Young Sävehof looking for experience in Europe
Last season IK Sävehof repeated their 2018/19 glory in the domestic league, staying unbeaten through the play-offs and clinching their seventh national Swedish title.
The success came two years after Sävehof had ended the four-year reign of IFK Kristianstad. The following year the title was not awarded amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Now the team from Partille, once winners of the Challenge Cup and regular participants in the EHF Champions League, returns to European handball.
They will compete in the group phase of the EHF European League Men, boasting a team with exciting young talents like Elias Ellefsen á Skipagøtu, but also experienced players like Sebastian Karlsson and Jonathan Stenbäcken.
- seeded for the EHF European League group phase as the 2020/21 Swedish champions
- they last played in Europe in 2019/20, when both the men’s and the women’s team of Sävehof played in the EHF Champions League
- biggest signing in the off-season was Jonathan Stenbäcken, former Swedish international and Danish league winner with Skjern Håndbold
- other newcomers include Alexander Westby, coming from EHF Champions League side Elverum
Most important question: Do Sävehof have what it takes to compete in Europe?
Every season the biggest club in Swedish men’s handball has to replace several players leaving for new challenges. Ahead of the 2020/21 campaign Sävehof lost captain Jonathan Edvardsson, Danish standout Henrik Tilsted, and defensive specialist Christoffer Brännberger.
However, the club managed to keep one of its biggest talent on board: Elias Ellefsen á Skipagøtu. The 19-year-old showed last season he has all the tools in his toolbox to become a future star of the game.
Do Sävehof boast enough power and quality to stand the test, both in Europe and in the Swedish league?
“We would like to go as far as possible. It is very important for us to play in Europe to develop and give our young players as much experience as possible,” says team manager Emil Berggren.
Under the spotlight: Elias Ellefsen á Skipagøtu
Considered one of the biggest talents in the world of handball, the 19-year-old prospect from the Faroe Islands, impressed in Savehof’s run to the domestic title with passes behind the back, shots from unexpected angles, and other qualities that elevate him beyond most playmakers.
The 2021/22 season is the one in which Ellefsen á Skipagøtu must cement his status. The absence of team captain Jonathan Edvardsson leaves an empty space that he has to fill.
How they rate themselves
While many expect that Sävehof will have a hard time getting out of their group, the club itself is ambitious.
“I think Nantes and Berlin are two of the top teams on paper. Hopefully we can stay healthy and with some luck on our side we can reach the Last 16. From there anything can happen,” says team captain Sebastian Karlsson.
Did you know?
No other team than Sävehof have won the Swedish league in the past three years. Sävehof won the title in 2019 and 2021, while the in-between season was cancelled.
What the numbers say
Six players in the squad started their handball careers at the club, known for producing talented players in their academy. Four more players have also been with Sävehof since their youth years.
Arrivals and departures
Arrivals: Alexander Westby (Elverum Håndball), Marcus Lennernäs (Skånela IF), Jonathan Stenbäcken (Skjern Håndbold), Olle Ek (IF Hallby)
Departures: Jonathan Edvardsson (TSV Hannover-Burgdorf), Henrik Tilsted (Bjerringbro-Silkeborg), Eric Westergren (OV Helsingborg), Henrik Rhåsson (Kungälvs HK), Christoffer Brännberger (Önnereds HK)
EHF Champions League:
Last 16 (2): 2004/05, 2011/12
Group phase (4): 2005/06, 2010/11, 2012/13, 2019/20
EHF Cup: Last 16 (1): 2006/07
Challenge Cup: Winners (1): 2013/14
Swedish league: 7 titles (2004, 2005, 2010-12, 2019, 2021)
Photo Olle Ek: IK Sävehof Facebook page