Bøhn: "We are favourites"Article
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The strongest Larvik team of the last eight years welcomes Vâlcea in the top game of the week in the EHF Women’s Champions League.

»EHF CL Channel »2010-11 Women's News

Bøhn: "We are favourites"

Larvik HK can take a clear lead of Group C by beating Oltchim Vâlcea. After a fine win in Toulon and an impressive victory against Randers, the Norwegians face their first real test of the season. Larvik coach Karl-Erik Bøhn knows that his team is about to face another strong favourite, but he also has great confidence in his players, perhaps the most confidence ever.

ehfCL.com: Are you satisfied with Larvik's performance in your first two Champions League matches?

Karl-Erik Bøhn: We met a tough opponent in France, as Toulon was better than I'd expected, and they surprised me in a positive way, with some beautiful handball. Fortunately we won in the end. Against Randers we were very good. Maybe the Danes were a bit surprised after what we’d shown in Toulon. I think they gave up, as they knew they had no chance when we led by ten goals at the break. Our plan was to play at full speed from the start and to challenge them on everything that they’d done so well against Vâlcea. Our plan was successful.

ehfCL.com: Now Oltchim comes to the Larvik Arena. What’s your analysis of their playing style?

Karl-Erik Bøhn: It’s an unpredictable team. They have fantastic players at every position in offence, but their defence has fluctuated. They were very, very bad in Randers, and very good against Toulon, but they have huge experience. Their main strength is a combination of shots from Neagu and excellent play along the line with Stanca. Ardean on the left wing can also score a lot of goals by herself. They also have very good goalkeepers. It was strange that they lost in Randers while we smashed the Danes, as, for me, Vâlcea is a much stronger opponent than Randers.

ehfCL.com: Both squads provide most of the national team players of Norway and Romania, and the matches between those two nations are often very tight, as we saw again in September. The last time Larvik lost at home in the Champions League was during the Group Phase two years ago… against Oltchim!

Karl-Erik Bøhn: That’s true. Oltchim has the capacity to beat every club, and in a way, it’s one of the few teams that can beat us. But if our defence is strong, it will be difficult for them.

ehfCL.com: So who is favourite?

Karl-Erik Bøhn: We are playing at home, so we are the favorites. Nobody can beat us at the Larvik Arena if we play as well as we can.

ehfCL.com: Is first place in the group important for you?

Karl-Erik Bøhn: Yes. It’s an advantage to meet, in the main round, two teams ranked second of their group and only one group winner, and … I always want to be first! We are still at the beginning of the season, and a lot of things will happen before the Main Round in February, and firstly, we have to qualify. We’re on the right track, with two matches that a team such as ours, with high ambition in the Champions League, was expected to win. Now, if we are able to beat Oltchim at home, we’ll be in a great position.

ehfCL.com: How have your new stars settled into the team?

Karl-Erik Bøhn: This has worked very well. Cecilie Leganger has continued to perform at an incredibly high level, and although not a surprise, it’s very nice to see. Gro Hammerseng brought masses of experience and authority with her, and has given our offence much more stability and strength. We’ve also taken advantage of Linn-Kristin Riegelhuth’s return to Larvik.

ehfCL.com: You’ve been on the Larvik staff for the last eight years (three as assistant coach and five as main coach). Is the current squad the best you’ve ever had?

Karl-Erik Bøhn: Yes, I would say so. Larvik has never had such a complete team.

The EHF Women's Champions League top game of Group C, Larvik HK (NOR) vs. C.S. Oltchim Rm. Vâlcea (ROM) on Saturday 23 October 2010 at 17:15 hrs (local time) will be broadcast live on our free-of-charge web stream on ehfTV.com.

TEXT: Grégory Tervel