Prepared for pressureArticle
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Viborg coach Jakob Vestergaard still has a good feeling.

Prepared for pressure

A seven-goal lead before the second leg of the EHF Champions League final ought to be a fine cushion for ruling Champions League winners Viborg. However, some of the Viborg players were a bit annoyed after the home match against Oltchim Valcea, because the Danes were no less than ten goals up with five minutes left. The fact that the Romanian visitors had scored the last three goals of the match left several players frustrated. Having been ten goals up with five minutes left, how content are you with a seven goal lead?

Jakob Vestergaard: I have a very good feeling about that. We are very content with the seven-goal victory. Before the match I would have been happy to win by five. Bringing a seven-goal cushion to the match in Bucharest is great. And we can still improve in some areas, especially in our counter-phase, where we made a little too many mistakes in the first match. We also had too many poor shots, as well as we had problems with their pivot. On the other hand, Valcea can also improve a lot of things, so all in all we are happy to having won by seven. So how exactly do you see your chances for the aggregate win?

Jakob Vestergaard: I think our chances are really good. Just forget that we were leading by ten goals at a certain point of the first match, that is of no use to us now. What is of use, though, is the fact that we are up by seven. So if we score at least 22 goals in Bucharest, Valcea will have to win by eight to take the trophy. Considering the quality that our counter attacks usually have, I believe we are able score at least 22 goals. That will force Valcea to score quite a lot of goals. In your semi-final tie against Larvik, a six goal lead after the home match turned out to be more than enough. Does this experience increase your confidence before going to Bucharest?

Jakob Vestergaard: Of course it does, but at the same time we realise that we will get under pressure down there. However, I hope that seven goals will be enough for us to take the trophy with us back home. Does the clear victory from the first match mean that your players have freed themselves of the nervousness that seemed pretty obvious during the first quarter of an hour of the first match?

Jakob Vestergaard: It is an obvious advantage for us that Valcea will have to provide a considerably different performance, compared to the first match, if they want to take the trophy to Romania. The nervousness we showed at the start of the first match can easily be explained by the fact that it is the final of the world’s greatest tournament in club handball. It is no wonder that both teams are nervous under such circumstances, even though some of the players have been there before. It is always special to enter a hall with 4-5.000 spectators. It is something different from the ordinary matches. What will be your approach to the return match?

Jakob Vestergaard: We definitely aim to win the second match, too. We always go for the win, no matter if we play away or at home. We can start talking about our seven goal lead, when there are two minutes left.

TEXT: Peter Bruun