FEATURE: The ongoing quarter-final tie between Larvik and Viborg HK in the Women´s EHF Cup is loaded with tradition and history due to the many Champions League matches between the two teams in the past.
An encounter loaded with history
When Larvik and Viborg HK meet for the second leg of their quarter-final tie in the Women's EHF Cup Saturday in Norway, it will be another match with plenty of history and tradition attached to it.
In addition to being a Scandinavian neigbour derby, the tie, in which Viborg are leading 28:21 after the first leg, is also a remake of many big matches in the Women's EHF Champions League between these two teams over time.
One of the Champions League meetings which is remembered most vividly by fans in both countries – and most fondly by Viborg fans – are undoubtedly the semi-finals in the 2009/10 Champions League, where Viborg won 27:21 at home and proceeded to the final after a narrow 27:26 defeat in in the second in leg in Norway before defeating Romanian C.S. Oltchim Valcea in the final.
“Although those great Champions League meetings are pretty far back now, playing against Larvik is still something special,” says Viborg head coach Allan Heine.
“At the first match here in Viborg, we really felt that fans on both sides still see these matches as something special, and our fans were happy already when we were drawn against Larvik in these quarter-finals,” adds Allan Heine.
Things are seen a bit differently at the other side of the Skagerak ocean.
“I think, that these days, it is only special to those of us who were part of those big matches.
“These days, we have many young players in our team who were not part of those games, and to them, these quarter-finals are probably just matches like other matches, though important matches, of course,” finds Larvik coach Tor Odvar Moen.
Larvik optimistic, Viborg cautious
The first leg of the ongoing quarter-final tie between the two clubs took a quite peculiar course.
Viborg were leading 7:1, only to see Larvik catch up, before the home team went on to win 28:21 after all.
“We were particularly bad at handling some situations, in which we were a player less on the court, and that was the main reason why we fell so far behind at the start. We then spent a lot of power catching up, and we were missing that power at the end.
“We will definitely need to look better in such situations in the return match, but if we can do that, I definitely think we have a good chance to catch up with the seven-goal-deficit and still proceed to the semi-final,” Tod Odvar Moen tells eurohandball.com.
His colleague in Viborg is cautious despite his team´s clear lead ahead of the return match in the Boligmappe Arena in Larvik Saturday.
“Seven goals may seem like a reassuring lead, but we should not forget that we had a spell at the middle of the first match, which we lost 7:2, and where Larvik were absolutely superiour to us.
“We will definitely have to avoid such a period Saturday,” says Allan Heine who believes to have found extra motivation for his team in Norwegian media.
“Norwegian media and experts seem to think that Larvik can easily play much better in the return match, than they did in the first leg.
“In fact, I have noticed that some have already started talking about a Norwegian derby against Vipers in the semi-final.
“I hope we can prove them wrong and qualify for that semi-final!” says the Viborg coach.
TEXT: Peter Bruun / br
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