Young Swedes ready for top class oppositionArticle
«Go back

COUNTDOWN: VELUX EHF Champions league countdown, part 18: HK DROTT Halmstad

»EHF CL Channel »2013-14 Men's News

Young Swedes ready for top class opposition

The 11 year wait finally came to an end for DROTT Halmstad as they raised the Swedish league trophy for the first time since 2002 at the end of a season which they started as underdogs.

After a thrilling semi-clash against Lugi, Halmstad made to the final against Kristianstad and even a five goal deficit at the break did not stop them on the way to the VELUX EHF Champions League, where they will play in the Group Phase for the first time since 1999.

Halmstad, led by former KIF Kolding coach Ulf Sivertsson, finally clarified their favourites role in the qualification play-offs. After a sensational four-goal-defeat at Esch (Luxembourg), they thoroughly outclassed the Challenge Cup finalists with a 37:14 win on home court.

Now the Swedish champions will face defending champions Hamburg, Aalborg, Flensburg, Velenje and La Rioja in group D.

Being part of the competition is a great challenge for both the players and the club and they hope to perform to their capabilities in Europe and get as many points as possible, while reaching the play-offs and defending their title is the goal on the domestic front.

Halmstad, similar to RK Croatia Osiguranje Zagreb, only consist of domestic players, among them are Philip Stenmalm and Marcus Holmén, two newly crowned junior world champions.

Three questions to coach Ulf Sivertsson:

What are your expectations for the upcoming season of the VELUX EHF Champions League - concerning your objectives and your group opponents?

Ulf Sivertsson: We have a very young and internationally inexperienced team, but we look forward to some really nice experiences against some of the world’s leading teams. We hope to be able to surprise in a few matches and take some points, then we will have to see how far it will take us. The favourites in our group are Hamburg and Flensburg.

What does the participation in the VELUX EHF Champions League mean to you and your club?

Ulf Sivertsson: To participate means a lot to our club and also to Swedish handball. The players gain international experience and it makes our team more united.

What teams are your personal favourites to reach the VELUX EHF FINAL4 and for winning the title this season – and why?

Ulf Sivertsson: Barcelona, Kiel, Hamburg, Kolding-Kobenhavn and Paris, as they have the best teams.

HK DROTT Halmstad (SWE)

Qualification for the 2013/2014 VELUX EHF Champions League season: Swedish champion, winner of the qualification matches against HB Esch (LUX)

Coach: Ulf Sivertsson (since 2009)

Newcomers: Henrik Olsson (IFK Tumba) Anton Andersson (new youth player), Jesper Sivertsson, Markus Sjöbrink, Martin Lindell, Said Ajkunic

Left the club: Daniel Lindgren (IFK Kristianstad), Diego Perez Marne (end of career), Michael Matsson (end of career)

VELUX EHF Champions League records:
Participations (including 2013/2014 season): 4
Last 16 (2): 1994/1995, 1999/2000
Qualification (1): 2002/2003

Other EC records:

EHF Cup: 

Quarter-finalist 1996/1997

Cup Winners’ Cup:
Quarter-finalist 2003/2004, 2010/2011

City Cup:
Finalist 1993/1994

Swedish champion: 1975, 1978, 1979, 1984, 1988, 1990, 1991, 1994, 1999, 2002, 2013
Swedish Cup winner: four times

TEXT: Björn Pazen / cor