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28.05.2018, 14:40
Five reasons that make the VELUX EHF FINAL4 memorable
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TALKING POINTS: It is all over: Montpellier HB have won the VELUX EHF Champions League after a magnificent final weekend in Cologne. Let’s look back at the main topics

»EHF CL Channel »2017-18 Men's CL
»Final Four
»
 

Five reasons that make the VELUX EHF FINAL4 memorable

The 2017/18 season of the VELUX EHF Champions League has come to an end after a stunning FINAL4 weekend in Cologne. There were both expected scenarios and many unexpected, but Montpellier HB have become the deserved champions.

The fiesta in Cologne underlined the beauty of sports on so many levels. Let’s dip our toes in some of the magic that the VELUX EHF FINAL4 has brought.

Don’t take anything for granted

The two finalists, Montpellier HB and HBC Nantes, were both debutants in Cologne this weekend, showing the handball world that you can never take anything for granted in this beautiful sport.

It would have been easy to put the money against them before the semi-finals. Nantes had never been part of the VELUX EHF FINAL4 before, and Montpellier became the first team ever from Groups C/D to go all the way to Cologne.

It made their duel in the final even more charming.

There is a first time for everything

This VELUX EHF FINAL4 weekend showed on many levels that the event is not reserved for the most successful teams in history. There was certainly room for something new in Cologne, which is always charming in the world of sport.

The final was the first one between two French sides. If things would have developed differently there would have been another first, as HBC Nantes came close to their first ever EHF Champions League title. But instead, Patrice Canayer remained the only French coach to win the competition.

Within the squad of Montpellier HB, several players made history as the first Champions League winners from their country: Nikola Portner (Switzerland), Diego Simonet (Argentina), Jonas Truchanovicius (Lithuania) and Mohamed Ashem Mamdouh (Egypt).

Montpellier are also the first French team to win the competition since… yes, Montpellier did it in the 2002/03 season. They are still the only French team to be crowned champions, and are now the only team in history going all the way coming from Groups C/D.

The champions curse continues

The curse continues and is something that teams will continue to seek to change – perhaps for years to come. There is still no team that have successfully defended their trophy at the VELUX EHF FINAL4.

RK Vardar are the only team since Kiel in 2013 to even get the chance to defend the title as it has somehow been rather difficult for reigning champions to even reach the VELUX EHF FINAL4 in the next season.

It was Diego Simonet who made sure to extend the curse, and now it will be Montpellier HB that will have a shot at breaking it.

The last chance for a perfect goodbye

As the VELUX EHF FINAL4 marks the end of the season on the biggest stage in European club handball, every year it is also the last chance for many players to go for gold as their careers come to the end.

Among them this weekend were Nantes left wing Dominik Klein and PSG left back Daniel Narcisse. Although he did not get to say goodbye as a champion with PSG, Narcisse got the bronze medal around his neck which will hopefully be some sort of a consolation after a great career.

"I can't complain about my career, it was an amazing time and not everyone has the chance to win so many titles and play in so many amazing teams. I'm incredibly thankful and lucky,” Narcisse said after his last game.

The fans – the amazing fans

An event like the VELUX EHF FINAL4 would not be anywhere close to what it is without the thousands of handball fans coming all over to unite in Cologne. This weekend was no different.

Words can try to describe the atmosphere, but these glimpses from social media simply frame it so much better.

This is the true beauty of sports.
 

 

 


TEXT: Andri Yrkill Valsson / ew
 
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