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19.10.2016, 21:25◄ last page     

GROUP A REVIEW: After a slow start against Plock, the 2014 Champions League winners claim their 100th home win in the European club competitions – and the first one of the season.

‘Magic Mattias’ secures milestone victory for Flensburg

After early deficits of 1:7 and 3:8, SG Flensburg-Handewitt turned the tide against Orlen Wisla Plock in Wednesday’s VELUX EHF Champions League Round 5 opener for Group A.

The 22:20 result was the first home win for the German side in the 2016/17 season, while the Polish runners-up remain on only one point after losing another clear lead as they did against PSG and Barcelona in previous rounds.

•    Flensburg defeat Plock 22:20 and record their 100th home win in the European club competitions
•    Plock lost an early 7:1 advantage to finish with their third loss in 2016/17 despite seven goals for Lovro Mihic
•    Flensburg record an all-time low score of 22 in a Champions League home match
•    Both goalkeepers – Flensburg’s Mattias Andersson and Plock’s Rodrigo Corrales – put on world-class performances

SG Flensburg-Handewitt (GER) vs Orlen Wisla Plock (POL) 22:20 (9:10)

The 32:33 loss against Lublin in October 2007 remains the only home defeat for SG Flensburg-Handewitt against a Polish side in the EHF Champions League.

On Wednesday night, SG were shaken again, but at the final whistle claimed their fifth win overall against Plock.

A vital key to their success was goalkeeper Mattias Andersson, who saved more than 50 per cent of all shots against him.

“We could not find our rhythm throughout the whole match, but in the end we have two more points in our account and that’s all that counts,” Andersson told German TV station SKY.

Corrales opens with 75 per cent

Flensburg played the weakest of all opening periods so far in the 2016/17 season. In attack, head coach Ljubomir Vranjes’ team was well below par in the first 18 minutes, scoring only three goals.

One reason was the lack of concentration and mental fitness, but there was another the hosts could not control – the performance of Plock goalkeeper Rodrigo Corrales, who had an extraordinary save percentage of 75 after ten minutes (48 per cent for the match).

His saves backed the Polish runners-up defence, as they easily forged ahead to 7:1 and 8:3 leads with counter attack goals added mainly by overall top scorer Lovro Mihic.

Flensburg’s opening performance was lacklustre, and even a time-out called by Vranjes and several changes had no intermediate effect. His side could not hit Plock’s empty goal in that period and conceded some goals when at a one-man-advantage.

Lauge: “A truly terrible 15 minutes”

But like so many times before, Andersson was the personalised wake-up call for Flensburg. The goalkeeper grew and grew, while Plock missed a series of changes and only scored twice from minute 13 to minute 30.

Thus, everything was open again at the break, when the score was 10:9 in favour of the ‘Oilers’.

“I cannot believe what I saw. It was truly terrible how we played in the first 15 minutes,” was the half-time comment of injured back court player Rasmus Lauge. Besides him, Flensburg needed to replace their injured team captain and defence boss Tobias Karlsson prior to the Round 5 clash.

Swedish duo turn the tide

Right after the break, a Swedish duo were responsible for Flensburg’s first lead, as Johan Jakobsson and Hampus Wanne netted to earn the hosts’ the advantage at 11:10.

By then Andersson had taken the lead against Corrales in the saving statistics, as Plock only scored twice against ‘Magic Mattias’ within from the 25th minute to the 39th.

Mogensen seals the deal

But nothing was safe and secured for the hosts. Plock regained their confidence when Brazilian Jose de Toledo scored into the empty goal for 15:15 in minute 45. Flensburg could not cast off their opponents in that period, mainly as Corrales again shut up his shop.

It took until minute 54 for Thomas Mogensen to make the 5,500 fans in the arena happy with Flensburg’s first three-goal advantage of the game at 19:16.

Still the hosts lacked stability in attack until Mogensen sealed the deal with the score at 21:18 and less than two minutes to play.
Przybecki: “Maybe we started too well”

Plock coach Piotr Przybecki was disappointed: “Maybe we started too well. It was our aim to give a great fight to Flensburg, and definitely we did it. SG were cleverer in the end.”

His counterpart Vranjes was not pleased with his team despite the win: “We made too many easy mistakes, and the only player I am satisfied with today is Mattias Andersson.”

TEXT: Bjorn Pazen / cg

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