"Small things decided"Article
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Coach Vestergaard talks about the key to the success of Viborg.

"Small things decided"

Jakob Vestergaard, head coach of Viborg HK, was understandably happy after his team won the Women´s Champions League after winning 26-23 against Győr. This gave Viborg a 50-49 aggregate win after the Hungarian champions won the first leg in Denmark by 26-24.

This was the first Champions League final of coach Vestergaard who was promoted from assistant coach to head coach just before this season. Eurohandball.com talked to him about the final and Viborg´s road to the title.

Eurohandball.com: What decided the final?

Jakob Vestergaard: The fact that our defence was so strong in the second leg, the fact that Katrine Lunde Haraldsen showed an outstanding performance in our goal, the fact that Henriette Mikkelsen was extremely efficient on fast-breaks in the first half, and the fact that Kikki (playmaker Kristine Lunde, ed.) played amazingly well at both ends of the court… Those were the main reasons we could get a good lead in the first 40 minutes and it was enough until the end.

Eurohandball.com: The final minutes were extremely close. In fact, Győr were in the winning position at 23-25 shortly before the end. How could you win in that phase?

Jakob Vestergaard: Even when being seven goals up with 20 minutes to go, we were prepared for a close finish and we tried to anticipate that situation with our substitutions. We had people with a clear heads and the ability to make the right decisions on the court at the end! However, extremely small things decided the match at the end. Obviously, it was extremely important that we scored to make it 26-23 in stead of Győr reducing it to 24-25.

Eurohandball.com: Looking at the entire season, why do you think your team could lift the trophy at the end?

Jakob Vestergaard: I think it is mainly due to the fact that we managed to keep control all the way – especially in defence. We were better than most of the other teams in playing away from home. We proved this in the second leg against Győr, but also against Valcea and on several other occasions.

Eurohandball.com: This was the fifth Danish CL title in six years. Does it prove that Denmark have the the strongest women’s league as many people claim?

Lunde Haraldsen was key in the Viborg successJakob Vestergaard: Yes I think Denmark still has the strongest one, but the competition is growing in some parts of Europe. Already this season I think we have seen more strong teams than before and I’m sure that this development will continue in the years to come. So yes, we still have the strongest league, but the competition is getting keener.

Eurohandball.com: With this in mind, can Viborg repeat the triumph next year?

Jakob Vestergaard: I really hope so, and we are going to have a very strong team next season too. Bojana Popovic and Nora Reiche will both return from injury and Gorica Acimovic will join us from Hypo. But other teams will be reinforced as well. I expect teams such as Győr, Buducnost and Krim to be very strong next season and Valcea look very strong already. So I hope we can do it again, but the competition will be tough.

TEXT: Peter Bruun