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04.05.2016, 21:40
Bella and Mini are Mrs and Mr April
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NEWS REPORT: Isabelle Gullden and Dominik Klein have been awarded as EHF Players of the Month after leading their clubs Bucuresti and Kiel to the EHF FINAL4 events.
 

Bella and Mini are Mrs and Mr April

An experienced left wing, nicknamed Mini, and a sharp-shooting playmaker, nicknamed Bella, are the EHF Players of April - and both have been awarded for leading their clubs from the quarter-finals to the respective EHF FINAL4 tournaments.

Swedish Isabelle Gullden was one of the heroes when EHF Champions League debutant CSM Bucuresti ended the winning streak of Rostov-Don to eliminate the previously unbeaten Russian champions from the race for the Women’s EHF FINAL4. German Dominik Klein paved THW Kiel’s way to Cologne with 14 goals in two quarter-final legs against FC Barcelona Lassa.

April was the decisive month for the tickets to the final tournaments of both the men’s and women's European top flight and the Men’s EHF Cup as well as to the finals of the remaining European Cup competitions. For their performances in this crucial month, Gullden and Klein have impressed the panel of EHF journalists from all over Europe at most.

The Swede, who also has the MVP award of the EHF EURO 2014 under her belt, came on top of a high-ranked shortlist of nominees, which  included three other players, she will meet this weekend at the Women’s EHF FINAL4 in Budapest: Heidi Loke (Györi Audi ETO KC/Norway), Cristina Neagu (Buducnost/Romania) and her upcoming semi-final opponent Amandine Leynaud (HC Vardar/France). In addition, Rostov-Don's Russian striker Ekaterina Ilina was nominated.

Having 89 goals on her tally so far, Gullden still can become the EHF Champions League top scorer this season, as both players who are ahead of her, have not qualified for Budapest: Ilina (97 goals) and Nora Mork (Larvik/93 goals).

"April has been a very good month for me both with CSM and with the Sweden’s national team by qualifying for the Olympic Games. The games against Rostov were tough and I am really glad that we pulled off the surprise," Gullden says, but adds despite her crucial personal performances: "I never expected to receive this award. This is a big honour for me."

Right before the Women’s EHF FINAL4 the newest award is a boost for her confidence: "I want May to be even better, I am like a child waiting for a present before the semi-final. It would be amazing to finish the season on a high, so I really hope to do well in Budapest."

Budapest for Gullden is Cologne for Klein, but in contrast to Bella, Mini is there for the sixth time. Klein is the second German to be awarded as EHF Player of the Month after goalkeeper and EHF EURO hero Andreas Wolff in January.

Klein, married to another Isabel (German international), topped the ranking ahead of his THW Kiel teammate Niklas Landin (Denmark), his former German national teammate Holger Glandorf (SG Flensburg-Handewitt) and two players he and Kiel will face in the VELUX EHF Champions League Semi-final in Cologne, Veszprém’s Momir Ilic and Mirko Alilovic.

To receive this award is even more impressive for the 2007 World Champion, as he was ruled out for nearly eight months after he tore his cruciate ligament in a league match in March 2015.

On 6 December, Klein had his international comeback. And right in this match he became Kiel’s hero, scoring the buzzer-beating 25:24 winning goal against MVM Veszprém - maybe a good omen for the VELUX EHF FINAL4 clash.

But then in the first leg against Barcelona Klein had his true highlight so far, scoring nine goals from eleven attempts and being the key player of the never expected 29:24 win against the defending champions, the base for their sixth ticket to Cologne.

 

 

.@33dominik33 and @thwkiel.handball reach #ehffinal4 and they are celebrating with Kiel fans in Palau Blaugrana

Ein von EHF Champions League (@ehfcl) gepostetes Video am

After ten highly successful years (including three Champions League trophies), those matches at the VELUX EHF FINAL4 will be his international farewell to Kiel, as Klein will transfer to French side HBC Nantes next season.

The 32-year-old left wing was highly surprised about this EHF award: "I am absolutely happy that I can give back that much to my team, my club and to all THW fans in my last weeks at Kiel. Currently, I enjoy every great and successful moment. Although the way goes on for me personally, my current motto until the end of May is only #HelloCologne!"


TEXT: EHF, Björn Pazen, Adrian Costeiu / es
 
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