Skjern confirm their strength; dream scenario for Gorenje
Skjern Handbold went top of Group C last week with an 11-goal victory over Dinamo Bucuresti. In their second away game of the VELUX EHF Champions League season they sealed that position with another solid win, this time over Elverum Handball.
Not even the most enthusiastic Rk Gorenje Velenje fan would have designed such a dream scenario for their team, who followed Elverum with a second victory of their own. The Slovenian side now tally two wins from two matches after a victory against Dinamo Bucuresti.
• Skjern enjoy another thorough win, against Elverum, and sit at the top of the group ahead of the showdown versus Velenje next Sunday
• Skjern boast one of the best attacks in the competition, scoring 71 times over two games
• Bjarte Myrhol scores eight times for Skjern, while Elverum's top scorer is Kevin Gulliksen, with six goals
• Velenje rely heavily on Matjaz Brumen, who tallies eight goals, as they narrowly defeat Bucuresti in Romania
• Dinamo’s best player in Round 2 is left wing Hugo Descat, who scored five times
• Dinamo will face Kadetten Schaffhausen on Wednesday, in a do-or-die game for the Romanian side
Elverum Handball (NOR) vs Skjern Handbold (DEN) 27:32 (11:17)
With an impressive win under their belt last week against Dinamo Bucuresti, Skjern Handbold were brimming with confidence before their Nordic derby against Elverum.
A positive mindset and an astonishing defensive sharpness was the difference from the throw-off, as the Danish side jumped to a 6:1 lead after only eight minutes.
A pedestrian Elverum side had little answer for their Danish counterparts, who boasted a 81% shot efficiency in the first half, with Anders Eggert in particular superb form, scoring six goals.
Late Elverum run does not scare Skjern
With little defensive prowess on show for either side after the break, a 7:4 partial in the first seven minutes of the second half cemented Skjern's path to the win.
But it was not a walk in the park, as a 6:0 run by Elverum cut the Danish lead to only three goals, 24:21, with 15 minutes to go.
While their shot efficiency faltered in the second half, Bjarte Myrhol, Anders Eggert and Rene Toft Rasmussen continued to be close to unstoppable, as Skjern won convincingly, 32:27.
Skjern coach Ole Nørgaard said his team's calmness was the key to their victory.
"Elverum played well but I think the start of this match made it hard for them to win. Everything had to go their way to win this match tonight. I really don't think we were scared, although they had a good period in the second half."
His Elverum counterpart Michael Apelgren agreed.
"We went in to a tough match, like we did against Skjern two years ago,” he said. “They made it very difficult for us tonight, from the start we were missing too much when we got great chances , and that followed us through this match."
Elverum centre back Hakon Bratvold Ekren said the atmosphere made the match stand out.
"Playing matches like this is something you dream of, it's the most exciting thing you could do I think, and playing against teams like Skjern in my own hometown is special for me,” he said.
Dinamo Bucuresti (ROU) vs Rk Gorenje Velenje (SLO) 26:27 (10:9)
Dinamo had a lot to change after their 39:28 loss against Skjern in Round 1, and the Romanian side duly understood that.
With a completely different attitude and more focused defence, Dinamo started the game against Velenje with a 5:1 partial that left the Slovenian team dumbfounded.
There was no need for a time-out from the guests, who never lost their composure. While both team’s defensive systems continued to work hard, Dinamo had no answer for Matjaz Brumen, the right wing who scored five times – more than 50 per cent of his team’s goals in the first half.
As Dinamo struggled to regain their strength from the nine-metre line, it was no surprise that Velenje levelled the game at 8:8.
Taking the lead and never looking back
The shock for Dinamo came in the 33rd minute, as Velenje took the lead for the first time, at 11:10. It was a serious blow for the Romanian side, who constantly failed to find a way to breach the Slovenian team’s defence.
A 3:0 partial for Velenje pulled the guests to a 17:14 lead, but Dinamo managed another impressive comeback to equalise at 19:19.
However, the Romanian hosts never reclaimed the lead. Their offensive frailties left Bucuresti empty-handed, while Gorenje’s ruthlessness earned the Slovenian side another hard-earned two points after a narrow win.