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Kolding IF has no limit

Kolding IF has had a fantastic season, being on top of the Denmark 2nd division and reaching the quarter finals of the Danish Cup at the same time, eventually losing to one of the biggest club in the country, FC Midtjylland. Let's tell you their story.

Kolding IF team regrouping before a game

By Svend Bertil Frandsen
From Denmark

With only 48 hours to go before their crucial Cup clash against Danish champions FC Midtjylland, the squad from Danish 2nd division league leaders Kolding IF Fodbold were slowly getting ready to put the final touch on their preparations. This game had kept the small town buzzing ever since coach Anders Jensen's troops secured their ticket to the quarterfinals of the tournament, with an unlikely win against bitter rivals Vejle BK.

In the club house, posters building up tension for the clash were scattered all over the place urging the local heroes to "tame the wolves" as FC Midtjylland are often referred to in the Danish public.

As the squad made their way towards the hard-tested pitch at the back of the stadium, the last rays of the sun were beaming over the sports complex to form an idyllic setting, very symbolic of the success which Kolding are enjoying at the moment.

Can't rest on laurels

There is also a calm and quiet confidence which only a solid run of form can build in the expression of coach Anders Jensen, when he meets up with yours truly for a cup of coffee following the training session.

"18 months ago we began putting players under contract, and that of course allowed us to work with much more continuity around the squad than before. We've been able to establish a great setup under which the players can flourish, the club is well-organized and we have a nice stadium which will also be able to meet the demands if we gain promotion. But of course we have to make sure not to rest on our laurels and that also means that the players have to train more than three times a week if we are to establish ourselves as a main contender in the 1st division if we secure promotion", says Anders Jensen.

One of the reasons why the near future is looking so bright for Kolding is the 21-year old Kristian Kirkegaard ,who after joining the club last summer from lower league outfit Kolding Boldklub has proven a revelation.

Christian Kirkegaard, from Kolding IF, is one of the big prospect in Denmark

Despite his limited stature, he has adapted very quickly to life in the 2nd division as an attacking midfielder, and his belief in himself is evident when he meets up to give a little tour of the stadium.

Headed for Danish Superliga?

"I am born and bred in Vejle, so it's of course a bit ironic that I play for their rivals now", says Kristian Kirkegaard who studies in Aarhus when he is not playing football. "Not so long ago, I never imagined that a professional football career could be on the cards for me. But everything has gone really quickly and I certainly don't want to rule anything out", he adds, a player who has found the net seven times for Kolding so far this season.

Kirkegaard has only got half a year left on his contract, and as he has been hesitant to sign an extension, rumour has it that he will move on to the Danish Superliga once the season is finished. Kirkegaard does not want to give even a hint of where his future lies, showing signs of the maturity which he has gained in Kolding.

However, when asked how he usually celebrates his goals, he does give a sign that perhaps there is still a thing or two to be learned about professional football. "I usually do a back-flip, should I do one right now?", said the spirited youngster. But we quickly stepped in to stop him from possibly injuring himself, so close to one of the most important matches in club history!

Christian Kirkegaard reproducing his goal celebration for a TV spot

But such is the atmosphere at the Kolding IF Fodbold sports complex at the moment. There is an enormous enthusiasm coupled with an inspiring belief that anything is possible. "Of course we are riding a wave at the moment where we even think that it is possible to challenge the Danish champions. The promotion for the 1st division is, however, the most important thing for us. But I don't want to talk too much about it, I don't want to jinx it", ends coach Anders Jensen. And even if Kolding lost their quarter final (2-0) to FC Midtjylland on Wednesday, they carried their streak in the League the following Saturday beating Tarup-Paarup (2-0). So the dream is still on...