|28.09.2016, 12:00||◄ last page|
FIRST-HAND INSIGHT: A new rule that helps teams be more aggressive decided the Match of the Week between Flensburg and Veszprém. But how did the other 26 coaches fare in the first week of the VELUX EHF Champions League?
Winds of change bring more entertainment
Just type “change” into your search engine and an army of quotes and proverbs will flood your screen. From Mahatma Gandhi to Albert Einstein and Barack Obama, you will not have any trouble finding a quote that could be transformed into a motto.
However, change is inevitable and the Europe’s top competition is trying to keep up with the pace. Therefore, from the start of the new season, there have been several changes in the rules of the game, the most important one being the new goalkeeper rule.
Up until last season, a team could replace their goalkeeper with an outfield player, while the player had a cut-out goalkeeper shirt on, with the number clearly visible. From autumn 2016, the rule has been changed and any player can replace the goalkeeper during the game.
The downside is that this player cannot enter the six-meter zone and act as a goalkeeper without earning a 2 minute suspension, compared to the previous rule, when the player who had the goalkeeper shirt on could make saves.
Five teams did not use the new rule
Chekhovskie Medvedi, Montpellier, Nantes, Motor Zaporozhye and Besiktas Mogaz HT never risked having an empty net and took the conservative option, while Meshkov Brest did not change until the third suspension in their loss against title holders Vive Tauron Kielce.
Veszprém took the risk
However, these were isolated cases, as most teams used the new rule when they were a man down, in order to spur on their attack. One common trait was that safety was the main priority for the coaches, with a player coming back for the change seconds before the play was over. In most cases, the player was the wing, who finalized the crossing scheme and went back into play.
While the German powerhouse and the Hungarian side scored from four open-goal plays, as they constantly used six outfield players when down a man, it was a surprise to see Xavi Sabate, Veszprém’s coach, to go for it with 20 seconds left in the game, as Veszprém had a one-goal lead. A failed move saw the German side take control and Kentin Mahe scored to make it a 24:24 draw.
Teams are still learning
TEXT: Adrian Costeiu & Tomas Cuncik / bc