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12.10.2012, 12:50
One series will come to an end – or not?
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Preview on the Match of the Week Montpellier vs. Hamburg
 

One series will come to an end – or not?

What series will continue? The positive one or the negative? That is the question before the Match of the Week of internet streaming platform www.ehfTV.com. When Tom Ó Brannagáin starts his English commentary (as usual free of charge) on Sunday, HSV Hamburg hope to remain unbeaten and host Montpellier Agglomération HB hope for sunshine after being without a victory and having only one point on their account after two rounds. Only a draw would mean that both series will continue.

“It will not be easy. We do not know exactly the situation our host will be in,” HSV coach Martin Schwalb is uncertain what to expect at the French record champions. Because of the match fixing allegations some Montpellier key players currently are not allowed to train with the team or to play with MAHB and the team of Patrice Canyer is hit hard by this fact. In his 19th season for Montpellier, Canayer has to face completely new circumstances – not being on the winner’s way, neither in the French league, nor in the VELUX EHF Champions League.

They only took a draw at Flensburg, but then lost all remaining four matches – including being defeated on home ground by Leon on the past weekend in the VELUX EHF Champions League.

Usually the arena at Perols is a fortress, but now the French champions have to fight hard to win their home match against Hamburg – exactly that opponent which have beaten Montpellier in the opening match of the Arena in September 2010 by 30:26. But Montpellier took revenge at Hamburg, winning the re-match of the Group Phase 29:28.

In the previous years HSV were more successful than their opponents, reaching the semi-finals three times in four years, while Montpellier missed the semi-finals since 2006. But in contrast to the Germans, Canayer, Nikola Karabatic & Co. have won the EHF Champions League already once in 2003.

As Montpellier’s only experience with a German club in this season was a draw at Flensburg in their opener, Hamburg have good recent memories of Southern France: In the beginning of September HSV won the Wild Card tournament at Saint-Raphaël thanks to a thrilling extra-time victory in the final against the hosts.

While Montpellier have to replace key players, HSV has a long list of long-term injuries: Oscar Carlén, Torsten Jansen and Johannes Bitter are out for months or even years (Carlén) – and now left handed shooter Marcin Lijewski had to undergo an ankle surgery and will miss the next two matches.


TEXT: Björn Pazen / br
 
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