Hansen ready to step up for Denmark

EHF EURO KEY PLAYERS: Anne Mette Hansen expects a difficult EHF EURO 2018 for herself and her Danish teammates, especially after the injury to key player Stine Jørgensen

Photo: Rasmus Terkelsen

Since her first major tournament, the EHF EURO 2014 in Hungary and Croatia, Anne Mette Hansen has grown into a key player for the Danish national team.

And the 24-year-old left back from Györi Audi ETO KC might get an even bigger role at the upcoming EHF EURO 2018 in France.

After captain and playmaker Stine Jørgensen from Odense HC was ruled out with a knee injury, the remaining back court players can prepare themselves to take on a heavier burden.

“It is really annoying for the team, and not least for Stine herself, that she is injured,” Hansen says. “When a team loses such a crucial player, it is significant and the rest of us will have to contribute even more than before in order to fill the gap.”

Jørgensen’s absence will likely add to Hansen’s court time in France, but the left back says, “I have no idea yet. That is something the coaches will have to decide.”

Learning all the time

Hansen is in her second year with Györ, with whom she won the Women’s EHF Champions League last season.

The left back, known for her powerful shot and tough defensive skills, started her career with Ajax, a small club in Copenhagen, before moving to Danish top club København Håndbold.

Three years later she went to Györ, her first move abroad. Playing the EHF Champions League was a completely new experience to her when joining the Hungarian giants.

“I have learned a lot and I am learning new things all the time. I feel I have developed in all aspects of the game,” Hansen says. “I feel I have become a bit calmer when I am with the national team as I have some more international experience at club level.”

Tough, but not impossible group

For the preliminary round at the EHF EURO 2018, the Danes have been drawn in Group A. Playing in Nantes, their first opponents will be Sweden, who beat them in last year’s World Championship quarter-final. Next up are Poland, who beat the Danish team at the Golden League in Denmark recently. The final opponents in the preliminary round are Serbia.

“Of course, it is a tough group, but I believe we can defeat them and proceed. I hope we have learned from our latest matches against them and that we will be able to benefit from that,” Hansen says.

If Denmark qualify for the main round, they will stay in Nantes to face the three best teams from Group B, which features France, Montenegro, Russia and Slovenia.

However, at this stage of the tournament, it would not matter too much to Hansen who the opponents are.

“At a EURO, there are only good teams, so it will be tough no matter what,” Hansen says. “Those are obviously some very skilled opponents and we will have to play our very best in order to beat them.”

written by Peter Bruun / cor