Real Madrid, Chelsea, Barcelona, Lyon, Porto … and FC Midtjylland. FCM might seem a bit out of place, but it’s a reality, at least when looking at the quarter-finals of the UEFA Youth League.
The Danish side’s under-19 side continued its strong run in the prestigious tournament thanks to a 3-1 home win over Manchester United in the last 16 yesterday in front of over 6,000 fans in what is surely an attendance record for a match involving a Danish youth side.
“I’m immensely proud of the boys, coaches and the entire staff. Everyone was together in the changing room after the game to celebrate,” Claus Steinlein, the CEO of FCM, told BT.
Real Madrid lurking
Facing players like Tahith Chong, who recently took part in United’s triumph over PSG in the Champions League, the Wolves went ahead through 17-year-old Gustav Isaksen midway through the first half, before United equalised via a penalty just before the break.
Isaksen put the Danes ahead again in the second half, before Oliver Olsen settled the affair near the end. It was reported that around 20 scouts from across Europe were at the match.
FCM will travel to take on Porto in the quarter-final in early April, and a win in Portugal will see the Danes face the winner of Real Madrid versus Hoffenheim.
Cort powers to new triumph
Danish sprinter Magnus Cort secured the first win of the 2019 cycling season by taking the fourth stage of the Paris-Nice race. The Astana rider had been in a breakaway and surprised the group he was in by making his move with 1 km left of the race instead of waiting for the sprints, where he would be favoured. The win is among the best in the 26-year-old’s career, behind his Tour de France stage win last year and two stage wins in the Vuelta Espana.
Bears keep roaring in Europe
Denmark’s top basketball side, the Bakken Bears, continued their impressive run of results in Europe by beating Ironi Ness Ziona of Israel to reach the quarter-finals of the FIBA Europe Cup. The Aarhus side overcame the Israelis 81-76 away after also beating them at home 91-74. The Danes will take on German outfit s.Oliver Wurzburg in the quarter-finals on March 20 (at home) and 27.
Axelsen misses out at All England
Danish badminton star Viktor Axelsen was one set away from becoming the first Dane to win the men’s singles at the All England in 20 years, but ultimately fell just short, losing 11-21, 21-15, 15-21 to the world number one, Kento Momota of Japan. Momota has now won ten straight matches against Axelsen. The last Dane to win the men’s singles was Peter Gade in 1999, while Jan Ø Jørgensen came close in 2015, losing in three sets in the final. Erland Kops still has the most wins by a Dane with seven (between 1958-1967), although that was in the amateur era. In the open era, Morten Frost has four titles (1982-1987), though he also lost four finals. In the women’s singles, Tine Rasmussen holds the most titles and was the last Dane to win in 2013, while she also won in 2010 and 2008.
Greenland teen a big biathlon hope
Norway, Sweden and Finland are light years ahead of Denmark when it comes to the biathlon, but a 17-year-old from Greenland could help bridge that gap in the near future. Ukaleq Slettemark won the women’s 10 km individual title at the recent 2019 Biathlon Junior World Championships in Slovakia, taking Greenland’s first ever medal in an international competition. Slettemark spent some of her formative years in Norway.
MMA fighters impress in Copenhagen
The Danish quartet of talented MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) fighters Mark O Madsen, Nicolas Dalby, Søren Bak and Mads Burnell all secured good wins at the Cage Warriors 103 event in KB Hallen in Copenhagen. As the fighters continue to hunt for a UFC call-up, Dalby defeated Alex Lohoré via KO (punches), Bak beat Morgan Charrière via majority decision, Madsen defeated Thibaud Larchet via unanimous decision, and Mads Burnell beat Ahmed Vila via submission (Japanese Necktie).
Schöne sets Ajax record …
Midfielder Lasse Schöne took part in a Dutch Cup match against Feyenoord recently and in doing so became the foreigner with most matches for Ajax Amsterdam. The match for Schöne was number 270 for Ajax, edging him past fellow Dane Søren Lerby, who amassed 269 games for the Dutch giants from 1975-83. Finnish legend Jari Litmanen is third with 255, Jan Vertonghen (Belgium and Tottenham) is fourth with 220, while another Dane, Frank Arnesen, is fifth with 213. Check out the video below of his Ajax goals (some crackers in there).
… and N’Doye sets Superliga record
In a bit of a reverse situation, FC Copenhagen striker Dame N’Doye became the highest-scoring foreigner in the Danish Superliga with 73 goals thanks to a header against FC Nordsjælland on Sunday. The Senegalese forward passed Faroese striker Todi Jönsson, who racked up 72 goals for FC Copenhagen and Lyngby from 1994-2005. OB Odense legend Mwape Miti got 70 goals, Cesar Santin has 64 and Teemu Pukki (now banging them in for Norwich) is fifth with 55. Incidentally, N’Doye is also two goals away from reaching 100 official goals for FCK.
National team gets new sponsor
The bank Arbejdernes Landsbank will be a new official sponsor for the men’s football national team of Denmark, according to the national football association, DBU. The six-year sponsorship will kick off when Euro 2020 qualification starts in a few weeks and it will mean that the bank’s logo will feature on the players’ training gear, along with the logo of Danske Spil. Carlsberg and Hummel are also official partners of the team.
Danes to CFL Combine
Two Danish gridiron players, Frederik Myrup Nielsen and Mads Marquard Nielsen, have been invited to take part in the 2019 National CFL (Canadian Football League) Combine in Toronto from March 22-24. Frederik Nielsen is a wide receiver who plays for Potsdam Royals in Germany, while Mads Nielsen suits up for the Danish champions, the Copenhagen Towers, as a defensive lineman. Players from Germany, France and Finland have also been invited to the combine.