Gaining experience in the maiden voyageArticle
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Women’s EHF Champions League Countdown - 11 days to go: Glassverket IF (NOR).

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Gaining experience in the maiden voyage

One year ago, they faced the most difficult hurdle possible in the qualification round of the Women’s EHF group matches, but in 2016, they took the final step in a dominant way.

Drammen-based Norwegian runners-up, Glassverket IF, made their dreams come true at beginning of September, when they first beat Ankara in the qualification semi-final on home ground and then left former Champions League winners, Podravka Vegeta, behind with a score of 28:19.

Now, the team of head coach Geir Oustorp will have their first voyage in the group matches ahead, following their expected elimination in the 2015 qualification final. Glassverket were defeated by later-on Champions League finalists and two-time competition winners, Györ.

“We want to gain international experience and try to get one or two wins on home turf,” says the manager Erik Øie hopefully.

Glassverket will be competing against Metz, Thüringer HC and the mighty Buducnost Podgorica.

The squad is nearly all-Norwegian, with the only international new arrival being Icelandic player, Birna Berg Haraldsdottir, who transfered from Swedish champions, Sävehof.

In contrast a few players, such as Martina Thørn (FC Midtjylland) and Hege Bakken Wahlqvist (Tvis Holstebro) left to Danish sides.

On Norwegian ground, Glassverket are aiming to win medals in the league and cup, knowing that champions Larvik are ‘supposed’ to be the stronger side in the Champions League.

“We want to prove that we deserve to participate in this elite competition” says Øie, adding, “We have the chance to be on equal level with Metz and THC, but Buducnost will be a much tougher nut to crack.

In general, the participation in the Champions League helps us to develop the club and become more attractive for sponsors, spectators and even for potential new players.”

Team captain, Emilie Christensen, hopes to “win some points and demonstrate attractive handball to entertain the spectators at the Drammenshallen.”

She hopes to get at least one win against Metz, and is aware of the experienced THC side, hoping for the chance to steal some points away from the Germans.

“A win against Buducnost might happen in one of one hundred matches, so I think we will just have to play and do our best, enjoy the feeling and maybe…  Anyhow, it will be a new experience to play in front of these enthusiastic spectators at Podgorica.”  

Glassverket IF (NOR)

Qualification for the Women’s EHF Champions League 2016/17 season: Norwegian runners-up, winner of qualification tournament 1

Newcomers: June Andenæs (Molde), Marianne Iversen (Flint), Birna Berg Haraldsdottir (Sävehof), Martine Wolff (Nordstrand), Mette Leipart (Nordstrand), Amalie Jøsendal (Njård)

Left the club: Jeanette Kristiansen (Vipers), Kari Brattset (Vipers), Kristin Nørstebø (Vipers), Martina Thørn (FC Midtjylland), Monica Iversen (end of career)  Hege Bakken Wahlqvist (Tvis Holstebro), Eline Jarlsrud Rikartsen (Stabæk)

Coach: Geir Oustorp (former: Kenneth Gabrielsen)

Team captain: Emilie Christensen

Opponents in the group matches: Buducnost, THC and Metz in Group A

Women’s EHF Champions League records:

Participations (including 2016/17 season): 2
Qualification: 2015/16

Other EC records:

Cup Winners’ Cup
Last 16 2015/16

Norwegian champions:  -
Norwegian Cup winner:  -

TEXT: Björn Pazen/tm