CL Without Kolding after 7 YearsArticle
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Surprise in the Danish men's championship: KIF Kolding loses the semi-final and fails to qualify for the Champions League after six seasons.

CL Without Kolding after 7 Years 

The Men’s Champions League will start without Danish side KIF Kolding for the first time in seven years. The team took part in exactly half of the 14 Champion League seasons so far. The last six years the team managed to go on from the group stage each and every year – a record that very few teams can boast of.

Lasse Boesen arrived from Portland San AntonioThis season, however, Kolding did not qualify for the finals of the Danish Championship, so Kolding will have to be satisfied with the Cup Winners’ Cup on the right of the Danish Cup winners.

Disappointing play-offs

Kolding ended second in the Danish league this season, but the semi-final against third-placed GOG Svendborg TGI was their “Waterloo”. After winning the first leg at home 34-33, Kolding lost the second leg away 28-27. The third and decisive match at home ended 30-29 for the guests and it means that GOG Svendborg TGI will play the finals.

Their opponent will be Viborg HK, which is a surprise. The team ended the season fourth, but defeated league winners FC København Håndbold and clinched the final. As a result, GOG or Viborg represent Denmark in the 15th season of the Champions League. The finals in Denmark will take place at the end of May.

Many decisive factors

“We did not manage to get any further in the play-offs, probably due to many factors. We have to say that the semi-finals were decided by very small things,” Kolding coach Ulf Sivertsson told

“In the second leg, GOG keeper Peter Henriksen made two magnificent saves in our last attack. We would have qualified with a draw for the final. The third match we were awarded and overtime 7-meter throw. It could have secured us the extra time, but we missed it,” Sivertsson added. 

Strongest squad ever

Spellerberg came back with an injury from the World ChampionshipThe failure of Kolding came in a season when many considered the squad to be the strongest ever. The club even signed Danish international Lasse Boesen shortly before the start of the season and another national player, Kasper Søndergaard, joined from Aarhus GF during the winter.

“It is hard to say why things did not work out the way they should have with all these stars in the team, but injuries probably contributed to it. Both Lasse Boesen and Bo Spellerberg came home injured from the World Championship in February and they were missing for almost two months. Neither of them played more than four matches before the play-offs started,” Ulf Sivertsson explained.

“But of course, it is strange not to play the Champions League next season. It is always our big goal of any season. Now, however, we will have to be satisfied with qualifying for Europe at all, and we try to get really far in the Cup Winners’ Cup,” said Kolding’s Swedish coach.

Kolding’s greatest achievement in their six years in the Champions League was reaching the semi-finals in 2001/02.

TEXT: Peter Bruun