad’s head coach, former Swedish international Sebastian Seifert says.
Team Tvis Holstebro have rather proud traditions in the EHF Cup.
In the 2012/13 season, the Danish team made it to the final tournament and finished third, and last season, they reached the quarter-final.
The season, the team from the west of Denmark enter the tournament in Round 2, where there opponents are Portuguese Sporting CP.
The team from Lisbon reached the quarter-final of the EHF Cup in the 2013/14 season, but last year they exited the tournament after Qualification Round 3.
Holstebro coach Patrick Westerholm feels well prepared ahead of the first leg in the Grakjaer Arena of Holstebro.
“I have seen a couple of videos on some of their games over the past two weeks, and I have noticed that they play fast but also very individually.
“We have been rather inconsistent in our defence lately, but if we can play well in our defence, I believe we have a really good chance,” says Westerholm.
Two ties will be decided already this weekend.
In Bucharest, Dinamo Bucuresti host A.C. Diomidis Argous from Greece for the first leg Saturday and the return match on Sunday.
The other double header is taking place in the Sparebanken Sör Amfi in Arendal, Norway, where Norwegian league winners OIF Arendal are hosting KH BESA Famiglia from Kosovo for two meetings Saturday and Sunday.
“What I have seen from BESA Famiglia has been good. I have seen their match against Pristina which they won.
“We definitely cannot take things easy for as much as a minute, but will have to set our own pace and control the games,” Arendal coach Marinko Kurtovic told his club’s website.
One tie, Haukar from Iceland versus HC Zomimak-M from Serbia will not be played until next weekend, when the two teams meet for a double header in Iceland.
For a full overview of all the fixtures for the upcoming Qualification Round 2, click here.
TEXT: Peter Bruun / bc