Ryde: Players’ health comes firstArticle
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Popovic will be back for the key match against Hypo this weekend after Viborg's coach Ryde gave her a rest against Slagelse. Viborg prepare for victory against the Austrians.

Ryde: Players’ health comes first

Tomas Ryde, Swedish head coach of Viborg HK, is not a man who would risk the health of his players. As a proof of this, Ryde did not send on court Montenegrin star, Bojana Popovic, against Slagelse last week. Viborg won 22-12 over the other Danish team.

In spite of suffering from a knee injury, Bojana Popovic could have played. Still, Ryde decided to keep her out of the match:

“Bojana could have player, but it might have had negative consequences and I do not want to allow injured players on court. The players´ health comes before anything else,” Ryde told Eurohandball.com.

Fit against Hypo

Thomsen is also back: she will be useful in defenceTomas Ryde expects Popovic to be fit for Saturday’s extremely important CL match at home against Hypo Niederösterreich.

“She is able to train normally again and I do not expect any problems on Saturday,” said Ryde, who can also welcome back another player.

Left back and defence specialist, Lene Thomsen, was back on the court against Slagelse where she played great parts of the match in defence. Thomsen took part in a few attacks as well.

“Lene is back and it adds more strength to our defence, but she is not yet ready to play much in attack,” the coach said about the 24-year old former Danish international. Thomsen will leave Viborg after this season to join struggling Danish league team, Frederikshavn Fox.

Lene Thomsen’s comeback means that Viborg’s once so long injury list includes only two players now: goalkeeper Louise Bager Due – expected to be back in April – and Romanian right winger Christina Várzaru – not expected to be back this season.

Close finish

The Saturday match against Hypo Niederösterreich seems to be a key match in Group 2. Viborg´s head coach, however, expects the race for the two places in the semis to bring a huge battle of the three teams.

“Our away match against Zvezda Zvenigorod next weekend may be just as much a key match as the one against Hypo. There may very well be three teams, Hypo, Zvezda and Viborg, who all finish with 8 points. However, it is very important that we defeat Hypo with at least three goals in order to be better than them in the direct encounters,” Tomas Ryde told Eurohandball.com.

Viborg key player, Rikke Skov, definitely considers the Hypo game to be the key match:

“Being forced to win the away game against Zvezda may be too much of a challenge for us. Therefore it is very important for us to beat Hypo by three goals or more,” Skov added.

TEXT: Peter Bruun