Standout scorer Magnus Bramming fears no one
TTH Holstebro might only just have made into the Men’s EHF Cup Quarter-finals, their left wing is the best goal scorer of the competition by far.
Magnus Bramming has netted 75 times and he is leading a fellow Dane, Hans Lindberg from defending champions Füchse Berlin, who is second on the list with 57 goals.
“I have probably benefited from our opponents not knowing me as well as the Danish teams,” the 28-year-old Bramming says. “Furthermore, we have had the opportunity to run a lot of fast breaks in our EHF Cup matches and that is one of my specialties.”
"It doesn't matter who scores"
Bramming’s goals certainly helped Holstebro getting the edge when it came to qualifying for the Men’s EHF Cup Quarter-finals.
However, the left wing says “it does not matter who scores the goals, as long as they are scored, but it is always nice to see the ball go in.”
In their last group match Saturday, Holstebro did what they had to do to maintain a chance of advancing from the group phase: they beat Liberbank Cuenca 32:22, with Bramming contributing a stunning 15 goals from 17 attempts.
Still, Holstebro needed fellow Danish side GOG to falter in their last Group D match the next day. And it exactly happened that way, as GOG went down 34:31 at Fraikin BM. Granollers on Sunday evening. That result left Holstebro as one of the three best-ranked runners-up from the group phase, while GOG went out.
“I watched the game in Spain with my girlfriend, and I must admit that my Sunday evening was more exciting than I would have liked, as the game changed quite a lot,” Bramming says. “We were actually expecting our away defeat against Cuenca to cost us the ticket for the quarter-final. But the gift we got in Spain on Sunday night made way for us, and we are really happy about that.”
Injuries and a busy schedule
Bramming and his Holstebro teammates are going to play the quarter-finals with the Danish championship play-offs waiting just around the corner. And at the same time, the team is affected by injuries to several key players.
“The rest of us well have to step up even more,” the wing says. “As for the busy schedule, we may have to reduce the training a bit, and after all, playing matches is more fun than training.”
No reason to complain after all.
“Having reached the quarter-final means a lot to us. That is one of the things we train and play for, and we definitely intend to make the best of it,” Bramming says.
Holstebro have been at this at stage twice before. The first time, in the 2012/13 season, they met Kolding and qualified for the finals. But two years later, in 2014/15, they lost Gorenje Velenje.
“Several of us have been along all the way, so we should know by now what it is all about,” Bramming says.
Only strong teams left
On Tuesday, Holstebro and the five other teams will learn their next opponents when the quarter-final draw is conducted in Vienna. Bramming has no preferred opponent.
“There are only strong teams left anyway at this stage of the competition. I fear no opponent and I have no preferred opponent, either,” the top scorer says.
As Holstebro advanced as runners-up from Group C, they will meet one of the group winners: Füchse Berlin, Grundfos Tatabanya KC, or FC Porto Sofarma.
The other group winners, THW Kiel, have been seeded through to the AKQUINET EHF Cup Finals, which they will be hosting on 17/18 May.
“You might say that Tatabánya would be the easiest opponents, but as far as I know, they have defeated Szeged and drawn against Veszprém, so they seem to be strong, too,” he adds. “Of course, it would also be cool to meet Füchse with several Danish players in their team, and playing for a full arena in Germany would also be great.”
No matter who will be Holstebro’s opponent, fact is that this team will have to come to their Gråkjær Arena, Bramming says.
“I hope we can fill our arena for that occasion and make the match a troublesome affair for whoever we meet.”
Draw streams and procedure
The Men’s EHF Cup Quarter-final draw will start on Tuesday at 11:00 CET at the EHF headquarters in Vienna and will be streamed live on the EHF European Cup Facebook page and also on the ehfTV YouTube channel. There will also be a liveticker available and the event will be tweeted live on the ehf_ec Twitter channel.
The three group winners Füchse Berlin, Grundfos Tatabánya KC and FC Porto Sofarma will be placed in Pot 1, the three second-ranked teams in Pot 2. The group winners will start the quarter-finals with an away match and play the second leg at home.
Teams from the same country can meet in the quarter-final - so a clash between Füchse Berlin and TSV Hannover-Burgdorf is possible - but teams from the same group of the group phase cannot face each other again. Therefore the draw procedure will be adopted.
First, all three group winners will be drawn one after another and placed on the right side of each quarter-final pairing. As the next step, the opponents for the team in Quarter-final 1 will be drawn and this will be followed by allocating the remaining two teams into the Quarter-final 2 and 3 in order to prevent a tie between group phase opponents.
The first leg is scheduled for 20/21 April, the second leg for 27/28 April. The three winners will join THW Kiel at the AKQUINET EHF Cup Finals 2019 on 17/18 May in Kiel.Author: Peter Bruun / ew