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20.08.2015, 12:20
Much work to do for northern German rivals
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NEWS REPORT: Coaches of both THW Kiel and SG Flensburg-Handewitt looking ahead to the VELUX EHF Champions League after dramatic German Super Cup clash
 

Much work to do for northern German rivals

Rene Toft Hansen counted himselft the “luckiest man on earth“ on Wednesday night. Not only did the Danish line player win the first duel of this season against local rivals Flensburg and brother Henrik, but he also raised a trophy on his first day as team captain.

One day after THW Kiel announced the transfer of star player Filip Jicha to defending VELUX EHF Champions League winners FC Barcelona, Toft Hansen was announced the new leader of the three-time Champions League winners, joining a list of legendary names such as Magnus Wislander, Stefan Lövgren and Jicha.

Hours later, THW Kiel won the first clash against their northern German rivals and VELUX EHF Champions League group phase opponents SG Flensburg-Handewitt.

The 2007, 2010 and 2012 Champions League winners beat the 2014 winners in a thrilling German Super Cup 27:26. Former Flensburg right back Steffen Weinhold secured victory for Kiel with the winning strike, his sixth of the night, four seconds before the final buzzer.

“It is always great to beat Flensburg, but we know that there’s still so much work ahead for us. We have to find solutions what to do after Filip Jicha is gone now,” said Toft Hansen, who will face his brother for the next time on 3 October in the VELUX EHF Champions League.

“We are disappointed that Filip left, but this is sport. We have to stand closer and have to carry the responsibility on more shoulders,” Croatian playmaker Domagoj Duvnjak said.

Impossible gap to fill

One solution is the signing of Norwegian left back Erlend Mamelund (31) from Haslum. “Kiel is the only club in the world, for which I would move from Norway,” he said. Mamelund had played in Germany  for Nordhorn and Flensburg before as well as a spell at French club Montpellier. He was not entitled to play in the Super Cup against his former club.

“Erlend is not the one to fill the gap of Filip, which is impossible,” said THW coach Alfred Gislason: “For a coach the timing of Filip’s transfer was a catastrophe - right before the start of the season. But we tried everything to keep him in our squad. Finally the management helped him - but for me as a coach it was really hard to find someone in this part of the season, who is able to run on two legs and who can catch a ball,” the Icelandic born coach said with a smile.

Gislason was “surprised” with the win over Flensburg: “We had so many problems in our preparation and we played so weak. I did not expect this win, as this season Flensburg have the deeper squad and are supposed to be stronger than us. But despite this win, we still have so much work to do.”

The Kiel vs Flensburg clashes (re-matches of the 2007 and 2014 finals and the 2015 Last 16) are the only domestic duels in the group phase of this VELUX EHF Champions League season (in Group A) - and both sides expect tight matches in all encounters.

Cologne a possibility

“This result was no hint for the rest of the season. Both clubs are contenders for making it all the way to Cologne, to the VELUX EHF FINAL4,” said Flensburg coach Ljubomir Vranjes.

His team was clearly dominant in the first half, leading by five goals, before Kiel caught up goal by goal - mainly thanks to the saves of the new arrival between the posts, Niklas Landin. But compared to Flensburg, Kiel seem to need more time to adapt newcomers like Christian Dissinger.

For Ljubomir Vranjes, players like Kentin Mahe, Rene Toft Hansen  (both from Hamburg) and Rasmus Lauge (from Kiel) showed a strong performance, offering Flensburg plenty of options.

“I am satisfied with them, but we have plenty of work ahead,” said Vranjes. Both sides aim for all potential titles and trophies again, in Germany or Europe. “All three German teams have a chance to qualify for Cologne,” added Vranjes, throwing Rhein Neckar Löwen into the mix.

While Flensburg appear to have no major injury problems at the start of the season, Kiel are struggling on the left wing position.

Dominik Klein is supposed to be out for a few more months after his ACL operation and his replacement, 2007 World Champion and 2013 Champions League winner Torsten Jansen, has been sidelined for the past two weeks and nobody knows whether he will be back for the start of the European campaign, leaving youngster Rune Dahmke alone on the left wing. “Maybe we have to react,” said Gislason.
 


TEXT: Björn Pazen / cor
 
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