Successful coach under pressureArticle
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FEATURE - Aron Kristjansson has been a success since he took over as head coach in KIF Kolding København, but now he and his men are under pressure ahead of the Match Of The Week against Metalurg Sunday.

Successful coach under pressure

41-year-old Aron Kristjansson did not have much time to get to know his new team when he took over as head coach in KIF Kolding Kobenhavn on 11 February this year.

Only two days later, Kristjansson who takes care of his job as Icelandic national coach besides his duty in Denmark, had his first task with his new side.

In Poland, KIF faced Orlen Wisla Plock in a crucial group match in the VELUX EHF Champions League. The match was won 26:25 and Kristjánsson could book his first success in his new job.

It was not going to be the last. KIF qualified for the knock-our rounds as second in Group B and won the Danish Cup as well as the Danish league a few weeks later, so, Aron Kristjansson has had success with KIF ever since he started in the job.

Until last Sunday. At that point, KIF Kolding Kobenhavn ran into their first defeat with Kristjansson in charge – after 11 successive wins.

The first leg of the Last 16 tie against HC Metalurg was lost 23:17, and that defeat in the Boris Trajkovski of Skopje puts Aron Kristjansson and his men under obvious pressure ahead of the second leg against the Macedonian side in the TreFor Arena of Kolding Sunday afternoon.

Substantial attacking problems

The confidence in the Danish team ahead of the Sunday match may not exactly have been boosted by their performance Wednesday evening.
In the play-off for the Danish championship Kolding Kobenhavn were defeated 23:16 away against Champions League colleagues Aalborg Handball.

One does not have to be a master at calculation to figure out that Kolding Kobenhavn have only scored a total of 33 goals within their two latest matches – usually a quite normal amount of goals for a team in just one match.

Still, Aron Kristjansson thinks it is realistic to believe that his team can make it to the quarter-finals of the VELUX EHF Champions League.

“Yes, I think it is. In Skopje, we had substantial attacking problems and problems scoring goals, partly due to a brilliant effort by (Darko) Stanic in their goal, while I was content with our defence for the last 45-50 minutes of the game.

“Regarding the match in Aalborg, we did not have much time to prepare for that game, as we had a long journey home from Skopje. This also meant that it was a bunch of tired players we sent on in Aalborg,” Aron Kristjansson told

“Speaking of tired players, though, this has been the case for a long time now. Due to the many injuries in our squad, rather few players have had to carry rather heavy burdens, but I knew that before I took over, so that came as no surprise to me.

“However, now we have some time to prepare for the match against Metalurg Sunday, where we will probably have to win by at least seven goals in order to proceed, but I really think that this is possible, as there is usually a big difference between the way those teams from the Balkan perform at home and away.

“Furthermore, they will not get away with many of the things they did in the first match. Sunday it will be a more normal handball game, so to speak,” Kristjansson added.

Counter-attacks essential

He realises, of course, that his team's attacking play will have to improve a lot compared to their two latest matches, if they hope of reaching the quarter-final of the Champions League for the first time in 11 years is to be kept alive.

“In particular, we will need to get more out of our counter-attacks, than we did in Skopje. Of course, the task is difficult, but not impossible,” says Aron Kristjansson who sees nothing alarming in his team's poor performances in their two latest matches.

“Ups and downs are more or less inevitable over a long season. Lately we have been in trough, but we will simply have to get up from that in a hurry. More precisely by Sunday.”

TEXT: Peter Bruun / br