Just one place between four hopefuls in NorwayArticle
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Two Norwegian, one German and one Belarusian team compete in the first qualification tournament of the season

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Just one place between four hopefuls in Norway

Group C sides RK Krim Mercator, Metz Handball and IK Sävehof await the winner of Qualification Group 1 in the Women’s EHF Champions League. Trondheim in Norway is the venue for the first of four qualification groups and the only one to be played  on the weekend of 7 and 8 September.

Two Norwegian teams, Byåsen Trondheim and Tertnes Bergen, as well as HC Leipzig from Germany and Belarusian champions BNTUBelAZ Minsk are the four contenders for place in the group matches.

On Saturday at 15.00 hrs. local time, the two Norwegian teams Byasen and Tertnes will open the tournament in the Trondheim Spektrum, and at 17.30 hrs. it is Leipzig´s and Minsk´s turn to take to the court.

On Sunday at 15.30 hrs. the losers of the Saturday matches meet, before the two winners decide who progresses from qualification at 18.00 hrs.

No one backing down

Byåsen have the home advantage in the group, but new head coach Claus Mogensen is cautious.

“I see Leipzig as favourites in our group, as they have been reinforced by the arrival of Susann Müller and Karolina Szwed. We as well as Tertnes have lost experienced players and I expect a tight match between us. However, I think we have a good chance to beat Tertnes, and if we reach the final, I also we have a chance to put some pressure on Leipzig, Claus Mogensen told ehfCL.com.

However, their star player, Norwegian international Camilla Herrem, is more confident going into the tournament.

“We simply should be able to defeat Tertnes, whom we know very well. In the final I expect us to meet Leipzig, a team we have lost to the last two times we have met them. We have a better chance this time, as Leipzig are weakened by their absence of goalkeeper Katja Schülke,” explained Herrem.

Her national teammate from Tertnes, Linn Gossé is also optimistic, though. “We have relatively few players in our team, but if we stand together and we all play at our best, I definitely think that we have a chance against Byasen and also against Leipzig, whom I expect us to meet in the final, Gossé said.

Meanwhile. Belarusian champions BNTU-BelAZ Minsk, head coach Konstantin Scharovarov is ready to accept his team´s role as underdogs.

“We are ready for the competition. We realise that we are the outsiders in the group, but we definitely want to benefit from the international experience we can get from meeting so strong opponents, and we do not go to Norway just to lose," admitted Scharovarov.

TEXT: Peter Bruun / cor