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23.11.2016, 21:00◄ last page     

GROUP A REVIEW: Flensburg beaten on home ground, after strong first half of THW.

Kiel show their second face and take revenge

After two straight defeats, THW Kiel are back on track in the VELUX EHF Champions League. The three-time winners of Europe’s elite competition took a close 26:25 win at their neighbours and are only one point behind Flensburg.

  • In total, it was Kiel’s 55th win against Flensburg; in international matches, it was victory number 8
  • Seven goals from Anders Eggert were not enough for the hosts
  • Flensburg lost their second home match of the season by a one-goal margin, after the 27:28 loss against Barcelona
  • The THW left-handers, Zeitz and Weinhold, were injured in the 91th derby


SG Flensburg-Handewitt (GER) vs. THW Kiel (GER) 25:26, 13:17

In handball, everything can change within three days. After the 22:30 defeat on home ground, the THW players left the court with their heads down. On Wednesday night during the re-match at Flensburg, Kiel demonstrated their power in the first half - though they had to replace Olympic champion Rene Toft Hansen, due to injury and later on, the team lost their back court aces, Steffen Weinhold and Christian Zeitz, also due to injuries.

The match was initially delayed five minutes because of technical problems with the score board. First, the hosts played in the same efficient style as on Sunday and during the 37:27 group phase win against Kiel in the previous season.

But when the engines of ‘Mr. Hammer’ Christian Zeitz had started, the match turned around completely. “We did not have the means to stop him,” was the half-time reaction of Flensburg’s manager, Dierk Schmäschke, speaking to the five-goals from the right back. After the break, Zeitz was forced to leave the court quite early.

In contrast to Sunday’s match, the SG goalkeepers didn’t have a good day, regardless of whether Kevin Moller or Mattias Andersson were between the posts. “We have played with a much higher intensity,” commented Kiel’s manager, Thorsten Storm, after the first half to Germany’s TV station, Sky. With the score 14:10 in the sold-out Flens-Arena, Kiel was already up by four goals and it had appeared that both Northern German rivals had changed sides from the previous game.

Schmäschke expected this would be a “truly tough task” to reduce the gap, but his side proved that he was wrong. After scoring a 5:1 run within the first six minutes after the break to tie the match at 18, Flensburg made their fans go crazy and forced THW coach, Alfred Gislason, to take his timeout.

Flensburg managed to take the lead with the next goal to make the score 19:18 and this proved to be the wake-up call for Kiel. The derby was fully open again. Mostly, THW went ahead and SG equalized. Flensburg’s defence had improved, but Kiel finished their weak period.

When leading 23:22, Kiel seemed to be in trouble. First, the Croatian defence specialist, Igor Brozovic, received his third suspension and thus, was sent off to the tribune with a red card. Then, Kiel had a substitution mistake and suddenly, they were at a two-man disadvantage. But what was THW’s reaction? Domagoj Duvnjak hammered in for the 24:22 and when the number of players was equal again, Nikola Bilyk, who had missed the first leg on Sunday due to an injury, even extended the margin to three goals.

The final stage became thrilling and hectic. Kiel played risky by adding an additional court player and were punished by Flensburgs’ goals.. twice! In general, the hosts missed too many clear chances. Due to several offensive fouls committed by Flensburg, the number of turnovers continued to rise.
With 45 seconds remaining on the score board, Danish Rasmus Lauge hit the net against his former club for the 25:26 score. Gislason’s players were clever enough to remain in ball possession until the final buzzer, therefore, taking the win and sweet revenge.

“I am proud of my team after the terrible last minutes we played on Sunday,” said Gislason, adding, “I am happy with this victory, but had to pay a high price for it with the injuries of Weinhold and Zeitz.”

On the other hand, SG coach Ljubomir Vranjes was “highly disappointed with our performance in the first half. Later on, we fought well, but still caused too many mistakes.”

TEXT: Björn Pazen/tm

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