28.12.2017, 16:39◄ last page     

Women’s EHF Cup countdown #10: Three-time Women’s EHF Cup winners Viborg HK hope to have something extra to celebrate in the 25th anniversary year of European Cup competitions.

Great Danes aim for fourth EHF Cup success

Only four clubs have won the Women’s EHF Champions League three times or more: Austrian team Hypo Niederösterreich (4), current title holders Györ and Danish sides Slagelse and Viborg HK (three each).

Like Hypo, Viborg are playing in their 25th season in the 25th-anniversary year of the European Cup competitions.

In 2006, 2009 and 2010, the Danish record champions raised the Women’s EHF Champions League trophy and their European trophy cabinet was complete in the 2013/14 season after they won the Cup Winners’ Cup which had followed Women’s EHF Cup triumphs in the 1993/94, 1998/99 and 2003/04 seasons.

Viborg, alongside Lada (Russia), are the only former Women’s EHF Cup champions in the group phase of this season’s edition and, along with Norwegian side Larvik, are the only former Women’s EHF Champions League winners.

In the final qualification round, the side of head coach Allan Heine eliminated another former CL winner, Croatian champions Podravka Vegeta from Koprivnica.

Things have changed at Viborg since their last Champions League trophy. A completely new and rejuvenated team is ready to rock the EHF Cup now, starting in the group phase when the 14-time Danish champions face Gdynia, Byasen and Kastamonu.

Viborg coach Heine predicts anything but a walk in the park. “I expect the group to be a hard one with three good teams,” he said. “This is why the home games will be crucial for success for all the teams.”

For him, Brest, Vipers, Lada and Issy are the main contenders for winning the trophy in May 2018 and for his side, the minimum goal is reaching the knock-out stage.

“Participation in the group phase is extremely important as we have a young team,” he said. “The trips across Europe help give elements to the team, both on and off the court. You could say it is team building at a serious level.”

Viborg HK (DEN)

Qualification for the 2017/18 EHF Cup Group Phase: Round 2:  38:21, 43:15 against Mingachevir (AZE), Round 3: 32:17, 20:21 against Podravka Vegeta (CRO)

Newcomers: Hanna Daglund (Skuru IK), Josephine Nordstrøm (FCM Håndbold), Signe Hald (Vendsyssel Håndbold), Kristina Jørgensen (Skanderborg Håndbold), Natasha Nolevska (HC Vardar), Anne Hykkelbjerg (youth player Viborg HK), Anne Sofie Filtenborg (Randers HK), Sanne van Olphen (Toulon)

Left the club: Mie Sørensen (Nykøbing Falster), Signe Brun (retired), Rikke Skov (retired), Marie Paule Gnabouyou (Siofok), Siri Seglem (EH Aalborg), Sarah Paulsen (Dijon), Karen Nørgaard (retired)

Coach: Allan Heine (since 2015/16)

Team captain: no captain

Opponents in the group matches: Vistal Gdynia, Byasen Handball Elite and Kastamonu Belediyesi GSK in Group C

EHF Women’s Champions League records:
Winner: 2005/06, 2008/09, 2009/10
Finalist: 1996/97, 2000/01
Semi-finalist: 2002/03
Quarter-finals: 1997/98, 2004/05, 2006/07, 2014/15
Last 16: 1994/95
Main Round: 2007/08
Group Phase: 1995/96, 1999/00, 2001/02, 2010/11, 2011/12, 2012/13
Qualification: 2013/14

Other EC records:
EHF Cup: Winner: 1993/94, 1998/99, 2003/04

Cup Winners’ Cup: Winner: 2013/14, Finalist 2011/12

Danish champions: 1993/94,1994/95, 1995/96, 1996/97, 1998/99, 1999/00, 2000/01, 2001/02, 2003/2004, 2005/2006, 2007/08, 2008/09, 2009/2010, 2013/14

Danish Cup winner: 1992/93,1993/94, 1995/96, 2002/2003, 2005/2006, 2006/2007, 2007/08, 2009/2010, 2010/11, 2012/13

TEXT: Bjorn Pazen/amc

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