Well-known faces at the debutantArticle
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EHF Women’s Champions League countdown, part 13: Randers HK (DEN)

»EHF CL Channel »2010-11 Women's News

Well-known faces at the debutant

International experience of the individual players doesn’t always mean EHF Champions League experience for the club. The Danish club Randers HK is a good example for that.

The squad contains well-known and successful faces of international handball, but for RHK it still is the very first time to have qualified for the EHF Champions League.

Among the players you can find two times Olympic Champion Katrine Fruelund (Denmark, with 183 matches and 889 goals for RHK, record holder in the current squad), Pan American Champion and Olympics participant Chana Masson, the intermediate captain of the German national team Nina Wörz or three times EHF Champions League winner Mette Melgaard (with Slagelse).

The last season was the most successful in the club’s history. First Randers won the EHF Cup final over Elda (Spain), after that they reached the Danish League finals – but lost against Viborg HK.

But thanks to second place Randers participated in the CL qualification tournaments, which wasn’t harder that cutting warm butter with a knife for them.

Three clear victories on home ground against Sparta (Ukraine), Leverkusen (Germany) and Milli Piyango (Turkey) meant an easy weekend for the team of coach Jan Leslie, who took the responsibility from Martin Albertsen in 2009.

"It was our main objective to qualify for the Group Phase of the EHF Champions League. Now the objective has c hanged, it is to go as far as possible," Leslie said.

But Group C awaits the debutants with strong opponents: Larvik and Valcea both belong to the teams that aim for the title. Additionally the Danes will meet the French champion from Toulon.

Leslie: "The draw was hard on us. Besides a strong French team we are to meet two of the favourites to win the trophy – one of last year’s finalists to name one. We have to fight hard to even win points in this group. Despite that we are looking forward to battling some of Europe’s best teams."

Leslie’s team is well-rehearsed, only one player (Tatsiana Silitch) left, two newcomers (Melgaard and Anna Sophie Okkels) arrived. So Leslie doesn’t only hope for success in the EHF Champions League, but also in the Danish league: "In the national league our objective is to make it to the play-offs, and then to reach a match for medals."

At their upcoming CL premiere on Saturday against Valcea, Leslie can’t count on his whole team: Two players, Gitte Andersen and Dzenita Bajic, are currently injured. Gitte Andersen is expected back within a few months, Dzenita Bajic even later.

Another change will happen in the end of 2010, as a well-known face will say good-bye: Physiotherapist Rene From will leave Randers HK after 12 seasons in the club. But a new physical coach, Ashley Tootle, has joined the sports management team this season.

Key facts

Newcomers: Anna Sophie Okkels (from SK Aarhus), Mette Melgaard (from Brabrand, Slagelse FH, FCK)

Left the club: Tatsiana Silitch (end of career)

Coach: Jan Leslie (DEN, since 2009)

Find more information here.

TEXT: Björn Pazen