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18.11.2017, 20:16
Vardar tame the lions to extend their winning streak
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GROUP A REVIEW: After the 30:26 win against the German champions in the Match of the Week, Skopje consolidate their position on the top of Group A.
 

Vardar tame the lions to extend their winning streak

Vardar have left their main competitors in the dust.

After beating Barcelona a few weeks ago, they have now ended Rhein Neckar Löwen's unbeaten streak. They currently sit on top of the Group A table, four points ahead of the German champions.

  • Vardar are now unbeaten in their last 13 Champions League matches.
  • Vuko Borozan (7) and Ivan Cupic (6) were top-scorers for Vardar.
  • Schmid and Baena score five each for Löwen

Group A:

MATCH OF THE WEEK: HC Vardar (MKD) vs Rhein-Neckar Löwen (GER) 30:26 (17:13)

Both sides were running at full speed in the first half, but Vardar clearly were more efficient in attack and stronger in defence. Löwen coach Nikolaj Jacobsen took two time-outs in the first 20 minutes, but this did little to stop their down-swing.

Boosted by a strong performance from sharpshooting left back Vuko Borozan and their rock-solid defensive wall, the defending champions were in full control of the match in the first half.

Their efforts to stop Löwen mastermind Andy Schmid was very valuable, and the visitors clearly lacked the creativity of the Swiss centre back.

The fans in the fully packed arena went crazy when the hosts extended the gap to seven goals for the first time, to make it 15:8 midway through the first half.

But in the remaining time up to the break, Löwen managed to reduce the gap to four again.

Even as Schmid could add more spice to the match in the second half, Vardar did not have any problems keeping full control.

Thanks to penalty goals from former Löwen player Ivan Cupic, and the saves of goalkeeper Arpad Sterbik, the distance was kept between five and seven goals.

Macedonian Löwen player Filip Taleski did not have his best return to Skopje, as after he made a number of mistakes, he had to return to the bench.

On both sides, the goalkeepers were in focus. Andreas Palicka was the reason why Löwen managed to get closer to the hosts when they made it 24:28.

On the other side, Arpad Sterbik decided the match with three brilliant saves to secure their 30:24 lead three minutes before the end.

When the fans started singing “Auf Wiedersehen” (German for goodbye), the unbeaten series of Löwen had come to an end, while the defending champions are unbeaten in international competition (Champions League and SEHA Liga) in 26 matches.

Vardar left back Joan Canellas believed it was their strongest performance of the season:

"This was our best match in this season, especially in defence. We were well-prepared, Löwen tried everything, but we were too strong.

The result could even have been clearer, but in the last minute Andreas Palicka saved brilliantly. This was an important step to finish on top of the group, which is our primary goal."


TEXT: Björn Pazen/kc
 
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