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01.06.2014, 22:30
Magic Mattias secures Flensburg’s first trophy
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MATCH REVIEW: Flensburg beat triple champions Kiel thanks to their goalkeeper in yet another drama at the VELUX EHF FINAL4 in Cologne
 

Magic Mattias secures Flensburg’s first trophy

Whoever beats Barcelona and Kiel within 24 hours is a deserved winner of the VELUX EHF Champions League!

In a similar fashion to HSV Hamburg one year ago, SG Flensburg-Handewitt left both main contenders behind in Cologne. Exactly at 19:42 hrs. the team of head coach Ljubomir Vranjes had made history by winning their first EHF Champions League title.

When the final whistle was blown, all Flensburg players jumped on the one, who secured their biggest ever success: Goalkeeper “Magic Mattias” Andersson, who saved an extraordinary number of 23 shots in the thrilling 30:28 final victory against Kiel.

After losing EHF Champions League finals in 2004 (Celje) and 2007 (Kiel) this year Flensburg caused the major sensation of this EHF Champions League season. 

Like 24 hours before in their semi-thriller against FC Barcelona, which they had won after a penalty shoot-out, Flensburg again caught up with a six-goal deficit. 

THW lost their first EHF Champions League final against a non-Spanish team and left the court disappointed.

VELUX EHF FINAL 4 2014:

Final: SG Flensburg-Handewitt (GER) - THW Kiel (GER) 30:28 (14:16)

Both sides had started in 'express mode' into the first half. Full speed with full focus on attack, no defence was the clear motto of the German rivals.  At the beginning Flensburg lacked efficiency in their counter attacks, while Kiel, boosted by the high speed goals of Gudjon Valur Sigurdsson and Niklas Ekberg, forged ahead, first to 8:3 and then to 10:5.

"I'm really disappointed. We really wanted to win this tournament. What happened? That's a normal scenario in handball. One minute you lead by 6 and in the next one... I would just like to say that's handball," said Ekberg.

Flensburg had learnt their lesson. Backed by the superb Mattias Andersson, they found their rhythm in the middle of the first half and reduced the gap to only two goals for the first time at 12:14. For Flensburg attacks from the right hand side wereclearly stronger with Lasse Svan and Steffen Weinhold (in his last match for Flensburg before his transfer to Kiel), scoring eight of 14 goals for Flensburg.

For the second half Flensburg arrived back on court full of passion, eager to make the next sensation come true.

After seven minutes into the second half, Thomas Mogensen leveled the result at 19:19 and with the most spectacular goal of the day - a true kempa - Anders Eggert granted Flensburg the lead at 20:19.

"What a great day! I can´t believe it! We knew we had to fight our way through. We knew that we have to fight for 60 minutes. And we did," said Eggert after the match.

However, the most important key to this result was still the simply incredible Mattias Andersson, who stood like a wall in this period.

Kiel coach Gislason reacted, took his timeout, and changed the goalkeeper from Sjöstrand to Palicka. But nothing changed on court: The underdogs from Flensburg even forged ahead to their first ever four-goal lead at 25:21 in the 47th minute and Andersson saved shot after shot, while both wings, Anders Eggert and Lasse Svan, scored and scored.

But it was too early to write off Kiel! They reduced the gap to 28:29 in the 58th minute. Flensburg were shaking, Kiel tried to grab their last chance.

But if you have “Magic Mattias” in the goal, you are safe and secure. When the score stood at 30:28, Andersson showed the save of the day against Aron Palmarsson, who was awarded the weekend's Most Valuable Player, 69 seconds before the end the advantage was again on the SG's side, when Vranjes took his final timeout.

And when the Swedish goalie saved his 23rd shot against Vujin, the Flensburg fairy tale had become reality.

"I'm speechless. I am so proud, proud of my team. I told them before the match that I was proud just to be here today. Because we did something great yesterday," said Flensburg head coach Ljubomir Vranjes.

"And today, I do not know what we did today. It was incredible, I don't wanna talk about tactics at all now. I just wanna thank everybody who supported us and I wanna thank my players for this season. Incredible."


TEXT: Björn Pazen / ts
 
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