Until 2010, Katrine and Kristine Lunde were inseparable – they always played in the same club and moved together. However, when the Norwegian twin sisters left Viborg HK after the Danish club’s third and most recent EHF Champions League triumph in 2010, their careers took them on separate paths.
Now, they are back together again. Both sisters are ready to try and help Viper Kristiansand qualify for the Champions League Group Matches for the first time in history.
For a long time, it has been a fact that Katrine Lunde would be guarding the Vipers goal after joining from Rostov Don this summer.
What is new however, is that Katrine’s twin sister, playmaker Kristine Lunde Borgesen has reassumed her career. Lunde Borgesen had retired from active duty and was focusing on being assistant to head coach Kenneth Gabrielsen in the south Norwegian club.
However, the fact that playmaker Marta Tomac tore her anterior cruciate ligament more or less forced Kristine Lunde back to the court.
“We were simply unable to find any qualified replacement for Marta, so Kristine will be acting as my playing assistant coach for the time being,” explains head coach Kenneth Gabrielsen who has previous Champions League experience from his time as head coach with another Norwegian club, Glassverket. He is keen for a repeat with his current club.
Stepping out of Larvik’s shadow
“Qualifying for the Champions League would mean a lot to the club and to everyone in and around the team,” Gabrielsen tells ehfCL.com. His team have the home advantage, as qualification Group 1 will be played in Aquarama, Kristiansand.
Even without Marta Tomac, Vipers will enter the qualifiers with an even stronger team than that which finished second after Larvik in the Norwegian play-off last season.
Apart from home-coming Katrine Lunde, the team has been reinforced by Norwegian international Emilie Hegh Arntzen on left back and the huge talent Malin Aune on right wing.
In Norway, many people are talking about this season as the year when Larvik’s dominance of Norwegian women’s handball will be broken after nearly two decades, and that Vipers will be the team to do it – at home as well as in the Champions League, where Larvik are already in the group matches.
“You should still watch out for Larvik, though. Their team still has a lot of quality and experience, and for instance, we only have three players who have played in the Champions League before, so for us it will still be some kind of a learning process. But we do hope to step out of Larvik’s shadow eventually,” says Gabrielsen.
The chances are good
Gabrielsen sees his team’s chances of at least reaching the group matches as good, even though only the group winner proceeds to the next phase of the tournament.
“First of all, we have been focusing on HC Gomel from Belarus, who we are meeting in the semi-final on Saturday, and I think our chances against them are very good.
“I do not know that much about the other two teams in the group, Podravka and Kastamonu Belediyesi yet, but from what I do know, I expect the Turkish side (Kastamonu) to be the better team of those two.
“I definitely think we will have a really good chance no matter which of those two teams we meet, and obviously, the home advantage will mean a lot to us,” concludes Gabrielsen.