Debutant coach leading Viborg in the FinalArticle
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This will be the first Final of Jakob Vestergaard - unlike for many of his players. He is proud that Viborg made it without Popovic.

Debutant coach leading Viborg in the Final

Unlike many of his players, Viborg coach Jakob Vestergaard is preparing for his first EHF Champions League Final ever. Nevertheless, the 34-year old former Australian national coach seems to be extremely confident – rightly so judging on the results.

Viborg had all the time in the world to prepare for the Champions League finals. The last match in the Danish league was not important for Viborg any more and the coach could give a rest for several key players. Viborg still won 34-28 against SK Århus ranked third in the league.

Popovic only supporter, still Viborg are in the Final“Several players got some match practice, while key players did not play as much as they are used to. We managed to give every player the chance. It is great when you have a chance to find out what you need to improve. It’s always a pity to find out afterwards what you should have done,” Jakob Vestergaard said. Left winger Gitte Aaen and playmaker Kristine Lunde did not play at all. On Saturday?

Jakob Vestergaard: The will both play on Saturday! Key player Rikke Skov was hit in the head this game. Is she going to be okay for the Final?

Jakob Vestergaard: She got a scratch below her left eye and at first I was afraid that her nose could be broken. Of course you are afraid of that when a player is injured there. Such things hurt, but let’s knock on wood: I think it is only a scratch and I really expect Rikke to be able to train at full strength throughout the week. Honestly, when Bojana Popovic picked up that injury on 21 February, did you still believe in playing the Champions League Final?

Jakob Vestergaard: Of course, that was a tough night – for Bojana in particular, but also for the team and for me personally. I do not want to make any secret of the fact that we spent quite some time thinking what to do then. We seem to have done something right, as we are going to play the finals now – even without the world’s greatest handball player. What functioned well in your view?

Jakob Vestergaard: Looking back at the important matches, I must say that our defence and our goalkeepers have done especially well. It is crucial that those elements of our game function well on Saturday too. I think we have seen some very fine attacking game and we have improved in playing as a team.

TEXT: Peter Bruun