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27.10.2015, 18:10
End of part one
«Go back »Print Version


BLOG: First six rounds of the VELUX EHF Champions League have been played and ehfTV.com commentator Tom O'Brannagain shares his early season's impressions.

»EHF CL Channel »2015-16 Men's CL
»Group Phase
»
 

End of part one

Victor Hugo, the great French author once wrote:

“He who contemplates the depths of Paris is seized with Vertigo. Nothing is more fantastic. Nothing is more tragic. Nothing is more sublime.”

He could have been talking about PSG, but this commentator’s journey along the river of the CL, since PSG’s conception into the competition, has shown a growth in the club. There is a sense of purpose about them, in general, now.

Gone is the arrogance of trying to buy a championship to be replaced by a plan, a sense of humility, a sense of belonging to something greater than themselves and it pervades the entire club.

From the officials, to management to the players and the coach, there is more of a togetherness, an objective, that cannot be achieved by simply throwing money at it.

The squad is still galactic, but there is a steely base. Just like the Eiffel tower that is emblazoned on their jersey, they, like that might edifice, look a mixture of steel and lace.

They are still my favourites and I will follow my course.

Six matches in and what have we learned.

KIF probably would prefer if matches were 50 minutes long. Meanwhile, Igropulo is a miracle of modern science having had his appendix removed for the second time.

Celje plays, for me the most attractive handball of all and we love them all the more as it ends in glorious failure.

Kiel isn’t Kiel of yesteryear, and Gislason must feel as if he is on a roller coaster in Euro Disney.

Kristianstad dismissed by all, including me, fully deserve their place in Group B.

The Plock fortress of last season is more akin to a house of straw although I still think Manolo is doing an amazing job there.

You wouldn’t want to be betting your week’s wages on any game in Group C and D as the results are as erratic as the Irish weather.

This format can finally be considered a true league.

FCB look fragile but are still in second place.

The big plus with this format, for me, is for the “non-traditional” Champions League nations. Presov from Slovakia have shown a really good level although results don’t reflect it.

We’re getting a bit too much chocolate at the moment. Do we still appreciate the big clashes? I like to hope so.

There have been three serious knee injuries that I can remember. All of which ruling the players out for long periods. Get well soon, Wiencek, Dereven and Zachariasson.

The way to get players attention is to resign, then re-sign. VV gets a No Grade for that one.

I’m sure you all have your own points. Six weeks in and my brain is hurting from the amount of games I have watched. There is no longer a minimalist approach to this. You must see just about everything to gauge the value of the competition.

The angle you approach this competition depends on your outlook. As fans you must be enjoying every minute. As media types we are spoiled for choice. As teams from lesser leagues, the competition level is a welcome boon.

As players, you are no doubt bone weary.

But I’m sure I speak for all fans when I say that the last six weeks of competition has thrilled us all endlessly. We have been on the edge of our seats.

Thanks for the effort and skill level and dedication to your clubs and the competition proper.

Let’s all chill for two weeks and then go at it all again.

Acta est fabula, plaudite!


TEXT: Tom O Brannagain, ehfTV commentator
 
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