Countdown, part 6: IK SävehofArticle
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The young all-Swedish team hope to learn and surprise their strong opponents with their fighting spirit.

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Countdown, part 6: IK Sävehof

After becoming Swedish champions for the fourth straight time last season, IK Sävehof qualified automatically for the Group Matches in the Women’s EHF Champions League for the first time ever. It’s their third appearance among the best 16 teams in the competition, and Sävehof are the only current club with teams in the Women’s EHF Champions League and the Men's VELUX EHF Champions League Group Matches.

Sävehof women hold another record - they are the only team in the competition with a squad made up entirely of players from their home country. The roster did not change that much in the summer, with one exception: Sävehof lost their superb Swedish national team goalkeeper Cecilia Grubbström, who transferred to Danish side Viborg HK.

But the men in charge of the women changed: Former coach Magnus Johansson became the head of the successful Sävehof men’s team, so Henrik Signell is now responsible for the women’s team.

Despite having top opponents – Larvik, Volgograd and FTC – in their Group Matches, the young all-Swedish team hope to proceed to the Main Round. Manager Susanna Laursen said: "Larvik and Volgograd are very experienced and consist of world class star players. We have a strong self-confidence, but maybe our team is too young. Every year we lose players, mainly to Denmark. We have around 10 quality players who have left the club to go elsewhere in Europe, and it’s hard to produce new players every year."

Team captain Ida Odén expects a "funny season": "It will be very funny to play Champions League this year. It’s the first time in history that a Swedish team has automatically qualified. We have participated twice before in the Group Matches, but never reached the next stage."

Sävehof’s long-term quality in producing young players is marked by the fact that a big number of their players were in the Swedish squads which became youth and junior world champions in 2010 and 2012.

Three questions to coach Henrik Signell: What are your expectations for the upcoming season of the Women’s EHF Champions League?
Henrik Signell: We expect better results than in the past, we have a good team and the girls want to fight to win. But it is difficult for me to compare my team to Larvik and Volgograd. What does participating in the Women’s EHF Champions League mean to you and your club?
Henrik Signell: It is an important status to be part of the EHF Champions League and to represent Sweden in this competition. What teams are your personal favourites to win the Women’s EHF Champions League season – and why?
Henrik Signell: It’s so tough in the top. But I put my money on Larvik.

IK Sävehof (SWE)
Qualification for the Women’s EHF Champions League 2012/13 season: Swedish champions
Newcomers: Elin Karlsson (BK Heid), Filippa Idén Spårvägen, three players form Sävehof junior team
Left the club: Cecilia Grubbström (Viborg/Denmark) Jennifer Kasman (Norrköping), Karin Isakson (end of career)
Coach: Henrik Signell (since 15 May, successor of Magnus Johansson, now Sävehof men’s team)

Women’s EHF Champions League records:
Participations (including 2012/13 season): 5
Group Phase: 2007/08, 2010/11
Qualification: 2006/07, 2011/12

Other EC records:

Cup Winners’ Cup:
Last 16: 2011/12

Swedish champions: 1993, 2000, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012
Swedish cup winners: There is no cup competition in Sweden

Further information
Find more information about IK Sävehof HERE
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TEXT: Björn Pazen