Two equal gamesArticle
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Viborg coach Jakob Vestergaard expects two close sem-finals between the Danes and the Norwegians.

Two equal games

Viborg and Larvik are burning in handball fever before the first leg of the Scandinavian semi-final tie in the Women´s Champions League. Jakob Vestergaard, head coach of the title holder Viborg, expects two tight and equal matches. The first leg in Viborg on Saturday night will probably not decide the matter.

“It will be like two halftimes and the decision will fall on the second,” he says in an interview with

Althaus may be back on You have not played a match since 27 March. What did you use this unusually long break for?

Jakob Vestergaard: Last week was not a real break for the majority of our players as they were away for EURO qualifiers or training camps with their national teams. So it was a question of practising for six players we had at home! We did some individual training and aimed at improving their form. This week - with all players back - our focus is on trainings as a team. What is the situation with the many injuries in your team?

Jakob Vestergaard: There is good and bad news. Karen Smidt is out with a muscle strain (the back of her thigh) and at the moment I don't know whether she can play. Anja Althaus is close to coming back and I hope that at least one of them would be fit for Saturday. We would be practically without pivots otherwise...

In addition, goalkeeper Katarina Bralo returned from her national team also with a muscle injury in her thigh. At the same time, things look bettwe for left winger Gitte Aaen. She came back at our last league match in Ikast before Easter. I expect her to add a bit more on Saturday. What will decide on Saturday?

Jakob Vestergaard: Probably the defence: which team can first get it working. Both teams are based on their strong defences and both teams love to make fast-breaks. I'm also looking forward to the duel between a Danish goalkeeper in a Norwegian team, Lene Rantala, and a Norwegian goalkeeper in a Danish team, Katrine Lunde Haraldsen. What will be a good result for you at the first match?

Jakob Vestergaard. It is really impossible to say. Of course it always matters whether you win by one or by seven goals, but in general I would say that just winning the match would be a good result. I expect two extremely close and equal matches where the final decision will be made at the end of the second match in Larvik. It will be like two halftimes of a match decided at the end. Will the unusual starting hour (21:15hrs) have any importance?

Jakob Vestergaard: No, not really. Just like if you are an actor or an artist in the circus: you have to perform when the show is on! If the day gets too long for our players, they can probably take a nap during the day. Anyway, I will leave it entirely to the players how they plan their day.

TEXT: Peter Bruun