Bille: Experience can bring us farArticle
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Danish winger refuses the role of favourites for Larvik, but still hope for the first place in the group.

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Bille: Experience can bring us far

In spite of the convincing 35:24 win against Dinamo Volgograd in Russia Sunday, Larvik HK´s Danish right winger Kristina Bille Hansen still refuses to rate her team among the favourites to win the Women´s EHF Champions League.

However, the 26 year old former Denmark international, who joined the Norwegian champions on a two year contract from Krim Mercator before this season, believes that the multitude of experienced players in the Larvik team can take the EHF Champions League winners from 2011 far in the tournament.

With her many matches in the European top flight, first for Danish Viborg HK and Aalborg DH, and latest for Krim, one of the more experienced players of Larvik talks to Did it come as a surprise to you that you were able to win by eleven goals in Volgograd?
Kristina Bille: At the beginning of the match we were not really sure what to expect, as Volgograd played really fast. However, as we got the lead and managed to extend it, we did not have much trouble – but still it definitely came as a surprise to me that we could win by eleven. After this big away win I suppose you expect another win, when you meet Volgograd again on Saturday, this time at home?
Kristina Bille: You may rest assured that we are going all in to win that match, as it is crucial to us to win our home matches, not least after we lost away to FTC Budapest. Obviously this is a match we should win, but Volgograd is still a strong team, if they get the feeling that they can hang on in the game. Considering the fact that FTC have maximum points after the first half of the group phase and defeated you by four in your first meeting with them, do you still believe in the first place, or do you simply go for qualifying for the main round?
Kristina Bille: Our first object is to go on to the main round, but despite FTC´s fine series so far, we have not given up on winning the group yet – and a lot can still happen. For instance, you should not underestimate Sävehof on their home ground, where both FTC and we have to meet them – and as I said before, Volgograd is a team who can be dangerous to any opponent, if they get the feeling that they have the chance. How far do you think you can get in the Women´s EHF Champions League this season?
Kristian Bille: I would not characterise us a favourites. I see Györ and Vâlcea as the main favourites, and I think they have some very interesting teams this year. Actually, I had the same thoughts about Krim before the tournament started, but they have not performed the way I expected them to. Although I do not see us among the top favourites, however, I still think that we have so many experienced players in our team this season that I believe we can get far in the tournament. How do you like it personally in Larvik?
Kristina Bille: I feel as if I was at home, as I can almost look over to Denmark from here. I am only joking, of course, but it is rather nice to be back in Scandinavian mentality and culture again. I really liked it in Krim, but here in Larvik the responsibility and influence are much more placed by the individual players, while the coach set the agenda much more in Krim. Furthermore, I really like being one of the “younger” players in a team again. For many years I have been used to being one of the most experienced players in the teams where I have played which meant that I was the one who had to teach the young players a lot of things. In Larvik I can learn from even more experienced players in stead, and I really enjoy that.


TEXT: Peter Bruun / br