Flensburg conquer Kiel’s fortress in style in MOTW, as Paris and Barcelona march in step
After their sixth wins in seven matches, Paris Saint-Germain and FC Barcelona Lassa top the ranking of VELUX EHF Champions League Group A, while Flensburg win the ehfTV.com Match of the Week at Kiel - their first victory in a Champions League match in Sparkassen-Arena since February 2006 (32:28).
PSG were the first Champions League team to conquer Veszprém’s fortress with a final score of 29:28 since the Hungarian hosts lost 28:29 against THW Kiel on 27 April 2013.
One week after their first-ever victory against Barcelona, PSG claim their first ever away win at Veszprém – and their sixth straight victory in the group phase
Eight goals from Uwe Gensheimer, including the winners’ strike, propels the German to a total of 47 goals after seven matches
Paris and Barcelona each reach 12 points on the table
It was Kiel’s second home defeat in any Champions League match since 2011
Flensburg claimed their first away win in EHF CL match at Kiel since 2006
Bjerringbro-Silkeborg (DEN) vs FC Barcelona Lassa (ESP) 23:27 (13:11)
A Dane was one significant key for Barcelona’s win on Danish ground: New arrival Lasse Andersson netted six, mostly crucial, goals for the Catalans, who had more problems against their visitors than expected.
The hosts initially profited from a huge number of saves by goalkeeper Sören Rasmussen and high efficiency on counter attacks in the first half.
After their defeat at Paris, Barcelona again had some problems in attack, while support from the stands spread additional energy to the hosts.
BSV take a three-goal advantage
3:2 was the last lead for the Catalans, who again had to replace Filip Jicha and Cedric Sorhaindo due to injuries, in the first half.
Then Bjerringbro took control of the match, reaching a difference of three goals at 12:9 and 13:10 in the height of their dominance.
But BSV were shaken by the red card against defensive specialist Rasmus Jensen after his third two-minutes-suspension before the break.
Goalkeeper Perez de Vargas becomes Barca’s insurance
With goalkeeper Gonzalo Perez de Vargas growing and BSV lacking luck in attack, Barcelona turned the match around in minute 40.
When BSV replaced their goalkeeper with an additional court player, Dane Jesper Noddesbö netted for the first Barca lead at 15:14, followed by the 16:14 off Valero Rivera into the half-empty goal.
BSV coach Peter Bredsdorff-Larsen immediately took his time-out, as the scoring efficiency of his side after the break was decreased to only 15 percent.
“In the first 10 minutes of the second half, we lost our own level of performance. As we have seen in many games, we came back and were only behind by one goal but at that time, we were playing on the edge of our abilities and could not hold it,” said Bredsdorff-Larsen after the game.
“At the end, it was a well-deserved win for Barcelona but it was the seventh great performance by us in the VELUX EHF Champions League. Again, we showed that we can win in this tough group and we will come back strongly on Sunday in Barcelona.”
Lazarov’s impressive free-throw goal
BSV remained below par in attack, but Barcelona were not at their best in offence either, as they started to miss several great chances to decide the outcome early.
Goalkeeper Sebastian Leth Frandsen was the reason BSV could still could hope for a sensation at 21:22 six minutes before the final whistle.
Finally, it was a counter-attack goal from team captain Victor Tomas and a long-distance shot by Andersson into the empty BSV goal that decided the duel in favour of the visitors.
The final strike was a truly impressive direct free-throw hammer by Macedonian sniper Kiril Lazarov, who, like Andersson, finished with six goals.
Telekom Veszprém (HUN) vs Paris Saint-Germain Handball (FRA) 28:29 (14:15)
Fans in sold-out Veszprém Arena were served a handball deli, in which Paris finally were the luckier team.
PSG had the better goalkeeper – Thierry Omeyer – on their side during the Round 7 clash. He played for Kiel in 2013, when they were the last Champions League side to win at Veszprém Arena until PSG did so on Sunday night.
Besides Omeyer’s saves, Veszprém’s defence stood like a wall of concrete and both sides used outstanding weapons in attack.
While Paris counted on Gensheimer’s counter attacks and Luc Abalo’s spectacular wing goals, Veszprém scored from all cylinders. But the 2015/16 Champions League finalists could not pull ahead of the French champions, who arrived with confidence after five straight Champions League wins.
Veszprém’s last lead at 21:20
From minute eight and the score of 3:2, Paris were ahead until the half-time buzzer – mostly by one or two goals but sometimes by more.
