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Flensburg friendships will stop for 60 minutes

FEATURE: When Denmark play Sweden in Main Round Group 2 on Tuesday, Denmark's Lasse Svan will face three Swedes,who like him ply their trade at SG Flensburg-Handewitt. But the right wing vows that continuing Denmark's run will be more important than any friendship

Photo: Sascha Klahn

SiGi the seagull will cheer for both teams, Ljubomir Vranjes will probably cross fingers more often for Sweden than for Denmark.

But both, the mascot and the coach of 2014 VELUX EHF Champions League winners SG Flensburg-Handewitt, are excited about the Scandinavian duel in Main Round Group 2 in Wroclaw on Tuesday.

Eight Flensburg players will be on court when Denmark face Sweden. One of the five Danes at Flensburg is right wing Lasse Svan.

The 32-year-old 2012 EHF EURO champion is looking forward to the match against his Flensburg teammates Mattias Andersson, Tobias Karlsson and Johan Jakobsson.

"We were in touch before the match, but we did not talk that much about it. Sweden have the aim to book their ticket for the Olympic Qualification Tournaments, we want to proceed to the semi-finals – so our goals are clear, and friendship will come to an end for 60 minutes."

Svan hopes that the Danish series, which started back in 2008 and continued in 2012, continues: Every time Olympics were coming up in the past eight years, Denmark became EHF EURO champions.

"It would be great, if we managed it again, but it would be a huge mistake, if we looked ahead that far,” he says.

Even though his team is currently the only EHF EURO participant that won all matches, Svan is aware that no match at this stage can be taken lightly.

"Sweden and Germany are strong, but we hope that we can take the momentum from the second half against Spain into those two encounters."

Against Spain Denmark turned a three-goal deficit at the break (11:14) into a convincing 27:23 win.

So what happened in the dressing room after the first half? "No one was loud and we did not shout at each other either. Instead, we analysed the situation calmly and we knew what we needed to improve: simply convert our chances in attack. And that’s how we made it."

For the match on Tuesday, the Danish tactics will look the same as it did in all matches at this EHF EURO: "Our defence stands strong, our goalkeeper Niklas Landin shall excel once more, and then we need to score from counter attacks," explains Svan. "The only thing we need to reduce is the number of shots we miss."

Less than 20 hours after the match against Sweden, Denmark face Germany in their final main round game.

"We will have a very short preparation, only a video session on Wednesday morning. We have not thought about Germany yet. Our full focus is only on Sweden."

Svan is confident that Denmark will make it to the semi-final: “We have everything in our own hands, so we can make it.

"But in a tournament like the EHF EURO little things decide. And if you are not focussed 100 per cent, the adventure can be over much earlier than you hope it to be."

"Against Sweden we start at zero, this is for sure, regardless of our previous results."

And what can SiGi the seagull and Ljubomir Vranjes expect? Svan: "I guess that Ljubo as a Swede will slightly cheer for Sweden, so we have to wait and see."

written by Björn Pazen / ts