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Elverum want to keep growing

EHF / Kevin Domas

Elverum Handball are ready to start their ninth straight season in the EHF Champions League Men. After making it out of the group phase in both 2020/21 and 2021/22, the Norwegian side have their eyes set on yet another appearance in the knockout phase for the upcoming season.

In order to keep their dreams of a play-off spot – or even more – alive, Elverum will have to advance from a very strong group B.

Main facts

  • this is Elverum’s ninth consecutive season in the EHF Champions League
  • they won the Norwegian league for the sixth time last season, defeating ØIF Arendal in the final
  • several key players have left the team, including Dominik Mathe (PSG) and Eric Johansson (Kiel) who both joined title contenders
  • the side will focus on some of the best Scandinavian talents, who joined this summer
  • Elverum will face the likes of titleholders Barça, 2020 champions THW Kiel, and 2022 finalists Lomza Industria Kielce

Most important question: How will Elverum handle the departure of several key players?

The list of players who said goodbye to Elverum this summer includes Eric Johansson (THW Kiel), Dominik Mathe (Paris Saint-Germain), Simen Holland Pettersen (Skjern), and Thorsten Fries (Fredericia HK).

But this is a situation the club has become used to. Elverum remain focussed and want to move forward.

“We brought in some very interesting players. We are looking forward to seeing what they can bring to the team,” says club manager Mads Fredriksen.

“Elverum want to be a club where the best talents in the world can develop and take the next step to bigger clubs. Therefore, it is important that the club is playing in the EHF Champions League. It is a fantastic window for our players and for the club.”

Serbian left back Uros Borzas already showed what he was up to in the EHF European League with French side Toulouse, while Daniel Blomgren and Kassem Awad join from Swedish clubs to make the step onto the next level.

Under the spotlight: Emil Kheiri Imsgard

At 24, the Norwegian goalkeeper showed last season he was ready to unleash his potential. After a few years in the shadow of, and learning from, Thorsten Fries, Imsgard stepped in at the start of last season after the Danish goalkeeper got injured.

Imsgard shone in the spotlights right away, delivering some astonishing performances, like the games in Szeged (18 saves) or Brest (23 saves).

With Fries now left, Imsgard is the No. 1 between Elverum’s posts. Ready to deliver again.

How they rate themselves

Barça, Kiel, Kielce, Szeged, Nantes, Aalborg… One od those teams will Elverum have to leave behind them in the final group standings in order to make it to the knockout phase.

“Many people will say that Celje and Elverum will fight for seventh place in the group,” Fredriksen says.

But don’t estimate the home strength of Elverum, where PSG were held to draw in last season’s play-offs and Kiel were on the brink of a defeat as well.

“We are underdogs, but we will fight in every game to get as many points as possible,” team captaim Endre Langaas says.

“We had a good season in the EHF Champions League last year. We must develop to show that no one can take the task lightly when they meet Elverum.”

Did you know?

Elverum played some iconic matches in the recent past when carrying out their home games against PSG, Kiel, and Flensburg in the famous Håkons Hall, in nearby Lillehammer in front of more than 10,000 spectators. Barça will be next to enjoy the experience this season.

An opportunity that does not come often in a player’s career: “It will be a new magical experience and a show that we players will remember for the rest of our careers,” says Langaas.

What the numbers say

A total of 12,000 spectators gathered in Lillehammer for the group phase game against Kiel last season, matching the record the club had set in 2019 when they hosted Paris Saint-Germain and national superstar Sander Sagosen.

The club’s management is confident the Håkons Hall will sell out again on 6 October against titleholders Barça: “A day for the history books.”

Arrivals and departures

Arrivals: Uros Borzas (Fenix Toulouse Handball, FRA), Daniel Blomgren (Alingsås HK, SWE), Kassem Awad (HK Malmö, SWE), Benjamin Berg (Fjellhammer IL, NOR), Patrick Helland Anderson (Follo HK, NOR), Håvar Hildre Skare (Storhamar, NOR), Jacob Moen (Elverum youth academy, NOR), Simon Mizera (HC Robe Zubri, CZE)

Departures: Brede Dahl (Fold HK, NOR), Simen Holand Pettersen (Skjern Håndbold, DEN), Thorsten Fries (Fredricia HK, DEN), Dominik Mathe (Paris Saint Germain Handball, FRA), Eric Johansson (THW Kiel, GER), Erlend Stafset (Nøtterøy, NOR), Thomas Solstad (BSH, DEN)

Past achievements

EHF Champions League:
Participations (including 2022/23 season): 9
Play-offs (2): 2020/21, 2021/22
Group Phase (5): 2015/16, 2016/17, 2017/18, 2018/19, 2019/20
Qualifications (1): 2013/14

Other
Cup Winners’ Cup: Quarter-final 2010/11
EHF Cup: Group Phase 2012/13

Norwegian league: 6 titles (2013, 2017, 2018, 2020-22)
Norwegian Cup: 4 titles (2019-22)

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