Disappointed DanesArticle
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GOG and FCK said goodbye to the Champions League in the Main Round. Read the analysis of ehfcl.com's Danish commentator, Peter Bruun.

»EHF CL Channel »2008-09 Men's News

Disappointed Danes

Danish handball fans and media usually like to see the men´s league as the third strongest league in Europe after the German Bundesliga and the Spanish Liga Asobal. However, it will be more difficult to defend this opinion after the main round of the EHF Champions League. The two Danish teams, FCK Håndbold and GOG Svendborg both finished last in their groups with only two points altogether – those two points were won by Danish champions FCK on the last match day.

FCK played an important roleAs Danish teams have not done much better in the other European competitions, with Bjerringbro-Silkeborg in the EHF Cup being the only Danish representative in the quarterfinals, the disappointment is hanging rather heavily over fans and experts in Denmark these days. Recently, national coach Ulrik Wilbek even expressed his frustrations with the Danish clubs´ performances in public.

When looking at FCK, the fact that the current number three in the Danish league had to play the entire main round without their first-choice goalkeeper Steinar Ege played a big part. Ege picked up a knee injury in a match for Norway during the World Championships and has been sidelined ever since.

The fact that FCK were Champions League debutants also played a part. Even though several among Magnus Andersson’s men had tried it all before, the players in general seemed to have problems concentrating on Champions League as well as the Danish league at the same time.

However, FCK finished their first campaign ever on a positive note. Not only did they manage to erase the distressing zero on their account in their last match, but they also played an important role in the quarterfinal race. By defeating Portland San Anontio at home, the Copenhagen-based side robbed the CL dreams of the Spanish team and sent the Russian champion Chehovskie Medvedi to the knock-out rounds. It was a bit of a paradox, though, that FCK´s only triumph in the main round came exactly this match where their injury list was longer than ever before. Apart from Steinar Ege, FCK also had to play the San Antonio match without backcourt players Martin Boquist and Arnor Atlason as well as line player Jacob Bagersted…

No points – but financial success

While FCK made at least two points in Group 1, GOG Svendborg did not manage to get a single point from Group 4. At first sight this might seem kind of anti-climax after the Funen team were only one point from qualifying for the semi-finals last year.

Several factors will have to be taken into consideration, though.

GOG had little joy in the Main RoundFirst of all, GOG were in a considerably tougher main round group that last year. Both finalists from last year, Ciudad Real and THW Kiel, were the opponents together with FC Barcelona. You could really not expect the current number nine of the Danish league to do much in that company. If GOG should be disappointed not to qualify for the quarterfinals, what should Barcelona say?

Another factor, when it comes to describing GOG´s Champions League performance, way injury. Danish international Kasper Nielsen, who returned to the club from Flensburg Handewitt before this season, was injured most of the spring, and only recently begun to approach his previous form.

Pretty much the same goes for Icelandic international Snorri Gunjunsson – and after those two have finally got fit, line player and defence pivot Peter Svensson picked up a long-term back injury.

All in all, it would have been difficult to expect GOG take points against the above mentioned squads, but it was a disappointment for many Danes that they lost some of their matches the way they did.

However, even if GOG failed to be successful on court, at least the CL was successful financially for them.

“For our last match against Barcelona we sold tickets for more money than we sell for all our league games for both our male and female team during the entire season,” GOG director Arne Buch told the Danish TV2. Peter Bruun

TEXT: Peter Bruun