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11.06.2007, 12:38◄ last page     

Swedish coach of Viborg talks to eurohandball.com about next season and integrating the new stars into the team.

Ryde Building New Team for Viborg

In contrast to last season, the two Danish teams start the 2007/08 Champions League in the group stage. As normal, the title holder Slagelse DT qualified directly for the first group stage, but also the 2005/06 CL winner Viborg HK are in the first group stage. Eurohandball.com talks to the team’s Swedish coach, Tomas Ryde.

Ryde will have a sensational team next year againEurohandball.com: What does it mean for you to have been seeded directly for the first group stage?

Tomas Ryde: First of all, it means a lower number of matches as we will not have to play in the qualification group in addition to an already tight schedule next autumn. It is a great advantage to go directly to the first group stage, as a qualification group might have been difficult to win. You may run into some quite strong teams in the qualifiers too, and only the group winners advance to the group stage.

Eurohandball.com: CL finalist Lada Togliatti will play a qualification group as well…

Tomas Ryde: It only proves how many strong teams there are in the qualification groups and how difficult it might have been to win it.

Eurohandball.com: But even the first group stage may be tough. There are many strong teams and more will join after the qualification rounds.

Tomas Ryde: Absolutely. A team such as the Romanian Olchim Valcea, who won the Cup Winners’ Cup this season, appear to be extremely strong next season. And Hypo Niederösterreich seem to get even stronger for next season. We already know, how difficult they are, especially in Vienna. In addition, there is Zvezda Zvenigorod are very strong. They have beaten Lada in the finals of the Russian championship.

Popovic will also join ViborgEurohandball.com: Many believe that you are favourites to claim the CL trophy back with all the many reinforcements. Serbian Bojana Popovic, Norwegian twins and national players, Katrine and Kristine Lunde, German internationals Anja Althaus and Nora Reiche are coming. Do you think it will put your players under pressure?

Tomas Ryde: It is too simple to say that we are favourites. It always takes time to get new players integrated into the team and to adjust them to the team. It does not matter how good those new players are... It will probably take a while until our players get to know each other, but I hope to reach this when the first group phase throws off in October.

While Slagelse and Viborg qualified directly for the first group stage, Aalborg DH, who ended third in the Danish league this season will play qualification matches to qualify for the group games – just as they did last year.

TEXT: Peter Bruun

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