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EHF European League

Danes claim individual awards

EHF / Björn Pazen

SC Magdeburg’s players knew exactly who to thank most when the final buzzer of the European League final sounded on Sunday night.

All of them ran towards and onto Jannick Green, cheering for and dancing with their goalkeeper as they celebrated winning the title.

Following the 28:25 win against Füchse Berlin, Green not only claimed the biggest trophy at club level in his career to date but also scooped the MVP award, presented by hummel, at the first EHF Finals in Mannheim. The numbers do not lie and with 17 saves and a saving percentage of 43, Green was definitely the hero in an outstanding SCM team, which ended their 14-year wait for an international trophy.

“Maybe the first half against Berlin was a perfect half. We defended brilliantly, Jannick saved so many shots and we could run our counter-attacks,” said Magdeburg’s coach Bennet Wiegert, who called Green’s performance in the final “simply outstanding”.

Füchse coach Jaron Siewert also knew the reason for his side’s defeat: “Magdeburg had their key player in the goal, who saved so many free shots. Green was the difference in the final.”

At the break, when Magdeburg were ahead 15:8, Green had saved 50 per cent of Füchse’s shots and when his team needed him most in crunch time, when Berlin reduced the gap to only two goals, Green was back.

A weekend of two halves

The EHF Finals had been a weekend of two halves for the Dane, who had played for Bjerringbro Silkeborg until 2014, before he moved to Magdeburg.

One save from 15 shots was his output in the semi-final against Wisla Plock (30:29) but his one save was in crunch time, when Green stopped a crucial Plock attack.

“I had two completely different games this weekend. On Saturday, I was not so good but my teammates helped me. It was better today but in the end it was an extremely good team performance,” Green humbly said.

In the end, he was happy with his MVP award but even happier with the new European League trophy.

“I am extremely proud of what we have achieved. It was a really hard game in the final but we did extremely well in the first half. Then we faced some difficulties after the break and Füchse put us under pressure. But we withstood this pressure and now I am extremely happy.”

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Green is part of the current crop of strong and successful Danish goalkeepers. Niklas Landin is the current IHF World Player of the Year, steered Denmark to their second World Championship title in January and THW Kiel to his first EHF Champions League trophy in December.

Kevin Møller has been a hero for Barça this season and hopes to raise the Champions League trophy with the club before returning to Flensburg this summer. Meanwhile, Emil Nielsen, the youngest in the group, was the key player for HBC Nantes in their run to the EHF FINAL4 with victories over Kielce and Veszprém.

Green has no shortage of medals with the Danish national team, winning the World Championship in 2019, Olympics in 2016, as well as silvers EHF EUROs and World Championships, but now he has his first international club title to add to his collection.

Prolific winger leads all scorers

The other individual award in the first EHF European League season went to another Danish player, who did not even play at the EHF Finals last weekend in Mannheim: Emil Jakobsen won the top scorer award, presented by SELECT.

The GOG left wing, who exited at the quarter-final stage against Wisla Plock, scored 96 goals since the start of the group phase, which counts for the ranking, and 111 times since the start of the qualification.

23-year-old Jakobsen was hunted by Magdeburg’s Omar Ingi Magnusson. Before the EHF Finals, the right back was on 81 goals, then scored six in the semi-final. With nine strikes in the final, Magnusson would have been equal with Jakobsen, but the Icelandic international ended on seven on the day and 94 in total.

Jakobsen wrote another chapter of Danish top scorers history in Europe’s second tier club competition. In the 2016/17 and 2017/18 seasons, it was Hans Lindberg (Füchse Berlin), in the 2018/19 season, it was Marcus Bramming from TTH Holstebro.

Next season Emil Jakobsen will be tested in German Bundesliga as he will move to Flensburg, replacing Norwegian Magnus Jøndal, who retires from handball.

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