In the final minutes of the first half, Veszprém improved their defence and back court aces Mate Lekai and Momir Ilic (who was top scorer for the hosts by eight goals) reduced the gap to only one goal.
After the break the top-level game continued, as Paris took the lead and Veszprém continued to equalise.
The key factor that turned the thrilling encounter around was the improvement of goalkeeper Roland Mikler, who backed Veszprém with his saves.
When strong line player Renato Sulic took the score to 21:20 in minute 42, it was the first lead for the hosts since the initial stages – and also the last.
Gensheimer decides the match
PSG struck back, holding a two-goal advantage for nearly 90 seconds and scoring four goals in that period to move ahead to 24:21.
But the rollercoaster again changed direction – Veszprém took the lead at 28:27, but then missed their chances during a two-minute suspension for Luka Stepancic.
With 44 seconds and 28:28 on the score board, Veszprém coach Javier Sabate took his final time-out. But his team failed in attack, and after another PSG time-out, it was Gensheimer’s eighth goal that finally decided the match.
THW Kiel (GER) vs SG Flensburg-Handewitt (GER) 22:30 (12:14)
Whoever thought that the 27:37 defeat at Flensburg in the 2015/16 Champions League group phase was a singular blackout of THW Kiel was taught a new lesson on Sunday night. Losing 22:30 on home ground was an even bitter shock for Kiel, while Flensburg celebrated their first VELUX EHF Champions League win at Sparkassenarena since the 32:28 victory in the 2006 quarter-final.
“Our goalkeeper, Kevin Möller, and our defence were outstanding today,” said SG Flensburg coach Ljubomir Vranjes, adding, “Our rotation worked well and it feels really good to win here.”
Landin in the spotlight
The first half of the ehfTV.com Match of the Week was full of speed and power, but also hectic and extra-ordinary Danish goalkeepers. Interesting enough, THW coach, Alfred Gislason, decided to start with Niklas Landin between the goal bars, even though his counterpart, Andreas Wolff, had an incredible 25 saves one week ago, when Kiel beat Flensburg 24:23 in the German league.
But Landin was brilliant! He saved 64 percent of all shots before the break and on the other side of the court, his no. 2 in the Danish national team, Kevin Möller, stood as a rock too - and became one of Flensburg’s heroes in the second half. Kiel had to replace young gun, Nikola Bilyk, due to ankle problems, but were more dominant as a team in the early stages. Boosted by Landin and more than 10,000 fans in the 90th duel of the Northern German powerhouses, Kiel were more efficient in attack.
After the final buzzer, Landin was in a state of shock. “Any home defeat really hurts. We could not return in the middle of the second half. Fortunately for us, we have the chance to take revenge on Wednesday in Flensburg.”
Eggert becomes top scorer
Things did not even change when Christian Zeitz was fouled by Rasmus Lauge, right as he netted in for the fourth time to tie the match at 5. Flensburg missed too many counter-attack chances, while Kiel managed to stay ahead at 9:7. This goal and two nearly parallel suspensions against Kiel changed the match completely. Flensburg scored a 7:2 series to be ahead 14:11, including four penalty goals of Anders Eggert, who failed from the penalty line last week in the Bundesliga duel at final buzzer. On Sunday, Eggert was best scorer of the match with six goals overall.
Toft Hansen ruled out with knee injury
Right after the break, Flensburg started their mission to calm down the arena by forging ahead 17:13. Kiel were shocked even more, when team captain, Rene Toft Hansen, was forced to leave the court with a knee injury in minute 38 with the score 19:15 in favour of the visitors.
Landin’s magic had come to an end, mainly from the right attacking side, where Holger Glandorf and Bogdan Radivojevic shone bright. Serbian wing, Radivojevic, was the one to score for the first six-goal lead at 21:15. Kiel were extremely shaken, lacked resistance, seemed to have no ideas in attack and lost their stability in defence. THW scored only four times in the first 15 minutes after the break.
“We missed too many chances in the first half already. Flensburg were fresher than we were and they had the better alternatives. Besides, our defence was not as strong as last week,” said Gislason to the German TV station Sky Deutschland. He added, “To play at Flensburg will be even tougher, mainly as we don’t know what is going on with Rene Toft Hansen.”
Flensburg without mercy
Flensburg showed no mercy with their neighbours, similarly to the previous season, when they won the same group phase encounter 37:27. Ten minutes before the end of the match, the intermediate score on Sunday was close to that 10-goal margin at 26:17 in favour of the visitors. In minute 58, SG evened the ten-goal line at 30:20, with the final score reading 30:22.