“The World Cup is a big deal for us”
April 14, 2023
by Sascha Staat
Trine Ostergaard looks back at one of the most successful periods in her career, winning titles and medals, with her club and national team respectively. In the interview, she talks about the record setting affair at Copenhagen’s Royal Arena (8.157 spectators witnessed the game against Sweden – a new high watermark for a friendly match in Danish women’s handball), her time in Bietigheim and her future in Bucharest.
First of all, congratulations to the win. Sandra Toft said earlier, that maybe in the beginning, your team was a bit nervous because for some of you it was new to play in front of such an enormous crowd. What’s your take on it?
TO: Yes, I totally agree. I think we were all blown away by the big crowd and all the people who showed up. At the same time. we are really happy and excited that people came to this test game as it didn’t have much significance besides being a good handball game. But, yes, I think the first five minutes were a bit shaky and we just needed to get our nerves under control. Thereafter, I think we played a really great game of handball.
Although Sweden got closer towards the end, I think you had the match under control?
TO: I think so too. Sweden is a great team with several very good players. But, I think this time we played a better game compared to the one in Sweden, last week. This time we had more control and we played “our” game. You cannot be sad about it. It’s always nice.
How do you sum up this national team season? You won the silver medal at the EHF European Championship 2022 – are you satisfied?
TO: Yes, I am. I think we played really well this season and yes, I enjoy playing for the Danish national team. It’s always a big honor and I’m really proud of being here. I love to play with the girls and to be together with our coaches – our staff is really good.
So, yes, I’m just happy to be here and see the progress we have made over the past few years and where we are now. I’m content, but hopefully we can add more layers to it and hopefully get to the top.
Actually, everybody is talking about the 2023 World Championship, but it’s still eight months away…
TO: The whole week was all about preparing for the World Championship because it’s a big deal for us. We will play at home and it’s just a big honor to play a championship in front of our supporters and large crowds. So, of course, you neither want to disappoint them nor ourselves. As a team, we can be very successful.
Right now, we are in the middle of April – are you ready for the World Championship?
TO: As you said, there’s a long time to go. This week, I have been focusing on the national team. Now, I will go home to the club and focus on what will be my last great months in Bietigheim. And after that I will have some free time and vacation and prepare for the next season in Bucharest.
Let’s talk about Bietigheim as you had a successful start in the 2022/23 EHF Champions League. What went wrong afterwards?
TO: I don’t think there are any particular insights, sometimes it’s just like that in handball. I think it’s still a really disappointing chapter because we played really well and we had a team to win more games in the Champions League. But, I think our timing was not good enough to be prepared for the most important games. We were not ready and we were missing some important players. So yes, I’m still really sad about how it ended, I have to say. Still, I will enjoy my last months with the club and hopefully will celebrate the German Championship as well.
Don’t you think it was some kind of distraction that many contracts in Bietigheim were about to expire? You knew that you were going to leave the club, but some of the other players may have had too much on their mind?
TO: I can only speak for myself. I knew for quite some time that I would not stay and I that would try some new adventure, in a new country and in a new league. Of course, it causes some distraction in the team when you don’t know your future and what the next chapter will be for you, for the team and the club. It will always occupy your mind.
Speaking for myself, I was fully aware of our situation and I just wanted to win the games. In fact, I think all the girls on the team as well as our coaches also wanted that. But, it didn’t turn out this way, unfortunately.
Was the uncertain future in Bietigheim the main reason why you decided rather early to join a different club?
TO: That was one part of it. I was not sure where the club was going and what the other girls were doing, if they were staying or leaving. And, then I received a great offer from Bucharest, which in my opinion is one of the biggest clubs in the world.
At my age and where I am in my career now, I think it was the best decision for me. Having said that I love to play in Bietigheim and I love the past three seasons I have been there. It was a hard decision and a sad decision as well. But, considering the stage of my career I had to take the next step and that was to join Bucharest. I’m very much looking forward to it.