29.12.2017, 06:00◄ last page     

Women's EHF Cup countdown #11: Norwegian side Byasen Handball Elite have never won a trophy in 22 seasons of European club handball. Could 2017/18 be their first?

Long way through qualification continues a long international history

For the 22nd season in their history, the Trondheim-based Byasen Handball Elite will feature in a European club handball competition and they will be hoping they can go one better than 10 years ago, when they lost on aggregate against Romanian side Oltchim Valcea in the EHF Cup Winners’ Cup Final back in 2007.

In 2014, the five-time Norwegian champions made it to the semi-finals of that same competition, but were defeated by Russian powerhouse Zvezda Zvenigorod.

As one of three Norwegian clubs still in the competition (Larvik and Vipers Kristiansand are the other two), Byasen hope to make it to the EHF Cup quarter-finals after they just missed out on the knockout stage last season, after facing eventual finalists Rostov and Bietigheim already in the group stage.

Byasen count on an almost all-Norwegian squad, apart from just two players: Croatian team captain Teodora Tomac and Icelandic left back Helena Rut Orvarsdottir.

Right wing Marit Jacobsen was the only Byasen player in the silver-medal winning Norwegian squad at the 2017 World Championship in Germany earlier this month.

This season, the Norwegian team are the only club who made it from the first qualification round to the group phase, beating Elblag (POL) and Gomel (BLR) clearly, before nearly failing against Braila (ROU) in the second round, when they almost let a 10-goal lead slip from their hands. Their Group Phase, Group C, campaign will see them face Viborg HK, Vistal Gdynia and Kastamonu Belediyesi GSK.

“This is an even group, and I expect to see some good matches - we aim for the next stage,” said new Byasen coach Roger Kvannli, who succeeded Arne Hogdahl last September.

“To be part of this competition means to gain more international experience,” Kvannli added, who sees Koebenhavn and Lada as the main contenders for winning the trophy.
One top player - Norwegian international Emilie Hegh Arntzen - had left Byasen before the start of this season, signing for EHF Cup rivals Vipers Kristiansand.

Byasen Handball Elite

Qualification for the 2017/18 EHF Cup Group Phase: Round 1: 28:18, 34:29 against Elblag (POL), Round 2: 28:18, 20:28 against Braila (ROU), Round 3: 32:28, 27:22 against Gomel (BLR)

Newcomers: Hanna Yttereng (Bietigheim), Astrid Holstad (Storhamar), Hanne Sagvold (Byasen IL), Helena Rut Orvarsdottir (UMF Stjarnan), Mathilde Holck (Utleira), Tuva Hova (Byasen IL), Kristin L. Eiriksson (Byasen IL)

Left the club: Maria Hjertner (Larvik HK), Emilie Hegh Arntzen (Vipers Kristiansand)

Coach: Roger Kvannli (since September 2017, successor of Arne Hogdahl)

Team captain: Teodora Tomac

Opponents in the group matches: Viborg HK, Vistal Gdynia and Kastamonu Belediyesi GSK.

Women's EHF Champions League records:
Quarter-final: 1996/97, 1998/99
Group Phase: 2005/06, 2006/07, 2009/10, 2011/12

Other EC records:

Cup Winners’ Cup:

Finalist 2006/07
Semi-final 1995/96, 2013/14
Quarter-final 2009/10, 2011/12, 2014/15
Last 16: 2012/13

EHF Cup:
Quarter-final 1997/98, 2000/01, 2007/08, 2008/09

Last 16: 2004/05, 2010/11
Group phase 2016/17

EHF Challenge Cup:

Norwegian champion: Five times (86/87, 87/88, 89/90, 95/96, 97/98)
Norwegian cup winner: Four times (88/89, 89/90, 91/92, 07/08)

TEXT: Bjorn Pazen/amc

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