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02.06.2014, 20:40
I wonder what SG actually stands for
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In his last blog of the season ehfTV commentator Tom O Brannagain unfolds the unforgettable fairy tale of SG Flensburg-Handewitt at the VELUX EHF FINAL4.
 

I wonder what SG actually stands for

Moin, moin, start spreading the news, Flensburg is the new champion of Europe.

Unexpected, unforeseen and inexplicable are just three words to describe a victory unheralded in the world of sport. Not since the mighty Soviets were humbled by the ice hockey kids of USA has a rank outsider brought victory in what could only be described as a fairy tale. Anyone who attended the LANXESS arena and the VELUX EHF FINAL4 saw a story unfold before their very eyes that had to be witnessed to be believed. If you had watched it in a cinema, you would have asked for your money back, so far-fetched was the story.
 
But for those of us, who saw first-hand what occurred, we could only rub our eyes in disbelief and pinch ourselves that we weren't dreaming.
 
The entire, wonderful, explosive, electrifying event can be summed up by one number.
 
6

It can be summed up in a ten minute spell in the second semi-final. Trailing by six to Barcelona with ten minutes remaining, Ljubo gave a present to a few young guns i.e. to play in the FINAL4. His idea, to rest players for the next day perhaps. Xavi Pascual did the same, albeit his replacements couldn't be described as kids. In my mind, neither coach made a mistake. The result was clear and if you replayed the game a thousand times, both would do the same again.
 
What followed was a bizarre ten minutes, plus extra-time, plus penalties, which left both coaches with the same look on their faces.
 
It was not a look of joy or despair, but rather a quizzical look, a face searching for a reason, any kind of baseline logic to understand what had just happened.
 
And then you realise that sometimes fate has preordained that a name is on the cup. Way back in the sands of time, when the first creature struggled from the water, somewhere in the stars SG Flensburg Handewitt was meant to win this year.
 
Facing Kiel in the final they trailed again by 6. Kiel was steam rolling them. And the never say die attitude of Flensburg reared its head again. All heroes, I won't mention individuals. They were greater than the sum of their parts. They defended stoically and attacked with purpose and won.

I have told the story of meeting Ljubo outside the O2 arena after last year's defeat to Hamburg. He sat with head in hands with no one approaching him. I dawdled some metres away as he cogitated and he beckoned me over.
 
"I will win this thing," he said. And I believed him.
 
And as I watched him celebrate with his team, the memory came back as if it were superimposed over the celebrations on the court. The hurt he felt had galvanised him to succeed.
 
He had some luck on the way, but you need that.
 
He came to me at the hotel and said "It's sick", which I took to mean it's pretty damn cool, but unbelievable.
 
I wanted to quip back, no it's six, but I didn't.
 
I joked at the Google hangout that no one knew where Flensburg was. They do now..
 
My final thought for the final blog this season is this:
 
I have always wondered what the SG stands for in their name.
 
Now I know. It stands for "Six Goals".

It was always written in the stars.


TEXT: Tom O Brannagain, ehfTV commentator
 
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