|30.11.2007, 16:07||◄ last page|
The two CL representatives of Denmark had very different CL campaigns this season. There are various reasons for that - read the analysis of our Danish correspondant, Peter Bruun.
Danes: different CL campaigns
GOG Svendborg TGI qualified for the CL as champions, while Viborg HK, who are better known for their strong women’s team, got access to the competition through a wild card.
Viborg had absolutely no problems with Turkish champions, Besiktas Istanbul, in the qualifiers. However, the group stage proved to be too tough for the CL debutants. Even though they fought the best they could, they actually did not stand a chance against the two top teams of Group E, HSV Hamburg and Chehovskie Medvedi.
After a 6 goal home win over the Ukrainian champions, ZTR Zaporozhye, they seemed to have a good chance of ending third in the group and qualify for the Last 16 of the Cup Winners’ Cup. At the end a 12-goal defeat in the Ukraine meant the end of all their hopes.
“We wanted to be the jolly jokers of the group, but the many injuries prevented this,” said Viborg coach Søren Hildebrand.
He was partly right. A whole lot of injuries disturbed the team in the CL, and the lack of Champions League experience did the rest of the job to end Viborg’s European adventure already after the first group stage.
Okay for GOG
In contrast to Viborg, GOG played Champions League several times before. Though the team changed a lot before this season, they still have many experienced players on an international level.
That was seen in Group D, where GOG managed to cope with several injuries and met the expectations by qualifying for the Main Round on position 2.
An unexpected 6-goal away defeat against Al Bregenz was pardoned for two draws against Portland San Antonio.
It is also quite symptomatic of the attitude of the team that they fear no opponent in the Main Round where they were drawn to Group D with FC Barcelona, Celej Pivovarna Lasko and Pick Szeged.
“Although Barcelona are obviously favourites, we have a chance against all teams – including Barcelona – if we play at our best,” their Swedish coach, Ulf Schefvert said.
He may be right. If his team can avoid injuries, when the main round throws off in February, GOG have quite an impressive team with a strong defence in front of a national team substitute, Peter Henriksen, a goalkeeper of international level. Their fast breaks are also dangerous with Mikkel Hansen, Kasper Jørgensen, Snurri Gudjunsson and Asgeri Örn Hallgrimsson and they have some backcourt players who can deserve the respect of any European top team.Peter Bruun
TEXT: Peter Bruun