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15.02.2017, 21:57◄ last page     

GROUP A MATCH REVIEW: Thanks to a strong performance from goalkeeper Roland Mikler, the Hungarian side pass THW in the Group A standings.

Veszprém secure first ever win in Kiel

On Wednesday night, for the sixth time since 1996, Veszprém were the visitors at the Sparkassenarena in Kiel (formerly called the Ostseehalle). For the first time ever, the Hungarian champions were victorious in the fortress of the three-time EHF Champions league winners.

After their home defeat against Barcelona, Veszprém are now back on track- taking the third position in Group A again, passing Kiel and Flensburg.

  • Veszprém won their third straight match against Kiel, after their clash in the 2016 semi-final at Cologne, and the first leg in the current group phase.

  • With 12 points on the board, Veszprém secured their ticket to the Last 16.

  • Veszprém lost all five previous Champions League matches at Kiel.

  • Joint top scorers were Momir Ilic (Veszprém) and Niclas Ekberg (THW) with seven goals each.

Group A

THW Kiel (GER) vs. Telekom Veszprém (HUN) 25:27 (15:15)

In 2013, it was a 31:32 defeat, followed by a 24:25 defeat in 2015- Telekom Veszprém have experienced unlucky moments in Kiel’s arena. However, on Wednesday night- they struck back. Their 27:25 win was their first ever away win at Kiel.

Throughout the match Veszprém’s Mirko Allilovic and Roland Mikler shone bright. Kiel, on the other hand, lacked goalkeeper Niklas Landin who was ruled out by injury, and replacement Andreas Wolff only managed to save 21 percent of shots on goal.

“Veszprém’s win was fully deserved, they were the better team,” said THW coach Alfred Gislason, adding: “After a strong start we had not been solid in defence -we were too weak.”

Although his side was passed by Veszprém in the Group A standings, Gislason still keeps his head high: “No matter, if we finish in fourth or fifth position, we will definitely have a tough Last 16 opponent. Last season, we faced group winner Barcelona in the quarter-final and still booked the ticket to Cologne. So still- everything is possible.”

Veszprém were still without injured playmaker Aron Palmarsson- a former THW player. After eight minutes they were down by 1:5. Nevertheless, after eight further minutes, and a time-out called by Coach Xavier Sabate, the visitors had levelled the score again at 7:7. From that moment on, the first half was a close battle. Kiel’s goalkeeper Wolff had impressed in the first minutes, and after this his counterpart Alilovic matched his performance.

The hosts relied on line player Patrick Wiencek, who scored five goals by the break, and six by the end. Veszprém on the other hand scored from the back court with Laszlo Nagy and Mate Lekai, who both scored six goals by the end. The 15:15 draw at half-time was a fair result, as while Kiel had a strong start, they appeared weak in the back court.

The second half started with a treble strike from Veszprém. Kiel lacked concentration in attack at this point. But backed by the 10,000 fans in the arena, the three times Champions League winners withstood this tricky situation. They managed to draw level again when young Austrian Nikola Bilyk made it 20:20 in the 42nd minute.

When Sabate side took the lead for Veszprém again, the match became more technical, and Kiel again had problems scoring against their solid defence.

At the score of 21:23, the fans caught their breath, when Lekai and Wiencek crashed their heads together. Kiel’s line player had to leave the court with a cut, but returned after a medical treatment on the bench. Lekai lost a tooth.

When THW top scorer Ekberg missed his first penalty shot, after four goals from the seven metre line, and Mikler saved Bilyk’s shot, the Hungarian champions seemed to be on the path to victory, being ahead 25:22 with seven minutes to go.

Dramatically, Kiel’s coach Alfred Gislason threw his crutches away- which he needs after having a knee operation. He shouted and ran to take his final time-out in minute 58, when the goal difference was three goals at 23:26. The clock was ticking for the hosts. Kiel still had the chance to tie, when Bilyk scored to make it 25:26. However, top scorer Ilic sealed the deal for Veszprém two seconds before the final whistle, making it 25:27. “It was a deserved victory, as we played much more clever compared to the Barcelona match. We took our chances and conceded only 25 goals, this was the key,” said Ilic.


TEXT: Björn Pazen/kc

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