|24.04.2017, 16:00||◄ last page|
TALKING POINTS: What did we learn from the first legs of the 2016/17 VELUX EHF Champions League Quarter-final?
Things we know after the first legs of the quarter-final
We are now one step closer to the moment everyone has been waiting for. The first legs of the VELUX EHF Champions League Quarter-final are finished, and only one game remains - the moment of reckoning.
Eight teams, who shed a lot blood, sweat and tears this season to put a rightful claim on a VELUX EHF FINAL4 berth, are in with a chance of reaching Cologne. However, some are closer than the others.
All square between Kiel and Barca now
Kiel broke that very logic, again, at their Sparkassen Arena, when they defied the odds to defeat the otherwise immaculate Barcelona (28:26).
The game itself was not bereft of emotions either.
The two giants have now met 24 times, and before last weekend's meeting Barcelona had the bragging rights with 11 victories. Now, thanks to Kiel sharpshooter Marko Vujin's 10-goal master class, the German side also have 11 victories to their name.
However, Kiel’s triumph could also prove a turning point in the longstanding rivalry of the two teams. It was Kiel's first victory against Barcelona since their 29:24 win last year, following a defeat and a draw in the group phase this season.
With that hope, and the crafty tactician Juan Carlos Pastor on the bench, they went all or nothing against Noka Serdarusic and his team, only for their own mistakes to prove costly.
The French team rose to the occasion defensively, preventing Veszprém from playing like they are used to in attack. Montpellier’s rigid tactical plan and defensive aggressiveness proved an excellent counter-measure, as it silenced most of Veszprem’s shooters. Aron Palmarsson and Laszlo Nagy topping the scoring charts with six goals.
Following a string of unsuccessful attempts reach the FINAL4, which included three defeats and one draw in their previous four quarter-final matches in 2015 and 2016, the Macedonian giants were true to their name this time.
TEXT: Nemanja Savic / ap