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Louise Burgaard, player of the national team of Denmark, wants to cheer again at the World Championship. Picture: Pillaud

Group C: Denmark - Reaching for the world leaders

Since 2015 Klavs Bruun Jørgensen is chef coach of the Danish national team. Beforehand the left-hander played 185 international matches for Denmark and various Danish clubs. He even spent a year in Germany when he played for Wallau-Massenheim in 1998.

“I have a lot of good memories of Germany. The sports hall was always full of spectators even at practice matches. Germany is full of handball enthusiasts, that’s why I am looking forward to the Championship in our neighbouring country”, so Jørgensen. 

The Danes playing in a city not close to the border, but in Oldenburg isn’t a problem for him. “I think a lot of our fans will come to Oldenburg. Women’s handball is in an upswing since our good performance at the European Championship”, says the Dane. Coach and team had a rough start, so the fourth place was a big relief. “In the beginning I got a lot of headwind from the press. A lot thought I dealt harshly – too harshly - with my players. But people who know me better are seeing my other side. I want to work calmly with my team and without the press. But this doesn’t work in Denmark. In the beginning the players have been influenced by the press and had too much respect for me. They still have respect but now they dare to speak to me about everything. That’s how it’s supposed to be”, explains Jørgensen, who trained only men’s teams before.

“There are no big differences. Not only women but also men need confidence and maybe get sad after some of my decisions. The physique is different of course. But I don’t need to hold hands all the time, like some of my male colleagues like to think”, he smiles.

In 1996, 2000 and 2004 the Danes won the Olympic gold medal, which is Jørgensen’s goal. “If the team stays together like this, we will become a team of semi-finals able to win medals. I don’t know whether there will be good, young players following. I’m hoping for the Dane federation to invest in young talents”, says the 43-year-old.

His key players are among others goal keeper Sandra Toft, Maria Fisker and Line Jørgensen. All of them are playing or have played abroad. “It’s important for everyone’s personal development to know more than just the Danish league. International experience helps in the important matches of World or European Championships to make the right decisions. Winning the Danish Championship isn’t helpful for that”, says the Dane.

The Dane has respect for the Danish group in the World Championship (next to Denmark, Russia, Brazil, Montenegro, Japan and Tunisia). But he isn’t afraid. “I think we could win every game. But at a World Championship it depends on the daily form. For me the finals are the most difficult because Germany and the Netherlands could be waiting for us. Both teams are strong opponents.”

But Jørgensen wouldn’t be Jørgensen, if he would not look forward to Hamburg because that’s where the semi-finals and the final are taking place.