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13.11.2015, 13:40
A historic night for PSG
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FEATURE: An “eternal” series came to an end for Kiel, while Paris ended their “German curse”
 

A historic night for PSG

1504 days seems like an eternity in the busy schedule of European club handball. For 1504 days, THW Kiel had not lost a home match in the VELUX EHF Champions League. One team, Vive Kielce two years ago, managed to snatch a draw at the stronghold of the three-time winners since October 2011, when Montpellier were the last side to beat THW on their ground in an international match 24:23.

This “eternal” run came to an end on Thursday, when Paris Saint-Germain Handball took the fortress by a 30:26 away win. Brothers Luka and Nikola Karabatic were also on court for Montpellier four years ago and on Thursday.

“It was incredible to win here,” said goalkeeper Thierry Omeyer, who had been the key figure for the three THW Champions League trophies, and since 2014 plays for PSG.

“We all know how hard it is for any team to stand the pressure in Kiel, but we managed it,” the goalkeeper said, who had a major impact on the seven-goal held by PSG at one point with an incredible 18 saves in the first 30 minutes (25 in total).

Anyone who knows “Titi”, knows that he hates to lose. And even his individual story turned on Thursday as he won for the first time in an official match against his former club after two group phase defeats in the previous season.

PSG even made more history: It was their first ever win not only against Kiel in their seventh attempt, but against any German team in international competitions. The sting of the 39:32 defeat at Flensburg at the start of this season really hurt, but since September, the tides have turned.

“In Flensburg, we stood in our own way, now we knew what to do and even managed to cope with injuries such as William Accambray and Xavier Barachet,” coach Noka Serdarusic said after the match.

It was a personal satisfaction for the PSG coach to win at his former club (1993-2008) and for the second time in this group phase against a team he had coached before, after the even harder earned 32:30 against Celje.

Serdarusic, who had led THW to incredible 25 domestic and international trophies in his era, had the sense of how the match will end. Before the duel, he said: “I was not used to losing many matches in this arena, such are my feelings today.”

“You cannot stop this team on its way to the VELUX EHF FINAL4 in Cologne,” Kiel’s coach Alfred Gislason praised the opponent: “Before the start of the season they were my personal favourite to win this title for the first time and after our defeat I am even more persuaded of that.”

Were the wins against their main Group A contenders Veszprem and Kiel already the changing of the guard in the VELUX EHF Champions League? “No, no, no, it’s much too early to predict anything,” Omeyer said.

Former German national team coach Heiner Brand even sees chances for Kiel to turn it around already in Paris on 21 November in ehfTV.com Match of the Week: “Kiel will not start as weak as they did on Thursday, and their late comeback proved that they can match this exceptional team.”

And in the rematch, Kiel will definitely have Sergiy Onufryienko on their list. The Ukrainian, replacement for currently injured French World Champion Barachet on the right back position, produced his performance in a PSG shirt, scoring seven times from nine attempts. “It was a nice, but intense match,” Onufryienko said with a smile on his face, but did not want to take a personal praise: “We were strong as a team.”

But he is the perfect example that PSG function as a team now, even if their top stars Mikkel Hansen (only two goals from play) or Nikola Karabatic (three goals from eleven attempts) have a quiet day.


TEXT: Björn Pazen / cor
 
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