Tranborg: "We want to show that we can stay on top"
The Match of the Week on Sunday will be very important for group A leaders Team Esbjerg, as they will welcome FTC-Rail Cargo Hungaria, who are ranked third but are currently just one point behind the Danish team.
The 26-year-old right back Mette Tranborg is looking forward to the upcoming clash.
"If we want to keep the first position in the group, we have to win. It is a very important game, and we want to show that we can stay on top. FTC are a very good and strong team, so I expect the game to be very physical," she told eurohandball.com.
The reverse fixture in October ended in a 31:31 draw, and Tranborg, who actually missed that game, thinks that the encounter this Sunday might be just as tight and exciting.
Last week, Esbjerg’s round 10 match had to postponed due to the COVID-19 cases in the Danish team, yet the right back thinks that it has not affected her team’s condition a lot.
"Obviously we needed a few days to get back in shape, but this Wednesday, we played a Danish league game and beat Holstebro, and everyone seemed to be ready," she said.
"If we stay among top two teams in the group and directly qualify for the quarter-final, we’ll have a good chance. Of course there are only good teams at that stage, but we’ll have to step up and do our best."
Last season, Esbjerg finished just sixth in their group before losing against Brest Bretagne Handball in the playoffs, but now the Danish side have been performing way better, and Tranborg has an explanation for it.
"On the one hand, we have added some new quality players to our squad. But those of us who had been in the team before now also have learned each other better, so it’s a combination of two factors."
In four previous seasons at the continental top flight, Esbjerg had never reached the DELO EHF FINAL4, but Tranborg believes that her team can achieve that goal in 2022.
"If we stay among top two teams in the group and directly qualify for the quarter-final, we’ll have a good chance. Of course there are only good teams at that stage, but we’ll have to step up and do our best. And even if we drop to the third position and have to go through the playoffs, there will be a chance. This season, I have a good feeling about it," Tranborg said.
This season, she has already won a bronze medal with Denmark at the World Championship 2021 in Spain, and is very happy about it.
"It’s definitely a highlight of my career. I’ve played for the national tam for many years, but had no medals before, so it was very important to get the award," said the player who now follows Men’s EHF EURO 2022 and thinks that Denmark have a good chance to win the title.
Born in Aarhus, Tranborg started her career at the local club SK Aarhus before moving to Odense Handbold in 2017, and she made the next step in 2020 when she joined Esbjerg.
"I could have stayed at Odense, who also play at the Champions League, but after three years there, I wanted a new place, a new team and a new coach. I had just recovered from an ACL injury, so I was not ready to go abroad, and Esbjerg was a good opportunity," the right back recalls.
Last autumn, Tranborg extended her contract with the club until 2025, yet she can easily imaging moving to a foreign team some day in future.
"I’m sure it will happen at some point. I’ve been dreaming about it since I was a kid," she says.
However, now she is a player of Esbjerg, and although the famous Norwegian Nora Mork, who is also a right back, will join the team in summer, Tranborg is not afraid of the increasing competition.
"Nora is a very good player, and she is better than me in some things. However, I believe that I’m better than her in other things, so we can both help the team," the player concludes.