Flensburg back on track thanks to Andersson
After losing against Barcelona and PSG, Flensburg cheated the gallows in VELUX EHF Champions League Group A: A 26:24 win against their Danish neighbours Bjerringbro-Silkeborg in a true thriller means the German side can still hope to finish in third position.
On the other hand, BSV missed a great chance to make a huge step towards the Last 16.
• Flensburg record only their second home win in six matches of the group phase
• With 13 points in their account and still two matches ahead, Flensburg can pass Veszprem (16 points) in the ranking
• After winning at Kiel, BSV come close to another sensation on German ground
• BSV striker Nikolaj Nielsen top scores the match with seven goals
• Anders Zachariassen, Kentin Mahe and Rasmus Lauge Schmidt score five times each for Flensburg
SG Flensburg-Handewitt (GER) vs Bjerringbro-Silkeborg (DEN) 26:24 (10:11)
The Danish champions continued at Flensburg with the same form that saw them conquer the arena in Kiel a week ago. Former Flensburg goalkeeper Sören Rasmussen (40) stood like a rock behind the powerful, movable and well-adapted defence, which put enormous pressure on the hosts.
When Bjerringbro forged ahead from 4:4 to 9:7, Flensburg coach Ljubomir Vranjes needed to take an early time-out and made every effort to wake his players, mainly in defence. “I tried to explain it on the bench in a calm way, but nothing changed, so I needed to get louder. But the final result proves that may players understood what I wanted to tell them,” said Vranjes about the tense situation.
Defensive problems for Flensburg
Though the German side managed to level the result at 10:10 right before the break, their performance level was still lower than expected. The defence had problems, as defence boss Jakob Heinl had to leave the court early with a thigh injury.
BSV fought hard to remain on eye level and SG goalkeeper Kevin Möller was the only reason the visitors held a lead of just one goal at the break. Scoring five of his in total seven goals before the break, Nikolaj Nielsen was another key for the BSV lead.
Backed by a sold-out Flens-Arena, it seemed the hosts would find the means to turn the match around after the re-start, but Bjerringbro patiently waited for their chances and, atypical of the Scandinavian style, ran barely any counter attacks.
‘Magic Mattias’ saves the day
When his side were down 14:17, Vranjes took his next time-out and made a decision that changed the match completely – switching the goalkeeper from Möller to ‘Magic’ Mattias Andersson. The Swedish veteran saved the first three Bjerringbro shots against him, providing Flensburg with extra power.
At 19:19, the German side levelled the result again. After another outstanding Andersson save – one of eight in only 14 minutes – Flensburg took the lead at 21:20 with seven minutes to go.
“Maybe I was the match winner, maybe not. The two points are what counts”, said Andersson, adding: “In the first half the defence was too weak, in the end, we improved.”
While Andersson was humble, Vranjes praised his goalkeeper: “Definitely he was the match winner.”
World champion Kentin Mahe netted seconds later, and a successful shot into an empty-goal goal from Lasse Svan for 22:20 followed. But still – even when the score board showed 25:22 two minutes before the end – nothing was decided.
Flensburg caused two turnovers, BSV scored twice for 25:24, and so it was Svan’s job to seal the deal in Flensburg’s final attack.
The victory was not the only positive news for the hosts: Left back Rasmus Lauge Schmidt recently extended his contract until 2021.
“Now we put the pedal to the metal to take the third position,” the Danish international said.