Team unity is the key to successArticle
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Leipzig coach Heine Jensen aims for another victory to remain spotless in the CL, this time against Austrian record-winner Hypo.

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Team unity is the key to success

HC Leipzig is one of the surprise teams at the start of this year’s EHF Women’s Champions League. After two victories against Itxako and Debrecen the Germans lead the Group B table. Danish coach Heine Jensen is confident that his team will reach the Main Round for the second consecutive time, but also knows that a lot of hard work lies ahead for his players. Congratulations on a great start! Did you expect those two victories?

Heine Jensen: Thanks, this start is wonderful! Even so, it’s the sort of start we didn’t predict. Although we’re very proud and happy, we also know that there are no presents to be handed-out by our opponents in the upcoming matches. We need to work really hard. You started with a victory in Estella, how surprised were you to take two points off the reinforced team from Spain?

Heine Jensen: Nobody expected those two points before the match. For me, the Spaniards are still the big favourite for winning this group, as they won’t give away so many points in the next matches. All the three other teams have chances to go on in the CL, but we have at least two bonus points that nobody expected us to get. Those points are worth a lot, but they would have meant nothing if we’d lost our home match against Debrecen. In Round 3 you’ll play against Hypo NÖ, a team with zero points so far, is Leipzig the favourite?

Heine Jensen: Yes, if you just look at the ranking: 4 points to 0 points - but as I said, in my opinion, Leipzig, Debrecen and Hypo are on the same level. Anybody can beat anybody. This means that our match against Hypo is of vital importance to us as it could mean a great step towards the Main Round. How many points do Leipzig still need to be safe and securely qualified for the Main Round?

Heine Jensen: The next match will be the indicator for the way we go. Our fate is in our own hands if we beat Hypo. But still one victory isn’t enough as all teams will get points in their direct encounters. In the end you need at least seven or more points to go on to the Main Round. Which factors have made your team so strong in this season?

Heine Jensen: As we only have younger players that lack big international experience – no player is older than 30 years – we have to count on the closeness of our team. This closeness is the key to success, even if, in some matches, we have outstanding individual performances. My motto is: you win together and you lose together – so it’s only the team that counts. For most of your players, it’s the second consecutive season in the EHF Women´s CL, how important were the experiences of last season?

Heine Jensen: Highly important, as we learned from certain situations last year, and we have the knowledge of what to do in similar situations now. The last CL season was highly important for the development of the team, and in the first two matches this year, we used some of that acquired experience to help us to secure wins. Another factor could be that the newcomers integrated very quickly?

Heine Jensen: Yes, they adapted really fast. As most of them come from abroad they always need a little time to adapt in a new country and a new team. They know that we are patient with them but they really found their roles within the team very quickly. Six EHF Women’s Champions League matches in six weeks, besides playing in the Bundesliga – how big is the current burden that your players have to carry?

Heine Jensen: The burden is heavy, but we’re prepared for these situations. Due to the full programme of the next few weeks, it feels good to already have four points in the bank, but I think that my players have enough stamina to withstand this workload.

TEXT: Björn Pazen