Szeged rise above Veszprém in the second biggest derby in Europe between both Hungarian clubs from the VELUX EHF Champions League
More than a match
The clash of Pick Szeged and MKB Veszprém KC is said to be the second biggest derby in Europe just behind Kiel-Flensburg matches. On Sunday the rivals met in Szeged and Veszprém, who had previously beaten Kiel and Madrid in the VELUX EHF Champions League, surprisingly lost by seven goals.
It is almost impossible to explain the atmosphere of this match for those who have never been at a Pick vs Veszprém game.
The arena is sold out, handball fans are more interested in this than any other match of the season, media abound with interviews, and the excitement around the locker rooms in the week leading to the match can almost be touched.
Pick player Marinko Kekezović mentioned, “this is more than a match.”
Yes, it was. And Roland Mikler, the goalkeeper of Szeged was more than a goalkeeper. His saves are chosen as the best saves of the VELUX EHF Champions League regularly, but on Sunday he was far better than ever this season.
His performance would not have been enough to win the match alone, so he said thank you to his teammates. “Maybe it is unnecessary to mention how important this match was.
“After the defeats in Champions League we really needed this fantastic match and the confident victory. For me the players in defence were very important, they played well and made my task easier.”
The Szeged defence surprised Veszprém not only because Mikler’s big day and the good defence players but all this in the absence of the injured József Czina.
Timuzsin Schuch said that they had prepared for Czina and they heard about his injury shortly before the match. “We prepared for this match but we could not find the solutions to stop Szeged, whose players could score goals from anywhere.
“If they had played this way in the Champions League they would be in a better position in their group.” Schuch added.
Pick’s coach László Skaliczki also emphasised that they had not played well on a European level this season and had been criticised. Now he is proud of the team: “It was a fantastic experience that we could overcome Veszprém with such a determined and hard playing style. “We prepared a lot for this match and the players were able to execute the tactics and enjoy the game at the same time.”
Besides Mikler, František Šulc and Jonas Larholm also showed an outstanding performance with 8 goals each.
In contrast with the concentrated and motivated Szeged, Veszprém’s defence didn’t work, they lost many balls, and could not score from fast breaks. After the match Veszprém coach Carlos Ortega sat by the dressing room and seemed sad and disappointed.
“The number of the goals conceded annoy me. Szeged was better than us on a mental level. It came to light how important is for a team to be supported by the fans. Pick was made fanatic by them,” he said at the press conference.
He was right, the audience had been incredible. Although they showed their disappointment in former player László Nagy’s transfer to Veszprém and not Szeged, they created a fantastic atmosphere.
After Attila Vadkerti dropped the ball over the head of Alilović with a tricky shot five minutes left, everybody went crazy, stood up, and applauded. Pick Szeged could not win by more than a single goal in the past few years so this made the emphatic victory even more special.
Photo: Aurél Iványi
TEXT: Forgó Nóra / cor