Toft: Winning the EHF Cup would be a perfect goodbye
“Lifting a trophy – and preferably two – would just be a perfect way for me to end my career here with Team Esbjerg,” says Sandra Toft, goalkeeper for the west Jutland club and the Danish national team.
After two years with the top Danish club, the 29-year-old goalkeeper is leaving for Brest Bretagne Handball after this season, and she is determined to say goodbye to her current club in style.
During the week, Team Esbjerg qualified for the semi-final in the Danish championship play-off. On Sunday afternoon, they have the chance to claim a place in the final of the Women’s EHF Cup, when they meet their fellow Danes Herning-Ikast Handbold in the return semi-final in Blue Water Dokken, Esbjerg. Team Esbjerg are leading 23:20 after the first match in Ikast.
“The fact that we are in the race for two titles obviously makes me wish for both of them. A Danish championship would mean a lot to the club, not least in terms of qualifying for the Champions League again, and winning the EHF Cup would obviously also mean a lot,” says Toft.
“Personally, I would definitely also like to become Danish champion before leaving the club, and I would certainly also like to win the EHF Cup, which I have done once before [with TTH Holstebro].
“The fact that we have qualified for the semi-final in the Danish play-offs is already a great advantage with regards to the EHF Cup, as we can concentrate fully on our home match against Herning-Ikast now.”
If Toft and her teammates overcome Herning-Ikast, they can look forward to meeting the winner of the tie between Siófok KC Hungary and the third Danish championship semi-finalist, Viborg HK.
“It is true that we are three goals up before the return match against Herning-Ikast, but we all know that three goals are not a lot in handball,” says the experienced goalkeeper, who played plenty of European finals and semi-finals in her years with TTH Holstebro and Norwegian club Larvik HK. With Holstebro, she won the EHF Cup in 2013, and with Larvik, she was in the Women’s EHF Champions League Final in 2015.
“Playing at home should be an advantage for us, of course, but there is no doubt that we will still have to be on our marks from the start.”
Toft and her teammates are seeing a lot of Herning-Ikast at the moment. Aside from their meeting in the EHF Cup Semi-finals, the teams also face each other twice in the national championship play-offs.
“It is quite obvious that neither team can really find anything to surprise the other with anymore. We all know each other’s tactical moves and also our moves on the court – to which side this or that player prefers to go, their feints and their preferred way to shoot,” says Toft.
“Therefore, I expect the team who wants the win most to also be the team who wins. Of course, I hope we are that team. Qualifying for the EHF Cup final would just be great, and winning it would be even better.”Author: Peter Bruun / cg