Twin Sister Act in women’s top flight
The Lundes at Kristiansand, the Westbergs at Nykøbing and the Wollers in Bietigheim – three pairs of twin sisters have been reunited in the last two seasons and all of them are part of the Women’s EHF Champions League.
In total, five twin pairs and several more family affairs highlight the competition - in which another twin pair is among the referees.
Katrine and Kristine Lunde (NOR) – Vipers Kristiansand (NOR)
Until the 2010 Champions league title, Katrine and Kristine Lunde had played together since they started playing handball in their hometown Kristiansand.
Then they wen separate ways and goalkeeper Katrine added two more Champions League trophies (with Györ) and the EHF Cup title (with Rostov) to their huge collection of silverware.
In the meantime, former playmaker Kristine became assistant coach at Kristiansand. Now, they are on the same side at the age of 37 and even together on court as Kristine returned to playing duties to cover the club’s injury problems.
Emelie and Johanna Westberg (SWE) – Nykøbing Falster Handboldklub (DEN)
Since last season, these Swedish twins are together in Denmark and it has been an impressive stint so far. In their first year at Nykøbing, the Westbergs won the Danish league title and reached the semi-final of the EHF Cup.
Both had started their careers at Skuru, then the 27-year-old back court players went their separate ways, Johanna left to Danish side Randers, while Emelie played for Lund.
Fie and Cecilie Woller (DEN) – SG BBM Bietigheim (GER)
Fie Woller arrived from FC Midtjylland right after the 2016 EHF EURO to replace Brazilian left wing Franca da Silva, in July 2017, her twin sister Cecilie followed, arriving from Danish side Ajax Kobenhavn.
Danish international Fie was part of Bietigheim’s squad last season, which became German champions with 26 wins in 26 matches and made it to the EHF Cup Final against Rostov.
Cecilie is a centre back and will cover for Maura Visser, who will be on the sidelines after recently announcing her pregnancy.
Thea Mørk (Larvik) and Nora Mørk (Györ/NOR)
While Thea Mørk is the new team captain of the rejuvenated Larvik team, her twin sister is one of the key players of the defending Champions League champions.
Right back Nora is one of the world’s best players at the moment and is a EURO, world and Olympic champion already at the age of 26. Both had played together for Larvik, before Nora moved to Hungary in the 2016/17 season.
Laura and Orlane Kanor (FRA) – Metz Handball (FRA)
The 20-year-old twin sisters learned their trade in the Metz youth academy and now are eager to make their next steps at the elite level. While Laura plays on the left wing, Orlane is located next to her at left back.
Referee twins: Julie and Charlotte Bonaventura (FRA)
They have officiated Women’s EHF Champions league finals, Olympic finals, world and EURO finals and were the first female referees to be nominated for a Men’s World Championship.
French twins Julie and Charlotte Bonaventura (37) belong to the upper echelons of referees in handball and will be regulars at the top matches this season. They started already in the first round in Larvik.
Manuela and Ornella dos Reis (FRA) – Metz Handball (FRA)
Like the Kanor twins, the dos Reis sisters are or were part of Metz’ youth programme. Manuela is an 18-year-old goalkeeper, Ornella a 20-year-old left back.
Veronica Kristiansen (NOR, Midtjylland/DEN) and Jeanett Kristiansen (NOR, Kristiansand/NOR):
27-year-old centre back Veronika is FCM’s new captain and is already a crucial part of the Norwegian national team with two EHF EURO golds and a world title among her successes. Her sister Jeanette (25/left back) helped Kristiansand proceed to the group matches for the first time.
Anna Vyakhireva (RUS, Rostov/RUS) and Polina Kuznetsova (RUS, Vardar/MKD)
Maybe this season will bring a sisters’ duel in the Champions League final as both play for main contenders of the competition. Polina (30) and Anna (22) were coached by their father Viktor and became Olympic champions in Rio 2016 with the Russian team. Polina started her career at Rostov, then played seven years for Zvezda including the 2008 Champions League trophy.
From 2014 both sisters played at Astrakhan, and in 2014 Polina was awarded All-star team member of the EHF EURO - and later-on gave birth to her baby. Anna was awarded MVP at nearly all Younger Age Category events she had been part of and in Rio became the youngest MVP in the Olympic women’s handball tournaments' history.
Sister and brother:
Cassandra Tollbring and Jerry Tollbring both became Swedish champions in the last season, before moving abroad.
Cassandra left Höörs to play for Larvik (Norway), while Jerry left Kristianstad to play for German champions Rhein-Neckar Löwen in the VELUX EHF Champions League.
Susann and Nina Müller (GER) – SG BBM Bietigheim (GER)
Susann and Nina Müller are the only married couple in the Champions League after Gro and Anja Hammerseng-Edin (NOR/Larvik) retired this summer.
Both former German internationals played together at Randers (DEN) and Krim Mercator (SLO), before Susann went to Leipzig and Györ, while Nina played for Hungarian side Siofok. They came together again last season at the German champions and Women’s EHF Champions League debutants.
Nope, they are not sisters
You would be forgiven for thinking that a number of players sharing surnames are related but that is not the case for the following.
Suzana and Barbara Lazovic share no family ties, Montenegrin Suzana is Buducnost line player and Barbara is a Slovenian right back at Vardar.
None of the three Pedersens at FCM are sisters, nor are the pairs of Hansens, Christensens and Christiansens at the Danish club.Author: Björn Pazen / cor