Bundesliga battles thrill crowds
THW Kiel secured their 46th consecutive Bundesliga win when they beat HSV Hamburg 33:30 last weekend, while SG Flensburg-Handewitt when they overcame previously unbeaten Füchse Berlin in emphatic style, 29:18 as all four German clubs from the VELUX EHF Champions League were involved in direct matches.
In Round 5 of the European premier club competition Füchse will face Croatia Osiguranje Zagreb (Thursday, 15 November) in Group D, defending champions from Kiel will travel to Celje (Saturday, 17 November) in Group B and in all-German clash of Group A Hamburg will play host to Flensburg (Sunday, 18 November).
In the Kiel vs Hamburg clash, just ten minutes from the end the Hanseatic side led by five goals, but Kiel hit back and Hamburg were left empty-handed after a strong performance.
"For the first 30 minutes, HSV were the better team," said THW coach Alfred Gislason. "But in the end, the better breadth of our squad and the character of the team made the difference."
HSV coach Martin Schwalb was bitterly disappointed at the final whistle. But his despondency was mixed with a pinch of pride. "The attitude and fighting spirit of my team in this match was world class," said the HSV coach. "There are only few teams in the world who can make big problems for Kiel for 45 minutes."
HSV sent almost every player they had onto the court. When Matthias Flohr received a red card in the second half Blazenko Lacković came into the defence, despite having a broken finger.
In the second half Hamburg led most of the time, and in the 50th minute the score was 28:23. Alfred Gislason asked for a time out, and Hamburg seemed very confident of victory.
"We wanted to score a couple of quick goals, because that would change the pressure onto the other side," Thierry Omeyer revealed later. " Hamburg already had victory at their fingertips."
But HSV produced numerous technical errors, and in the THW defence Filip Jícha often got the ball and started the next counterattack. "That crazy Czech," marveled teammate Dominik Klein. "I don’t know where he got his last reserves of strength – incredible!" Kiel launched seven counterattacks in the last ten minutes.
Also on Sunday, SG Flensburg-Handewitt crowned a great weekend for handball in German state of Schleswig-Holstein. Flensburg unexpectedly beat previously undefeated Füchse Berlin with a clear 29:18 (13:11) victory, thanks largely to a world-class performance in defence.
"Something like this doesn’t happen every day," SG coach Ljubomir Vranjes said. “The defence was great, I can´t say anything bad about them."
However, there was great disillusion among the Foxes. The defeat brought back memories of the 2007/08 season when they were struggling in the bottom half of the table.
“The first 15 minutes after the break did nothing to help us," said Foxes coach Dagur Sigurdsson. "Flensburg had a really good defence and goalkeeper performance, and we couldn’t do anything."
Flensburg ran numerous counter attacks and caused great excitement among the 5,717 spectators. And behind the strong defence goalkeeper Mattias Andersson stopped 27 throws from Berlin.
TEXT: Jan Kirschner / cor