Men’s EHF Cup countdown – part 16: Danish side GOG’s expectations are humble after their last European Cup appearance dates back to 2010. But the squad fields some strong players, including three World Championship 2017 silver medallists
GOG return to Europe after a seven-year absence
Three World Championship 2017 silver medallists will take to the court when Danish side GOG enter the EHF Cup Group Phase.
Goalkeeper Espen Christensen, left wing Magnus Joendal and centre back Goeran Johannessen reached the tournament’s final in Paris with Norway and are ready to make a splash with their club in the EHF Cup as well.
Johannessen and Joendal were among the GOG newcomers ahead of the season. Besides the two Norwegians the club also signed line player Torsten Laen who has won the EHF Champions League with Ciudad Real and reached the VELUX EHF FINAL4 with Füchse Berlin.
Laen had been playing for GOG’s rivals KIF Kolding Kobenhavn for the past three seasons.
With the EHF Cup participation, a seven-year absence from any European Cup has come to an end for GOG. In Qualification Round 3 they beat Alingsas HK from Sweden to reach the group phase.
In Group A, Torsten Laen will meet plenty of his former Füchse Berlin teammates when GOG face the 2015 winners of the competition. The Danish club has also been drawn against Saint-Raphael Var Handball from France and RD Riko Ribnica from Slovenia.
GOG head coach Jakob Larsen regards the German and the French teams as main contenders to reach the EHF Cup Finals in Göppingen, hence for him his club’s qualification to the group phase is already a major success.
“We hope to play some good games and win most of our home matches. If everything goes well, we can qualify for the quarter-finals. But of course, Berlin and Saint Raphael are the favourites in our group.”
Qualification for the 2016/2017 EHF Cup Group Phase: Round 3: 26:29, 33:27 against Alingsas HK (SWE)
Newcomers: Magnus Joendal (ØIF Arenedal), Torsten Laen (KIF), Goeran Soegard Johannessen (Viking Stavanger)
Left the club: Lars Hald (Chartres), Kasper Kildelund (TTH), Mikkel Møller (Lemvig), Minik Dahl Høegh (Aarhus), Aku Kreutzmann (Ribe/Esbjerg)
Opponents in the group phase: RD Riko Ribnica, Füchse Berlin and Saint-Raphael Var Handball in Group A
Main Round: 2007/08, 2008/09
Cup Winners’ Cup
Quarter-final: 1999/2000, 2001/02, 2005/06
Danish champions: 2007, 2004, 2000, 1998, 1996, 1995, 1992
Danish cup winners: 9 titles
TEXT: Björn Pazen / ts
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