13 World Championships finalists meet again in SilkeborgArticle
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The first leg match of the VELUX EHF Champions League Last 16 against FC Barcelona Intersport will become a great handball celebration in two small Danish towns.

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13 World Championships finalists meet again in Silkeborg

Not fewer than 13 players from the last World Championships final should enter the court of the Silkeborg Arena, when FC Barcelona Intersport visit the Danish opponents in the first leg of the VELUX EHF Champions League Last 16 on Sunday. Seven Spanish gold medal winners and one Danish silver medalist from Barcelona and his five silver country-fellows from Bjerringbro-Silkeborg.

There are no doubts about who are the favorites. “Everyone knows that Barcelona are. It would be a major upset if they don’t qualify to the quarter-finals. They have an amazing team, but we will chase the small chance we have and try to make the surprise it would be to win the home game,” says Bjerringbro-Silkeborg coach Carsten Albrektsen.

His team lost the league match last Tuesday against Skjern, and are placed second in the league before the last match of the regular season. Tactically the head coach is on a very hard mission, when he is trying to find weaknesses in the Barcelona team.

“They have a very aggressive defense and they are playing it different than the teams we normally meet in the Danish league. But if I have to name one player it must be Arpad Sterbik. When he is playing good it is very frustrating to play against him because it looks like you can’t shoot hard even though you do. He makes it look very simple,” coach added.

“We have to try to do what we do best and that is our speed in the fast breaks. That sometimes can surprise the big teams. And then we have to hope that they underestimate us. One thing is certain and that is, that we have to be very disciplined in every aspect of the game,” he said.

The biggest match of the club´s history

For the Danish team it is definitely the biggest match of the season – possibly the biggest in the clubs history.

“We are very excited about this match and that has to show on the field this Sunday. We have to enjoy the experience it is to play one of the greatest teams in the sport. It means a lot for the players, the fans, the club and the city. We need to make it a good experience for everyone,” stated the coach.
The first ever match in last 16 in the club´s history against the Catalan giants is set to be a great event in both cities Bjerringbro and Silkeborg, which are just small towns with around 30.000 inhabitants in total.

“All of the 2600 tickets were sold in no time but we have decided to make some effort to tell people in Silkeborg that world class handball stars are visiting us. So we have put up giant banners at the outside JYSK arena, banners above the pedestrian street and team jerseys in the windows of the shops promoting the event,"  Frank Lajer, the manager of Bjerringbro-Silkeborg explained.

"Furthermore we have made a promo video containing interviews with four Danish national team players who live in Silkeborg. European handball fans can learn a little more about this new club among the top 16 of the continent and also about rising European stars like Rasmus Lauge who will transfer to THW Kiel this summer.”
The interviews can be watched here

The match is played on Sunday 17 March at 17.00 in JYSK Arena, and can be followed on www.ehftv.com

TEXT: Christian Lynnerup, Frank Lajer / br