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21.11.2015, 23:30
PSG demolish Kiel at home
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GROUP A REVIEW, PART 2: PSG make it look easy against three-time EHF Champions League winners THW Kiel, and Flensburg storm Zagreb’s fortress.
 

PSG demolish Kiel at home

German teams win, German teams lose – this was the result of Saturday night’s VELUX EHF Champions League Group A matches.

SG Flensburg-Handewitt pulled off a somewhat surprising win in Zagreb, while THW Kiel were hit hard with a seven-goal defeat in Paris. PSG Handball remain on top of the group and can only mathematically give away their Last 16 berth.

GROUP A
MOTW: Paris Saint-Germain Handball (FRA) vs THW Kiel (GER) 37:30 (18:12)

With an unexpectedly clear win, Paris Saint-Germain underlined their impressive form and ambitions.

Nine days after ending Kiel’s four-year undefeated run on home ground with a 30:26 victory, PSG put on an even more impressive performance to defeat their powerhouse opponent by seven.

With an intermittent lead of eleven goals (28:17 at one stage), the French champions were close to cause the clearest ever defeat of THW Kiel in the history of the EHF Champions League. On 25 March 2000, Kiel lost the second leg of the semi-final 13:22 at Badel Zagreb, but won the first leg 32:21.

In the end, seven goals were a more than welcome distance for Kiel, and PSG coach Zvonimir Serdarusic took his third consecutive win – against a club he once coached.

All sports in Europe have showed their solidarity with Paris and France in their various stadiums and arena, and nothing was different at this handball match: After an emotional speech from EHF President Jean Brihault, the crowd in Carpentier Arena broke into Le Marseillaise.

The main questions was which team will manage to cope with this tragic situation in the better way, and it was, fittingly, the hosts. “Je suis Paris” was not only on the shirts of the PSG players and the LED advertisement, but also in the hearts of all of PSG’s squad.

Just like in the 30:26 victory little over a week ago, Thierry Omeyer was the reason PSG were ahead in the first half. The saves of the four-time EHF Champions League winner (three times with Kiel) provided a strong backdrop for the French champions to create an advantage of 17:10 in minute 27.

Paris were clearly dominant as fans shouted “Titi, Titi”, knowing that Omeyer was the key for success.
Nikola Karabatic and Mikkel Hansen led the PSG attack, and the team kept a well-deserved six-goal margin at the break. The home side were much more fluent and fast in attack.

In contrast, Kiel were never able to reach their usual efficiency, netting only 44% of their attacks in the first 30 minutes.

Omeyer was still in focus after the break, extending his save percentage intermediately to more than 60. Though Kiel tried everything, they were without a chance.

In minute 40, Karabatic took Paris ahead for the first nine-goal advantage at 26:17. With eight goals Karabatic was, in contrast to the first leg at Kiel, the cornerstone for the team on home ground.

As the clock wound down THW seemed to surrender completely, overrun by PSG counter attacks after simple technical mistakes.

Karabatic left the court but Hansen stepped in to score easy goals, as the THW defence appeared resigned and PSG held on to claim the win.

Christian Dissinger and Marko Vujin scored six goals to be the top scorers for Kiel.


 

HC Prvo plinarsko drustvo Zagreb (CRO) vs SG Flensburg-Handewitt (GER) 23:30 (10:15)

Flensburg took their fifth win in a row, while Zagreb were defeated for the third straight time: In contrast to their local rivals THW Kiel, who lost 22:29 in the Croatian capital in the opening group phase match, SG Flensburg-Handewitt took two unexpected points in the Lion’s Den in Zagreb.

Despite their second defeat on home ground, Zagreb remain on track for a Last 16 spot, sitting four points ahead of their main opponents Celje and Istanbul.

Veselin Vujovic always focuses on defence, but on Saturday night it was the attack of RK PPD Zagreb that was the major problem – conceding 15 goals in the first half against the 2014 VELUX EHF Champions League winners is quite OK, but the major problem for the Croatian record champions was that they only scored ten.

Flensburg played incredibly efficiently in attack, punishing any Zagreb mistakes with goals, mostly through counter attacks or by finding gaps from the back court.

Goalkeeper Mattias Andersson was another key for the clear five-goal advantage at the break as Zagreb struggled to score against the solid-rock defence of Flensburg. Zagreb lacked the strikes of injured key players such as Luka Stepancic and Josip Sandrk before the break.

The German side, who had only taken VELUX EHF Champions League points away on one occasion so far this season, at Plock, were absolutely dominant before the half-time buzzer.

But things changed completely in the first nine minutes of the second half, when the hosts managed to level the result at 16:16.

Zagreb were much more passionate in attack and put more attention on their defence. The team understood Vujovic’s words in the dressing room and scored from all positions.

This was the wake-up call Flensburg needed – much more confident compared to the first stage of the second half and boosted by Andersson’s performance, they took control of the match again.

With a an 8:2 series taking the score to 24:18, despite some great saves from Zagreb goalkeeper Filip Ivic, Flensburg were back on track again.

When Danish right wing Lasse Svan scored his seventh goal from his eighth attempt to put the score at 27:21 four minutes before the end, Zagreb’s second home defeat of this season was confirmed.

While the sixth ranked hosts are still four points ahead of Celje and Besiktas and remain with a chance for a Last 16 spot, Flensburg took their fifth straight victory – an unexpected one according to coach Ljubomir Vranjes:

“I never expected a final result like this. If anybody told me to win by seven at Zagreb I would have shaken my head. But we were incredible in defence and goalkeeping before the break, and after being on a levelled result, we put the pedal to the metal.”


TEXT: Björn Pazen / cg
 
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