GOG close to main round – Viborg on their way outArticle
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GOG reached an easy 38-31 victory in Slovakia, while Viborg were defeated in the Ukraine.

GOG close to main round – Viborg on their way out

Denmark’s two representatives in the Men’s Champions League had very different results this weekend in the Round 4 of the Group phase. While GOG Svendborg TGI are extremely close to the Main Round with two match days left with their 38-31 away win over Tatran Presov, Viborg HK nearing the end of their European adventure after a surprisingly clear 35-23 defeat in the Ukraine against ZTR Zaporozhye.

Fine second half enough for GOG

GOG proved once again that they have a place in the Main RoundFor Danish Champions GOG Svendborg TGI, a fine performance in the second half – and particularly in the last phase of the match – was enough to secure a 38-31 win away against Slovakian champions Tatran Presov. Once again, GOG were not able to play at full strength, as left back Kasper Jørgensen had not recovered from a foot injury he picked up in last Wednesday’s Danish league game against Viborg. Other players were ready to take over, though, as the Lasse Svan, Mikkel Hansen and Asgeir Örn Hallgrimsson shared the honour of top scorer with 8 goals each.

An equal first half ended 16-16, but as the second half progressed, the Danes managed to take a lead and increase it towards the end of the game. The difference between the teams was 7 goals at the end.

“Things worked out as planned”

“After an equal first half, things worked out as planned as the players kept our tactical schemes very well. In spite of quite a lot of pressure from the crowd, we managed to keep our heads clear,” GOG’s head coach, Ulf Schefvert told Eurohandball.com.

“Now we have an extremely good chance to reach the Main Round, and our destiny is definitely in our own hands with two home matches remaining from the group stage. As a matter of fact, we can finish the job in our home match against Portland San Antonio on Wednesday. For that match I expect Kasper Jørgensen to be fit again, meaning that we will play at full strength for the first time this season. With more than 4,000 spectators supporting us in the brand new Arena Fyn in Odense, this can be really fantastic,” Schefvert added.

GOG are currently second in Group D with 5 points, while Portland San Antonio are leading with 7. Tatran Presov and A1 Bdregenz both have 2 points and a theoretical chance to still go on in the competition.

Shock for Viborg

Viborg had no chance against Zaporozhye this timeWhile GOG appear to be heading for further adventures in the Champions League, the adventures seem to be coming to and end for Champions League debutants, Viborg HK. The greens lost their last chance to qualify for the main round with a 35-23 away defeat against the Ukrainian champions, ZTR Zaporozhye. The big defeat also meant that the Danes practically lost their chance to finish third in the group and qualify for the Cup Winners’ Cup, as Zaporozhye are now 6 goals better in the direct encounter of the two teams as Viborg won their first match 29-23 at home.

The big defeat was no surprise as Viborg were missing no less than five players due to injury. Apart from long term injured Lukas Karlsson and Milan Grubanov, the Danes were playing without their normal right backs, Morten Bjerre and Per Leegaard who were both sidelined by leg injuries. In addition, Swedish goalkeeper Thomas Forsberg was bothered with back problems.

Therefore Viborg took only 12 players to Zaporozhye – two youth players – and that made the job quite easy for the home team who were leading 14-10 at half time. The Ukrainians gave their 1,000 spectators and even better time after the break, continuously increasing the lead to 12 goals at the end.

Viborg did not make things easier for themselves: they missed four penalties, while their goalkeepers only had 9 saves throughout the entire 60 minutes.

Realistic coach

“After replacing so many players, it was too big job for us – even though this should not sound as an excuse. Now we will have to win one of our two remaining matches in the group – at home against HSV Hamburg or away against Chehovskie Medvedi – in order to still have a chance to reach our original goal, qualifying for the Cup Winners’ Cup. As none of our injured players ca be expected to be fit to those matches, this does not seem realistic at all. We have to accept that our European adventure is coming to an end,” Viborg coach, Søren Hildebrand, told Eurohandball.com.

Sergej Onufrjenko of Zaporozhye was top scorer with 12 goals, while Henrik Dreyer and Gábor Császár scored 7 each for Viborg.

The result in Zaporozhye was also welcome in Hamburg as it means that HSV are now sure to qualify for the Main Round with 7 points. Chehovskie Medvedi have 5, while ZTR Zaporzhye and Viborg both have 2 points.

TEXT: Peter Bruun