Glandorf’s inflight-goal opens the gate for Flensburg narrowly
The Last 16 of the VELUX EHF Champions League 2016/7 season has already produced very tight results and this match-up between the teams from Belarus and Germany was no different.
While the All-French duel of Nantes vs Paris ended with a tie and Veszprem and Rhein-Neckar Löwen took one-goal away wins yesterday, Flensburg did the same at Brest today.
A stunning inflight-goal from the veteran Holger Glandorf to put his side 26:25 up provided the 2014 VELUX EHF Champions League champions with the smallest of advantages for the second leg, set for next Sunday (2 April) in Germany.
Flensburg’s Dane Rasmus Lauge Schmidt scored the 10,000th goal of the 2016/17 VELUX EHF Champions League season when he made it 19:16 to the Germans in the 40th minute
The height difference between the top scorers of both sides is 29 centimetres - Dainis Kristopans (Brest: 2,13m) and Lasse Svan (Flensburg: 1,84m) netted in five times each
For Meshkov it was the third Last 16 match in their Men’s EHF Champions League history - and the third loss for the champions of Belarus
Both teams suffered injuries during the match - Pavel Atman (Brest) had to leave the court with an ankle injury after just 23 minutes, while Flensburg’s Tobias Karlsson had a head injury which took him out of the match in the 35th minute
In 11 Men’s EHF Champions League participations, Flensburg have qualified nine times through to the quarter-finals and they are in a good position to make it double figures
LAST 16, FIRST LEG
Meshkov Brest (BLR) vs SG Flensburg-Handewitt (GER) 25:26 (13:15)
Boosted by their fans and their rock-solid defence, the hosts had the best of the initial stages as their opponents from Germany could not find the gaps to get through the defensive wall and at the other end Meshkov profited from the goals of their left-handed Latvian Dainis Kristopans who scored four of his five goals in the first half.
Injury proves turning point
Just before half-time, in the 23rd minute, Brest’s brilliant mastermind Pavel Atman had to leave the court with an ankle injury and his side lacked the ideas to adapt without their attacking leader.
Before he left the court, the score was 11:9 in favour of the Belorussian champions, but after he left the 2014 VELUX EHF Champions League winners turned the tide, first levelling the scores, then taking the lead into the locker rooms with a two-goal advantage.
“We had a lot of difficulties in the first half, but we managed to remain calm”, said Flensburg’s coach Ljubomir Vranjes after the match.
Swedish wall in Belarus
Though his Flensburg side could not produce their usual fast counter-attack match play, they kept the upper hand in the second half. One main reason for this was goalkeeper Mattias Andersson, who stood like a rock in between the sticks. Even the injury of defensive boss Tobias Karlsson, who was out for the rest of the match after picking up a head injury, did not stop Flensburg.
Brest bounce back
Boosted by the Scandinavian wings - Anders Eggert, Hampus Wanne and Svan, who scored 50 percent of all SG goals - the team of coach Vranjes, who leaves the club at the end of the season, extended their margin to five goals at 25:20 with 10 minutes to go, causing another team time-out of his counterpart Sergej Bebeshko.
He found exactly the right words as his Brest side put more pressure on the visitors with Croatian goalkeeper Ivan Pesic rising like a phoenix and saving every shot that could be thrown at him for nearly 10 minutes.
Flensburg were extremely shaken, Brest were flying high and the fans were going crazy.
A game of fine margins
Kristopans, Rajko Prodanovic and twice Siarhei Shylovich, netted in for the home side to bring them within one of the German side (25:24) and with only 30 seconds on the clock it was Serbian right wing Prodanovic, who levelled the score (25:25).
The home fans thought the deal was sealed, but they were proved wrong.
Flensburg’s last attack was executed by 2007 IHF World Champion Holger Glandorf, as the right back scored an in-flight goal to claim the lead going into the second leg, and with it, making his coach extremely happy.
“Other big teams such as Vardar, Rhein-Neckar Löwen or Pick Szeged have lost at Brest before,” said Vranjes. “This Brest team is extremely strong on home ground so I am proud of my players, but I still have to warn them - it is half-time, and we are ahead by only one goal, which is nothing in handball.”