Three German titles, four Cups, five European Cup victories – including the 2014 Champions League title: Without the Danes, SG Flensburg-Handwit’s rise to the title of top spot in handball would have been unimaginable. The geographical location on the border with the neighboring country in the north has always been a great advantage for the club, but it has also been put to excellent use.
Top Danish players signed frequent contracts with SG and shaped the team’s playing style. Jan Iberg Jorgensen, Lars Christiansen, Soren Streiger, Michael Poldsen, Thomas Mogensen, Anders Eggert or Lacey Svan, who will retire after this season, are just a few of them. Danebrog’s transfer policy for the club also meant that SG Flensburg-Handewitt north of the border often ended up in the polls for the most popular Danish team.
Scandinavians leave Flensburg and Kiel
Now, however, there is a risk that something will reverse in the long run. It has always been that SG used the best players in Denmark as well as in Sweden and Norway, but now it’s going the other way. Danish hero Aalborg Handbold and Norwegian project Kolstad IL attract beautiful perspectives on different levels – and with great success. The result: Flensburg as well as northern rival THW Kiel will lose notable Scandinavian players.
Zebras will lose world goalkeeper Niklas Landen to Aalborg in the summer of next year, while Norwegian backcourt player Sander Sagosen will lose to Kolstad at the same time. His national team teammates Magnus Röd and Göran Sögard of SG were also selected. Denmark international Simon Hald will move from there to Aalborg in twelve months.
That’s not all: Swedish left winger Hampus Wan is leaving Flensburg after this streak – although it is likely not to head north, but perhaps to FC Barcelona. And fellow national teammate Jim Gottfriedsson recently told Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet that he would like to leave Public Security before the end of the contract in 2025.
It’s very painful because Ruud, Sogard, Hald and Wan are “all in the best era of handball because we helped develop them here, because we gave them the opportunity here to present themselves on the big stage,” said Saint-Germain coach Mike Machula. “It has also evolved fantastically, so we would have liked to keep it.”
Attractive tax form in Denmark
But how can Aalborg and Kolstadt Ill, the club that has hitherto been in the middle of the Norwegian league, hunt the best players from the headlines in Germany? In Kolstad, a group of strong financial sponsors can be built by seeing one of the top Norwegian clubs in Europe with local players from their country. And in Aalborg, Denmark’s tax system is giving some of the country’s best players (like Mikel Hansen this summer’s PSG) very interesting perks.
Only 32 percent taxes instead of 56 percent
This will also be the case for THW goalkeeper Landen next year. The 33-year-old, like Hansen in Aalborg, will benefit from the state support program – Förskirördningen. As a result, the tax rate drops from 56 to 32 percent.
“Of course, that makes negotiations more difficult for us. That’s why we definitely have competitive downsides.”
THW Managing Director Victor Szilagyi
For several years, the Danish state has been trying to attract the best talent from abroad or repatriate highly qualified Danish employees. Requirements: a professional stay abroad for a period of at least ten years and a monthly salary of about 9,500 euros during this period. Landin moved from Bjerringbro-Silkeborg to Rhein-Neckar Löwen in 2012.
“On the one hand, there’s Denmark with a special tax. But there are also other countries like Hungary, where there are also very strong tax exemptions,” THW Managing Director Victor Zelaghi said in the NDR report. “Of course, that makes negotiations more difficult for us. That’s why we definitely have competitive downsides.”
Flensburg Svan: Also an escape from high pressure
For pro SG Svan, the heavy pressure on players in the Bundesliga also has to do with the fact that many Scandinavians hail to the north. “We’ve talked about it over and over again, but people somehow don’t listen to it. Perhaps the fact that so many players have left is a sign for everyone that we have to look at it.”
THW . circuit runner Patrick Winske sees it similarly. The former national player at NDR Sportclub complained: “It has been the case for years that we have a lot of matches, that we are not getting the renewal we would like. Instead of fewer matches, there have been more and more.”
She is intense in handball. “It feels like we play a game every three and a half days, and then the World Cup or the European Championship will take place in January. I can understand that these people who have been playing here for a long time want to go home, be close to their families and lead a quieter sporting life. To some extent there is,” says Winske.
Burke with more competitive games from THW and SG
However: in terms of the sheer number of matches, there is no difference between Aalborg and the Bundesliga teams. On the contrary: The Danish leading club will play at least 60 competitive matches this year, and 61 when it reaches the final of the tournament. And that despite his elimination in the Champions League in the quarter-finals. Instead, the club participated in the Club World Championship.
Saint-Germain – also due to their early departure from the DHB Cup and their loss to the Champions League quarter-final – come into this series “only” 53 competitive matches. Ultimately, THW 57 will have a competitive game.
Winske: The quality of the Bundesliga increases the workload
Regardless of this comparison to the number of competitive matches, Wiencek emphasized the special pressure in the Bundesliga. “You always have to give everything because here – as it happened to us – you can lose to the penultimate team in the table,” said the 33-year-old. In other European leagues, the big clubs can always rest players against weaker opponents. This results in less burden on the players.
SG has already signed two new Scandinavian signatures
In Flensburg they will continue to rely heavily on the Scandinavian card despite the current bloodshed for players from the North. The commitments for next season already show that. Norway’s August Pedersen is ready to replace Wan, and TS’s Johan Hansen at Hannover Burgdorf – Denmark – is on the right wing! There are some indications that Flensburg will remain one of the most popular “Danish” teams in the northern neighboring country in the coming years.