Veszprém defeat defending champions
One thriller, three clear victories: This is the balance of the second part of Round 4 of the VELUX EHF Champions League. In their lion’s den MKB Veszprém were able to defeat defending champions THW Kiel thanks to László Nagy and Nándor Fazekas.
Besides, Constanta (against Celje) and Minsk (against Szeged) took their each first victories, bringing both back on track for the Last 16. Montpellier remain without a win after losing at Chekhovskie Medvedi.
Chekhovskie Medvedi (RUS) vs. Montpellier Agglomération HB (FRA) 35:29 (19:15)
The Russian champions remain with a clear spot on home ground, the French champions remain without a victory despite ten goals of top scorer William Accambray. Thanks to their second win in this season, Chekhovskie Medvedi are still hunter number one of the German duo Flensburg and Hamburg, while Montpellier are still on the bottom line with only one point.
Without their top stars, Montpellier was chanceless, while Medvedi showed that they had recovered from the clear defeat at Flensburg. Only the initial stage was equal, the the Russians increased the distance minute by minute to four goals at the break and pre-decided the match latest in the middle of the second half thanks to their individual and physical advantages and the more rotating alternatives. Best scorer for the Russians was Sergiy Shelmenko.
HCM Constanta (ROU) vs. Celje Pivovarna Laško (SLO) 22:17 (10:5)
Constanta are back in the race for the Last 16 spot: Thanks to their first victory the Romanian champions are equal in points with their Thursday’s opponent and additionally Atlético Madrid after four rounds of the VELUX EHF Champions League.
On the other hand Celje showed one of their weakest performances in the previous years befor ethe break, scoring only five goals in 60 minutes and were not able to catch-up anymore.
After the first half poor of goals both teams improved after the break, but the lowest margin Celje was able to reach were three goals at 15:12. Then Constanta increased the gap again and were never endangered until the final whistle. Clear match winner for the host was goalkeeper Mihail Popescu, who saved 20 (!) shots.
MKB Veszprém (HUN) vs. THW Kiel (GER) 31:30 (14:15)
What a thriller in Veszprém: The top match had been decided only by the final buzzer after a nail-biting fight – and MKB Veszprém are the first team to defeat defending champions THW Kiel and top the table with a clear record of eight points ahead of the brave fighting THW (6 points).
Men of the match were nine times top scorer László Nagy and MKB goalkeeper Nándor Fazekas, who shut down the shop after the break in an extra-ordinary atmosphere.
A match like a final with highest quality of two top teams, world class actions and a brilliant atmosphere, and the announcer nearly going crazy – the top clash of Group B was expected to be a highlight, but in the end this match fulfilled much more than the expectations.
And “home-comer” Nagy was in the focus again. Only four days after his ten goals gala at Atlético Madrid he was the hub for Veszprem, all decisive actions were initiated or finished by the left handed world star.
Pushed by the crazy spectators the Hungarians had a brilliant start, forcing THW coach Alfred Gislason to take an early time-out in minute 15, when his team were below by 6:9. And the Icelandic found the right words to re-install the system.
Thanks to the strikes of the strong wing players Guðjón Valur Sigurðsson (Kiel top scorer with eight goals) and Christian Sprenger the defending champions took the control, while the Veszprém defence did not that strong as in the starting period. By his fifth goal Sprenger equalised at 12:12 after Nagy had scored a spectacular Kempa goal to 11:9. And nearly with the halftime buzzer, Sigurðsson secured the first ever THW lead at 15:14.
But Nagy stroke back, was a perfect leader, scored twice to bring his team on track again. Veszprém nearly did not give this lead from their hands until the end. The most decisive factor for this performance was the change of the goalkeeper: When Nándor Fazekas replaced the strong Mirko Alilović, the arena went crazy. And by every save he snatched the self-assurance of the THW shooters, gaining the confidence of his team, which scored four straight goals from 23:25 to 27:25.
In attack Veszprem now had the same efficiency than at the start. Eight minutes before the end it was 27:25, four minutes before the end Marco Oneto scored the 30:28 – and when Kiel’s Niklas Ekberg failed by a penalty shot against Fazekas and Iman Jamali Moorchegani netted for 31:28 Veszprém seemed to be on the winner’s way.
But the defending champion did not surrender and fought back: 80 seconds before the end a hammer of Christian Zeitz meant new hopes for Kiel at 30:31. With 30 seconds on the clock, MKB coach Carlos Ortega took his time-out right when his team was close to score. In the next attack Nagy failed for the first time in 59:35 minutes against goalkeeper Thierry Omeyer, but the Hungarians remained in ball possession.
Nagy needed to throw as his team were close to passive play, missed the goal – time-out for Kiel, but only two seconds remaining on the clock. Final pass Omeyer, but too long for Sigurðsson. Final buzzer, big celebrations on the host’s side, first defeat for the defending champions.
Dinamo Minsk (BLR) vs. Pick Szeged (HUN) 29:24 (17:10)
For the first time in this season, Dinamo Minsk were able to preserve their top form until the end, for the first time in this season the Belarussians did not give the lead from their hands – so for the first time in this season Dinamo left the court as the winning team.
Thanks to the clear victory Minsk (now 3 points) overtook Szeged in the ranking – in a well-deserved and dominant manner.
Thanks to their brilliant goalkeeper Vadim Bogdanov Minsk took control of the game very early and extended the gap from 9:6 and 14:9 to the halftime result of 17:10.
After the break Dinamo even forged ahead to 19:11, before Szeged improved, backed by the saves of goalkeeper Róbert Mikler, and reduced the margin to only 20:23.
But latest then the big time of Montenegrin Vaško Ševaljević had started – his overall nine goals paved the way to the first victory, as Szeged never were able to stop the shooter.
Photo: Anikó Kovács
TEXT: Björn Pazen