“I believe we can upset Györ”Article
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INTERVIEW: Odense HC’s young centre back Mie Højlund hopes and believes that her team have the means to stun Györ in the Women’s EHF Champions League Quarter-finals
»2018-19 Women's News
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“I believe we can upset Györ”

There is a general consensus that the Women’s EHF Champions League Quarter-final tie between Odense HC and Györi Audi ETO KC over the next two weekends will be like David versus Goliath. But David beat Goliath, did he not?

21-year-old Odense centre back Mie Højlund believes in her team’s chances against the two-time back-to-back champions.

“We have watched some video of them and, as we knew, they are a great team with some fantastic player and with two world stars in virtually every position, but I do believe we can find ways to surprise them,” she says. 

Odense are debutants in the Champions League this season, and most members of the team have never played in the top-flight competition before. Højlund, who joined Odense from league competitors Randers HK in 2017, is one of those debutants. 

She has international experience from the Danish national team, which she was part of at the Women’s EHF EURO 2018 in France last September – but the Champions League has been a completely new experience.

“Playing the Champions League for the first time this season has been a huge experience for me, and I feel I have developed a lot by playing these games,” explains the young playmaker. “It is a big challenge and a great experience to play against some of the best players in the world in every match, and you can really learn a lot from such games.”

A superb maiden season

Højlund finds reaching the quarter-final in Odense’s maiden Champions League season to be a significant achievement. 

“We have definitely met some challenges along the way, but I think we have done fine, especially considering the fact that we have met some really strong teams on our road to the quarter-final,” says Højlund, who sees no reason to conceal the fact that reaching the DELO WOMEN’S EHF FINAL4 would be a dream come true.

“Playing a FINAL4 would just be fantastic, and if we do not succeed this year, I hope we will soon. That would just be another new and awesome experience to me.”

She and her Odense teammates had the best dress rehearsal they could hope for ahead of the first leg of the quarter-final tie against Györ on Sunday in Odense Idraetshal.

On Tuesday evening, they won as clearly as 40:32 in the Danish championship play-offs away against Kobenhavn Handball, whom they also defeated in the deciding main round match for the quarter-final ticket in the Champions League.

“Of course, that win boosted our self-confidence as a team, not least because we succeeded with many of the things we wanted to try,” says Højlund. “The win also meant that we are now sure to reach the semi-final of the play-off, and although we still aim to also win our group in the play-off, this gives us a state of security, which makes it easier for us to focus entirely on the Champions League quarter-finals.

“Of course, it will still be difficult, and Györ are obviously favourites – but we go all in, and I believe we can find a way to stun them.”

TEXT: Peter Bruun / cg