“We think more about developing our game”

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“We think more about developing our game”

March 3, 2023

By Sascha Staat


In the opening match of the 2023 Golden League, in Eindhoven, Norway lost to rivals Denmark (27:28), but Maren Aardahl appreciates the game as a first test for the upcoming World championship, in December.

The line-player from Odense not only takes a look what’s down the road, but talks about some of the near term challenges once club handball continues next week.

Let’s talk about the game. I think the level – considering it was a friendly match – was quite high. What do you think?

MA: Yes, for sure. Both teams play a physical game of handball, especially Denmark.  So, yeah it was a tough game and we have a number of things to adjust for our next matches.

How do you approach such a game like today?  After all, it’s a friendly encounter and it’s about testing.  How do you get into a rhythm, as you didn’t play for the national team since the end of November 2022?

MA: As our coach said, this is the first step towards the World Championship and we’re trying to make the most of it. Right now, it’s about testing different formations . Everyone has to play to feel the game and to know all our systems.  It’s also important to cooperate in defense. In fact, we need to tighten our defense and be more precise in our shooting against a quality goalkeeper.  We had several good chances and that’s something to build on so early in this “season”.

Do you think you should have won the game?

MA: I don’t know about that.  We didn’t score when we were wide open. It’s not that they outsmarted us in their defense. It’s because Sandra Toft was playing a good game.

Do you think Denmark may have been a bit more motivated after the final loss in the 2022 European Championship? Maybe this match was more important for Denmark than it was for you?

MA: I think so. I also think it’s natural that they want to take revenge, while we think more about developing our game. We tried some different tactics, also in defense.  Some of it worked and some of it didn’t.  Now, we know and we can make use of it when need it later on in the year.

Let’s talk a bit about your club as well.  In Odense you have an excellent  team, but you had to deal with a number of  injuries at the start of the season. What can you achieve?

MA: Yes, the Danish league is one of the best in the world, but we hold everything in our hands. If we win the next three games, the match against Esbjerg doesn’t matter anymore.  In this case, we will have secured first place and we will be qualified for the 2023/24 Champions League season. We will try very hard to get this done and not think so much about the playoffs.

Is it on your mind that in the playoffs you may have to go for the title because what you laid out above won’t come true?

MA: Yes, of course. It’s a big thing to get the pressure off, at least for next season. Then we can focus on the playoffs and reaching the final. As you say, we have a great team.  Unfortunately, we currently have some injured players which are very important to us and to reach the Final Four, you need everybody. But,  I still think that we have a very good chance to go all the way.

What needs to happen to reach the EHF FINAL4 as well?

MA: First of all, we have to beat Storhamar, who have shown that they can compete with the very best teams on a good day. We have to take them serious. Thereafter, we need two outstanding games against Györ and that’s always tough, certainly on the road. So, maybe we can create a little gap at home and win by several goals to have a small cushion for the game in Györ.

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