Burgaard happy with her new Metz familyArticle
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INTERVIEW: Helping Metz return to the DELO WOMEN´S EHF FINAL4 is the major objective for Louise Burgaard in her first season with the club
»2019-20 Women's News

Burgaard happy with her new Metz family

“Of course, going to Budapest and playing the (DELO WOMEN'S EHF) FINAL4 is my big dream, just as it is for the entire team and the club.”

Louise Burgaard is in no doubt about her major objective this season.

Unlike most of her teammates in Metz Handball, the 27-year-old Denmark international has never felt the event’s atmosphere as a player.

She joined Metz this summer from Herning-Ikast Handbold, a club she was with since 2015. After representing several Danish league clubs, Metz is her first move abroad.

The chance to reach Budapest is just one of several reasons why she is happy with the move.

“Joining Metz has simply been super cool and I am happy with the decision I made to come down here.

“The players here are really nice and also very professional, and this also applies to the coaching staff. We are all like one big family here.

“I admit that learning French has been a challenge, but I have been taking lessons, and I am getting better and better, although I can sometimes be tired after a day with lessons in French.

“However, the people here have also had their problems pronouncing my name and I have slowly given up trying to teach them,“ laughs the experienced right back.

Crucial role in the team

Having settled in quickly with her new club, it was no surprise to see Burgaard nominated for the Danish national team for the upcoming World Championship in Japan, where she will be the only left-handed back court player – unlike in Metz, where she has company in the position.

“We also have Helene Sajka who recently made it into the French national team and is a very good shooter.

“She and I share the court time in the French league and it is really nice for me not to carry all the responsibility in the position, considering how many matches we play,” she says.

After the first half of the DELO WOMEN’S EHF Champions Legaue group matches, she and her teammates in Metz lead group A with five points from three matches.

With eight goals from Burgaard, the French champions opened their Champions League campaign with a 40:26 win at home against HC Podravka Vegeta before winning 28:24 away to FTC-Rail Cargo Hungaria, despite losing French international goalkeeper Laura Glauser to injury during the match.

In Kristiansand, Metz dropped their only point so far, drawing 38:38 against Vipers despite leading by eight goals early in the second half.

“We had quite a lot of respect for Podravka, so we were impressed that we were able to run over them the way we did.

“I am sure it will not be that easy when we go to Croatia to meet them again.

“We also had a very solid and focused performance against FTC on one of the most difficult away courts in Europe, while we could not be happy with the way we ended our match against Vipers.

“Scoring 38 goals was acceptable, of course, but conceding 38 was definitely not.

“It has to be said that their back court really stepped up during the second half, but we also missed too many opportunities, which allowed them to catch up after a phase where we were leading by one or two goals.

“We did not enjoy a nice flight home from that game,” says the 27-year-old, who can look forward to meeting Vipers again this Sunday, when the Norwegian champions visit Les Arenes.

Hoping to avoid mistakes this time

“I really do hope we can avoid making the same mistakes we made in the first match, but overcoming Vipers will not be as easy as some may believe, especially as they have a physically strong team.”

Nevertheless, winning matches such as this is important on the long road to the DELO WOMEN’S EHF FINAL4, which Metz believe they are capable of reaching again.

Metz finished fourth and last on their first visit to the event in Budapest last season and a repeat of that achievement will not be good enough for the ambitious Dane.

“We all dream of going to Budapest, and this time a fourth-place finish will not be acceptable,” concludes Burgaard.

TEXT: Peter Bruun / cor