Danes looking to redress the balance
Date: 3/12/2013 11:25 AM
Published by : Manuel Røsler
Two years is a long time in any sport and in terms of badminton team events it has seen the dominance that Denmark has traditionally had in all European team events being eroded by their near neighbours Germany. The Germans defeated Denmark only a few weeks ago in Russia at the 2013 European Mixed Team Championships and just over a year ago the German ladies lifted the 2012 European Women’s Team Championships event in Amsterdam again consigning Denmark to the runners up spot.

Two years ago in Vantaa, Finland the U19 team from Germany lifted the European Junior Team Championships title which was the catalyst for the German revival. All that means is that Denmark, for the first time in recent history, have a minority stake holding with only two of the European Team Championships in their possession a statistic that they will be going all out to change in Ankara, Turkey in between 22nd and 26th March.

How strong is title holder Germany?

Denmark went into that 2011 European Junior Team Championships with a team full of young stars, including Viktor Axelsen, Line Kjaersfeldt, Kim Astrup Sorensen and Rasmus Fladberg and this year the Danes will be outright favourites to reclaim the title they lost in Finland.

Once again the Danes have a team that is bursting at the seams with quality and amongst them are seasoned professionals who, despite their young years, have flourished into seasoned senior tour players. The jewel in the Danish crown is Line Kjaersfeldt who is fresh from recent wins at the Irish and Estonian Internationals and has already established herself at senior level with Denmark.

"We will do absolutely everything to win the title back"

Kjaersfeldt was a member of the losing 2011 team and this time the quietly spoken Dane has just one thing on her mind.  “We will do absolutely everything to win the title back in Turkey. We should have won in Finland and it was very disappointing that we didn’t. We did not perform well then and lost but we know there are many strong teams so we will have to be focused for the entire competition”

Strength in depth has always been key to Danish success in the past and this year in no different but who are most likely to challenge the Danes when the action gets under way at the Ankara Aski Sports Hall.

France will pose the main threat to Denmark

On paper team Germany will have an extremely tough battle on their hands to try and retain their title but German team spirit is always worth its weight in gold and a very inexperienced German side will certainly give their all.

The French will undoubtedly pose the main threat to Denmark which is a testament to the systems the French have put in place to develop their young talent. Like the Danes the French have players who have senior tour experienced and individuals such as Delphine Lansac, Marie Batomene and their men’s doubles pair of Maio and Lodiot will have a huge bearing on the destination of the trophy. 

Traditionally Dutch, English and Russians featured as medal contender

Traditionally the Dutch, English and Russians have always featured as medal contenders and these European Junior Team Championships have always thrown up a surprise or two in the past as the Ukrainians proved in Finland two years ago lifting the bronze medal.

Turkey have to overcome Scotland and Belgium to avoid early exit

Who will it be this year you may ask? It may be two years to late but Finland send a team full of experience to Turkey and the Finns will go all out to take down Germany in their group with players such as Jenny Nystrom, Kalle Koljonen, Iikka Heino and Mathilda Lindholm pulling the strings.

Turkey, as the home nation, will look to their star Neshlihan Yigit to lead the way for a home onslaught on the title but with Scotland and Belgium in the same group the Turks will have to get out of the blocks quickly to avoid an early exit.

All the action kicks on in Ankara, Turkey on 22nd March and Badminton Europe TV will be there for entire tournament streaming all the live action from court 1 on BEC's official YouTube channel.

For a full list of the team draw CLICK HERE
For past winners CLICK HERE

Article and archive images by Mark Phelan for Badminton Europe.
© All rights reserved.

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