Individual quality in abundance for dark horse GOGArticle
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COUNTDOWN #9: GOG (DEN). After a near-miss last season, the talent-laden Danish club have the ingredients needed to go all the way in the European League

Last season, Aalborg Håndbold made it all the way to the final of the EHF Champions League after beating PSG in the semi-final. In this year’s European League, GOG has the chance to emulate that achievement.

GOG does not lack individual quality in their team. Players such as Torbjørn Bergerud, Morten Olsen and Jerry Tollbring all have a huge upside. But the biggest star is off course Mathias Gidsel – one of the best players in the world over the past year.

Main facts

  • qualified for the EHF European League by beating Danish side Mors-Thy in the qualification phase
  • the biggest signing this season is Torbjørn Bergerud, SG Flensburg-Handewitt’s former first choice as goalkeeper
  • other big summer signings include Jerry Tollbring from Rhein-Neckar Löwen

Most important question: Can GOG be the Danish saviour?

Danish club handball is strong. Really strong. Aalborg proved it last season and has already shown this year in the EHF Champions League that last season was not a fluke.

But then what? GOG are the only Danish club that has qualified for the EHF European League with TTH Holstebro and Bjerringbro-Silkeborg both missing out. So if Danish handball wants to maintain its high reputation GOG has to perform in the EHF European League.

”We see the European League as a very good tournament for us, with many good teams and therefore also a lot of good matches which we look forward to. The importance of staying at the top of European handball is important for us as a club for both our sponsors and our players,” coach Nicolej Krickau says.

Under the spotlight: Mathias Gidsel

He came from nowhere or at least it seemed that way. The Danish national team had searched and searched for a natural right back to complement Mikkel Hansen and Rasmus Lauge but never really found a long-term choice.

It is not an overstatement to say that they have now found a player that has the potential to be the best player in the world and not just the best right back which arguments can be made that he already is.

This season there is a lot more pressure on the 22-year-old. But it seems like that doesn’t bother him at all as he now wants to make his mark with GOG in Europe before leaving next season for Füchse Berlin.

How they rate themselves

There are no doubts about the high ambitions of GOG. They are not just happy competing in the EHF European League or making it past the group phase, GOG aim higher than that.

”We are looking forward to once again play and hope that we can achieve many good results. For GOG, a very good result overall would be to reach the EHF Finals,” Krickau says.

Did you know?

GOG has won the domestic championship in Denmark seven times but the last time was way back in 2007. Only three Danish clubs has won more domestic league titles and they are KIF Kolding, Handelsstandens Gymnastikforening and IF Ajax.

What the numbers say

Six players in the current squad currently have or had important roles in their respective national side. Viktor Hallgrimsson (Iceland) Mathias Gidsel (Denmark), Anders Zachariassen (Denmark), Torbjørn Bergerud (Norway), Morten Olsen (Denmark) and Jerry Tollbring (Sweden) all have lots of international experience that can help GOG making it all the way to the EHF Finals.

Arrivals and departures

Arrivals: Torbjørn Bergerud (SG Flensburg-Handewitt), Jerry Tollbring (Rhein-Neckar Löwen), Lukas Jørgensen (Århus), Mathias Larsson (Århus)

Departures: Emil Jakobsen (SG Flensburg-Handewitt), Stig Tore Moen (Elverum), Søren Haagen (Høj)

Past achievements

EHF Champions League:
Main Round (2): 2007/08, 2008/09
Last 16 (2): 2004/05, 2006/07
Group Matches (4): 1995/96, 1996/97, 1998/99, 2000/01, 2019/20

European League:
Quarter-finals (1): 2020/21

EHF Cup:
Quarter-finals (3): 1999/00, 2001/02, 2005/06
Group Phase (1): 2018/19

Cup Winners’ Cup:
Runners-up (1): 1995/96
Quarter-finals (2): 1993/94,1997/98

Danish league: 7 titles (1992, 1995, 1996, 1998, 2000, 2004, 2007)
Danish cup: 10 titles (1990, 1991, 1992, 1995, 1996, 1997, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2019)

TEXT: Ola Selby