22.12.2017, 14:21◄ last page     

Women’s EHF Cup countdown #5: Vipers Kristiansand showed potential in the elite club competition earlier this season, now the Norwegian side need to show their progression in the group phase

Vipers to make use of hard-learned lessons

The Vipers took one sharp bite, but Kristiansand bit off more than they could chew in their premier Women’s EHF Champions League campaign.

The Norwegian runners-up pulled off a sensational 29:19 victory over two-time winners Buducnost, but this was the only win for World Championship All-star goalkeeper Katrine Lunde and her teammates.

After five defeats, they continue their campaign in the EHF Cup, a competition in which they reached the semi-finals in 2003/04 season. The all-Scandinavian contains current national team players such as Lunde and young Emile Hegh Arntzen, rising star Malin Aune Larsen, as well as the experienced Kristine Lunde and Linn Sulland.

For coach Kenneth Gabrielsen, the first goal in the new environment is to win all home matches and then become cleverer in away games, with the main goal to make it to the quarter-finals.

However, their group phase opponents are anything but easy, facing former Champions League finalists and EHF Cup winners Lada, Issy from Paris and Koebenhavn.

“We are in a group composed only of good teams. It will be fun and we look forward to it. I guess the group is completely open and we have the opportunity to reach the quarter-finals like all the other teams,” says Gabrielsen, who also hopes that the hard-learned lessons from the top flight matches will help his side in the upcoming group phase.

“We had six hard Champions League games and we had set ourselves the goal of reaching the main round, unfortunately we did not. For us as a club, it has been a very good experience and I think it sparked a major development in the team already. Now we get six good matches and will try to perform a little better. I think it takes some time to learn to play in Europe. You are punished for every simple mistake.”

For Gabrielsen, many teams can finish on top of the EHF Cup: “Several participants would fit very well in the Champions League. Every team in our group have the potential to win. Lada look very strong this season and I have seen a few of Copenhagen’s matches and they really have something going on.”

Vipers Kristiansand (NOR)

Qualification for the 2017/18 EHF Cup Group Phase: Norwegian runners-up, fourth ranked in EHF Champions League group matches

Newcomers: Emilie Hegh Arntzen (Byåsen), Malin Aune (Oppsal), Kristine Lunde-Borgersen (return from retirement), Katrine Lunde (Rostov Don), Pernille Wang Skau (Halden), Eline Fagerheim (Gjøvik), Sunniva Andersen (Gjerpen)

Left the club: Thorey Rosa Stefansdottir (FRAM Reykjavik), Sanne Bak-Pedersen (Grane Arendal),  Mona Bruskeland, Camilla Holmøy Feenstad, Martine Rønning (all retired), Annick Lipman (Gjerpen), Hanne Andve (Molde), Elisabeth Benestad Rosenvold (Grane Arendal), Anne Charlotte Benestad Rosenvold (Grane Arendal), Ulrika Olsson (Skuru IK)

Coach:  Kenneth Gabrielsen (since 2016)

Team captain: Kari Brattset

Opponents in the group phase: Lada, Issy and Koebenhavn in Group B

EHF Women’s Champions League records:
Group Phase: 2017/18

Other EC records:

Cup Winners‘ Cup:
Quarter-finals: 2015/16

EHF Cup:
Semi-finals: 2003/04
Last 16: 2004/05004/05

Norwegian league:  - (runners-up 2017)
Norwegian Cup: - (runners-up 2010)

TEXT: Björn Pazen / cor

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