According to the DHF, the Danish handball association, the former Danish international and current Bundesliga coach Nikolaj Jacobsen will become the new coach of the Danish men’s handball team, effective immediately.
It was a certainty that the Danish men’s handball team would be getting a new coach this coming summer with the departure of Gudmundur Gudmundsson already confirmed, but Jacobsen will now assume the reins immediately.
“I believe that it’s the best for the national team and for me to step back as coach and give Nikolaj the best conditions to take over the team,” said Gudmundsson.
“Now I can turn towards my future job and the exciting challenges that await me. I want to thank the players and staff for the good co-operation and the great experiences we have shared. And I wish them all the luck in the future.”
Gudmundsson’s stint as Denmark’s coach included a historic Olympic gold medal in Rio last summer, but ended with a disappointing collapse against Hungary in the last 16 of the World Championships in January.
An icon returns
Jacobsen, who played nearly 150 games for Denmark from 1991-2003 and won three German championships between 1999 and 2003, won the German championship last year as the coach of Rhein-Neckar Löwen.
The move means that Jacobsen will have time to prepare Denmark for the important European Championship qualification matches in May and June against Hungary, the Netherlands and Latvia.
While he handles Denmark’s coaching duties, Jacobsen will remain coach of Rhein-Neckar Löwen until 2019, after which he will focus solely on the Danish national team until his contract expires or is extended in 2021.
“We were in a situation in which Gudmundur had already decided to stop this summer, so when Nikolaj Jacobsen had the opportunity to start his national team duties this spring, we agreed to let Nikolaj lead the troops through the coming Euro qualification games,” said Morten Stig Christensen, the sporting director of DHF.