|14.09.2016, 16:40||◄ last page|
FEATURE: KIF Kolding Kobenhavn want to reclaim the Danish championship, which they lost last season, but there are also other contenders in the Danish league looking to secure the title as well.
KIF prioritising their championship goal
Finishing fourth in the Danish championship, as KIF Kolding Kobenhavn did last season, was far from being satisfactory for the ambitious powerhouse.
This loss continued to motivate the team to take back the title this year and therefore, several interesting new players have been brought in to help KIF reach their goal.
Spanish players, Antonio Garcia and Niko Mindegia from MOL Pick Szeged, as well as Swede, Philip Stenmalm from Naturhouse La Rioja are expected to strengthen the back court line, while Brazilian international Fabio Chiuffa has been signed from Spanish Guadalajara for the right wing position.
“We have not yet defined our objectives for the season officially, but there is no doubt that taking back the Danish championship is one of our most important goals,” said left wing Magnus Landin, younger brother of national team goalkeeper, Niklas Landin.
However, KIF have lost some key players before the start of this season.
Along with left back, Lasse Andersson, who has joined FC Barcelona, line player Torsten Laen and right wing Kasper Irming have left for Danish league rivals GOG and Skanderborg respectively, as other teams are reaching out for the title.
Two teams with chances to extinguish KIF´s hopes for the championship are Skjern Handbold and Aalborg Handball.
Unlike KIF, both teams are without European obligations this season, which means they can focus entirely on the domestic league.
Furthermore, both Skjern and Aalborg have interesting team rosters, which appear stronger than last year’s squads, especially with regards to Skjern.
Apart from still having the entire squad from last season at his disposal, head coach Ole Nørgaard has welcomed Icelandic international, Tandri Mar Konradsson, as well as the promising Danish playmaker talent, Cornelius Kragh, from relegated Nordsjælland for the upcoming year.
Finally, the versatile back court player, Daniel Svensson, has had a miraculous speedy recovery from his second cancer diagnosis and seems fit to play from the start of the season.
Still, the coach is cautious, after a pre-season that was hampered by injuries.
“We have been hit by multiple injuries, so we have been missing between two and six players at each test match,” adds Ole Nørgaard.
In addition to the signings of Icelandic internationals, Arnor Atlason and Stefan Sigurmansson for the back court line and left wing, there will also be Patrick Wiesmach’s comeback on the right wing. With these players in the mix, Aalborg may be expected to mingle with the top of the tournament, while things may be more difficult for Denmark´s two VELUX EHF Champions League participants, Bjerringbro-Silkeborg and TTH Holstebro.
Champions League teams in trouble
Current champions, Bjerringbro-Silkeborg, are suffering from the hard loss of right back and Danish international, Mads Christiansen, who joined SC Magdeburg for this upcoming season. Christiansen’s substitute, Nikolaj Øris Nielsen, is dealing with some ongoing knee problems.
Having to concentrate on the VELUX EHF Champions League along with the national league, Silkeborg could have major difficulties winning the domestic championship again.
In comparison to last year, Holstebro have changed around half of their team and understandably, they will require some additional time to make their new squad click.
Meanwhile, the long-term injury absence from Danish international Peter Balling, which is set to last almost the entire season, will be a key deficit to the runners-up from last season.
TEXT: Peter Bruun / tm