Loyal pair always ready to fight for their clubsArticle
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FACE TO FACE: Despite the age difference the two local heroines, Rikke Skov and Aniko Kovacsics have a lot in common besides their love for Viborg and Györ respectively.

Loyal pair always ready to fight for their clubs

Rikke Skov and Aniko Kovacsics both joined their respective teams at the age of 14 and have never played for any other team throughout their careers. The Viborg defensive specialist remembers her young counterpart from the Women’s EHF Champions League Final back in 2009 when the teenager Kovacsics was the top scorer for her team and the Györ playmaker/wing has full size respect for the Danish legend.

Hometown heroines

To Rikke Skov it has always come naturally to play in Viborg HK, where she has played since she was 14. “Viborg has been a top club throughout all those years, and thus always been able to fulfil my ambitions.”

“At the same time, I have been able to stay in my original environment. I have my family in this area, I have studied in this town, and now I also have my children living here. Therefore, I have never seen any alternative to playing in Viborg,” says the 34-year-old back court player and defence specialist

Although Aniko Kovacsics was born 250 km south of Györ she feels at home there now. Aniko also was 14 when she joined the team that she has supported all her life. “It is strange that I call Györ home but when I visit my parents I also say I go home. This is a perfect town for living and the handball capital thus I feel at home here.”

“I was a little girl when I moved here but thanks to Kalman Roth (youth coach at Györ) I got a chance to play for the A team after I had spent a year with the juniors. I have been here for eight years now and still feel honoured to be part of this wonderful team," said Kovacsics, who has been used as a wing besides her original playmaker role.

Mutual respect

In the Viborg team that lost 30:25 to Györi Audi ETO KC on Sunday and who will be meeting the Hungarian top team again on the coming Sunday, Rikke Skov is the only player who was also part of the team who won the final against Györ back in 2009. Skov will not see too many faces from that final on Saturday as apart from Kovacsics there is only one player (Orsolya Herr) who took the court in Veszprem.

“Even though I do not know her personally, I see a lot of myself in her, in the way that she is also a player who is always ready to fight for her club, just like I am. I definitely think Györ should hold on to her, as any team needs that kind of players,” says Rikke Skov about Kovacsics.

Kovacsics has full size respect for the veteran counterpart. “Rikke Skov is an extremely talented and very experienced player, who is considered to be a defensive specialist but she can cause problems in attack, too. She is an intelligent defender, the brains of the Viborg wall and I am sure we will have the privilege to watch her play for a lot of years to come."

Showcases full of silverware

Skov has been part of the Viborg team in all three Champions League triumphs in the history of the club in 2006, 2009 and 2010. The 23-year-old Kovacsics already won two of the most prestigious trophy of women’s handball as she is currently a double holder.

Skov remembers Györ playmaker Aniko Kovacsics very well from the finals five years ago, where an only 17-year-old Kovacsics became most scoring player in the second match in the Veszprem Arena with five goals. That did not help Györ from a 26:23 defeat and a 50:49 defeat on aggregate.

“We did not know her in advance, but we definitely got to know her in those finals. On that occasion she got the chance because Anita Görbicz had injured her cruciate ligament," explained Skov.

Kovacsics remembers how heartbroken she felt after losing that final. “It was a huge game away but we could not hold on to the trophy and lost in Veszprém. I was happy that I could participate but at 17 I really felt pressure. In the end we had to congratulate our opponents but it was an outstanding final.”

Present form

As for now Györ seem to be stronger as shown by last week’s clash of the two teams. For the last four years Viborg have not been near the top of the Champions League. “Of course, it has been tough not to be in the top in Europe lately, but I still think that we are the flagship in Danish handball, and we managed to take back the Danish championship last season,” Skov claimed.

“For a big part, the reason why we have not been in the top of the Champions League in recent years, has been financial problems. However, we are on the right track, although a lot of work still lies ahead of the club.”

Györ face unexpected difficulties this year. “It is strange that such happy things can cause such difficult situations. Two of our world class players, Katrine Lunde and Anita Görbicz are expecting babies and it is only normal that a team, however strong it is, feels the absence of such talents. But we are shaping up to be as good as we were last year and I feel we can achieve great results," said Kovacsics

Skov expects Kovacsics to reclaim her playmaker role. “Now, she may get the chance again due to Görbicz's pregnancy, so the story repeats itself so to speak,” Rikke Skov tells ehfCL.com.

“We won away but this does not guarantee anything. We are very well aware of the fact that a completely new game will start against a great team and we cannot afford to take it lightly," says Kovacsics.

Watch the Round 4 match betwen Györi Audi ETO KC and Viborg HK live on ehftv.com on Saturday 8 November at 16:00 hrs local time.

TEXT: Bence Martha, Peter Bruun / br