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25.01.2017, 15:40◄ last page     


INTERVIEW OF THE WEEK: Larvik open the main round of the Women's EHF Champions League Main Round against CSM Bucuresti on Friday. ehfcl.com talked to top scorer Linn Kristin Riegelhuth-Koren about what it will take to win and Larvik's overall chances in the competition
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Riegelhuth-Koren: “We have to be sharp all the way”

When the Women's EHF Champions League starts again with the main round this weekend, Larvik's Linn-Kristin Riegelhuth Koren will enter as the competition's top scoring player.

The 32-year-old right has netted 47 times already for Norwegian side Larvik; five times more than 18-year-old shooting star Karina Sabirova from Astrakhanochka, the no.2 on the list.

To the surprise of many, Riegelhuth Koren was not nominated for the Norwegian national team who won the EHF EURO 2016 in Sweden in December, but for Larvik she has been a crucial asset.

And the experienced winger has a good idea why she has been particularly successful this season.

ehfcl.com: What is the reason for your personal success in the EHF Champions League?
Linn-Kristin Riegelhuth Koren: First of all, I have come back in good shape after my maternity leave, and I get plenty of handball practice again. Furthermore, I play in a team where I receive a lot of passes to work with and I have been able to make use of these with a pretty good scoring percentage.

ehfcl.com: Your team started poorly with defeats against Sävehof and Krim, but after that you made a good comeback. How do you rate Larvik's group matches?
Linn-Kristin Riegelhuth Koren: We got off to a poor start. We had several injured players and we were not able to make our game flow. As the group stage went on, we became better and managed to develop our game. Something that will continue in the main round.

ehfcl.com: You start the main round in Group 2 with four points. How do you see your chances?
Linn-Kristin Riegelhuth Koren: We are looking forward to getting started. There will be many tough matches in a group in which all teams can defeat each another. If we play our best, our chances are good.

ehfcl.com: The last time your team reached the Women´s EHF FINAL4 was in 2015. How do you see the chances to repeat this feat and maybe even win the EHF Champions League?
Linn-Kristin Riegelhuth Koren: We are working on obtaining the best possible position in the main round, that is our focus right now. All teams in the main round will fight to reach the quarter-finals and later the FINAL4. In order to make it that far, we will simply have to work our hardest in each and every match. Then time will show if we reach that goal.

ehfcl.com: Which teams do you see as the main favourites to win the Women's EHF Champions League?
Linn-Kristin Riegelhuth Koren: There are many good teams in the tournament, so this is completely open.

ehfcl.com: You will open the main round with your away game on Friday against defending champions CSM Bucuresti. How do you rate your chances in that match?
Linn-Kristin Riegelhuth Koren: That will be an exciting match in which we will need to be particularly good at defending. CSM have good players in all positions, so we have be sharp and produce a really good performance all the way.

ehfcl.com: Recently, you extended your contract with Larvik for another two years. How long do you plan to play handball at top level?
Linn-Kristin Riegelhuth Koren: I still enjoy playing handball, and I plan to on as long as I have exactly that feeling.

ehfcl.com: Other key players such as Marit Malm Frafjord and Kristine Breistøl have also extended their contracts. How do you see the future for Larvik? Can you keep your dominating position in Norway, being challenged, for example, these days by Vipers Kristiansand?
Linn-Kristin Riegelhuth Koren: At the moment, a lot of work is being done to get the necessary signings to also have a strong Larvik team in the future. Larvik are a club with fine traditions and I'm sure that we will continue to win titles.


TEXT: Peter Bruun / ts

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