Entertaining GOG a perfect fit for European League
Here is a team you will want to tune in to EHFTV and see every time they step on the court in the European League group phase.
GOG are back in the second tier after their brief but exciting stint in the EHF Champions League and are certain to shake things up with their rising stars mixed with a couple of world champions.
- finished third in group D of the EHF Champions League last season
- picked up two 2019 world champions, Morten Olsen and Anders Zachariassen, this summer
- renowned for producing a consistent flow of bright young talent
- defeated Pfadi Winterthur 64:59 in qualification to reach group phase
The burning question – do GOG have what it takes to win consistently in Europe?
GOG flew out of the blocks on their return to the EHF Champions League last season, winning four of their first five matches and scoring goals for fun.
The fun soon ended, however, as they suffered a collapse in the second half of the group phase and just missed out on the knockout rounds.
The squad will have learned their harsh lesson from last season as they embark on this new adventure at a level which is reminiscent of their group last season but with a wider picture which allows them the opportunity to make a bigger impact.
Although the majority of the squad is incredibly young, there are enough experienced heads in the dressing room, most notably the summer signing of world champions Anders Zachariassen from Flensburg and Morten Olsen from Hannover.
Their proven excellence and know-how combined with GOG’s exciting talent should make them a handful for any opponent and capable of putting together a run of victories.
The showstopper – Morten Olsen
He may have just turned 36 but there is plenty of fight left in this dog. Morten Olsen is enjoying an Indian summer in his career, proven by his brilliant play at the closing stages at last year’s World Championship and dishing out the goals and assists like nobody’s business in the Bundesliga last season.
This summer, he moved back to where his senior career began in 2003 and the young and exciting squad will benefit to no end with Olsen’s power, vision and experience.
Highlight machine - Emil Jakobsen
Having shown his potential as a prolific highlight machine in last season’s EHF Cup, Emil Jakobsen proved it at the highest level this season.
Despite narrowly missing out on the knockout phase, GOG made a name for themselves thanks to their run-and-gun style of play, top scoring in groups C and D, thanks in no small part to Jakobsen’s 59 goals from the left wing.
New blood – Anders Zachariassen
It is a bit of a misnomer to call Anders Zachariassen the new blood in a squad full of incredibly young players but the impact his arrival over the summer will have cannot be denied.
The hard-working line player is a ball magnet in attack and punches well-above his weight at both ends of the court. Having just turned 29, his best years could be ahead of him and his six years with Flensburg will be put to good use here.
A night to remember
GOG enjoyed their golden era in the 90s, winning four Danish league titles in seven years, but the cup competitions is where they were at their very best, winning six finals in eight years.
In the 1994/95 season, they were on course to complete a remarkable treble, claiming both domestic titles and going on an unprecedented run in the EHF Cup Winners’ Cup.
Victories over clubs from Israel, Austria, Iceland and Switzerland would set GOG a date in the final with Barcelona – reigning champions and the team who would go on to win five straight EHF Champions League titles.
Having pushed their more heralded rivals in the first half of the first leg at home, GOG trailed 31:24 going into the return leg and not much was expected from them.
But in front of a 8,500-strong intimidating crowd at the Palau Blaugrana, the GOG side featuring a 23-year-old Nikolaj Jacobsen and Bent Nygaard as coach came out of the blocks inspired.
They took the lead early and held onto it until the second half, leading by as much as 14:10 and ensuring their hosts would have to fight for the trophy.
It did not take long for the Catalan club to step up a few gears, however and they ended up winning 26:22. That would be the closest GOG came to winning a title in Europe but their performance that night was something to be proud of nevertheless.
Arrivals and departures
Newcomers: Kasper Kildelund (TTH Holstebro), Anders Zachariassen (SG Flensburg-Handewitt), Morten Olsen (TSV Hannover-Burgdorf)
Left the club: Odinn Thor Rikhardsson (TTH Holstebro), Arnar Freyr Arnarsson (MT Melsungen), Josef Pujol (Elverum Handball), Lasse Kronborg (retired), Henrik Tilsted (IK Sävehof), Lasse Møller (SG Flensburg-Handewitt)
EHF Champions League
Main Round (2): 2007/08, 2008/09
Last 16 (2): 2004/05, 2006/07
Group Matches (5): 1995/96, 1996/97, 1998/99, 2000/01, 2019/20
Quarter-final: 1999/00,2001/02, 2005/06
Group Phase: 2018/19
Cup Winners’ Cup:
Danish league: 7 titles (1992, 1995, 1996, 1998, 2000, 2004, 2007)
Danish cup: 10 titles