12 of the 16 clubs are ready for the next stage now, while Veszprém, Portland, Chekhov and FCK Copenhagen will need a point to join them. Read what's happened over the weekend in the Champions League.
Men’s summary: Round 5
Chambery and Flensburg are the biggest winners of the round. Rhein Neckar Löwen made a draw against Zagreb, similarly to Ademar that shared points with Montpellier. Most of the questions have been answered over the weekend; only Group E remains open for the last match day.
SG Flensburg-Handewitt (with a win over Veszprém) and GOG Svendborg (even after losing in Ciudad Real) qualified.
12 of the 16 clubs are ready for the next stage now, while Veszprém, Portland, Chekhov and FCK Copenhagen will need a point to join them.
As Chambery stormed the “fortress” of Celje, everything is clear in Group A. The French club – still spotless – will start with 4 points in the main round; runner-up Celje go on without a point after losing both matches against Chambery. Hammarby secured the third place and will play on in the European Cup. Karys still have zero points on their account.
“It was absolutely great – and for us, it’s very important to go on with 4 four points,” Chambery coach Philippe Gardent said after the historic victory in Celje. “I’m very proud of my team. This was a great performance.”
The first half was completely equal with Celje leading in the first 25 minutes. The 3 000 fans created a great atmosphere. Chambery equalised at 13:13 and took the lead very close to the halftime whistle. Led by Jure Natek (all together six goals) and Joli (8 goals), Chambery went away to 21:16 (38.) and decided the match after 45 minutes at 25:18. Celje scored only five goals in these 15 minutes. The top scorer of Celje was Spiler with five goals.
17 goals of the Baverud brothers took Hammarby to the Cup Winners’ Cup. The Swedish team will surely finish on third position in the group. The Lithuanian Karys remain without a point after five matches, but at least the hosts won their first halftime this season. After the break the Swedish champions played better as Karys were short of energy. The best scorer of the home team was Svedas with 7 goals.
Everything’s clear in Group B: Ciudad were unbeatable for the Danish GOG and the title holders remain spotless with a great goal difference. Nevertheless, even GOG could celebrate, as they’re now qualified for the main round after Bosna made a draw in Doukas. As Ciudad will start the next stage with the optimal four points, GOG will go on with zero points.
The “Spanish machine”, as a Danish newspaper called Ciudad Real, ran over GOG for the second time in this season. After winning in Svendborg with a 10-goal difference, now the title holders won by 11 – and remain the most successful club in this year’s competition. In the 9th minute GOG were still leading 5:4, but after that Ciudad took the lead and increased the distance constantly to a decisive 20:13 at halftime. GOG that missed Kasper Nielsen and Snorri Gudjonsson, didn’t have any chance against the quick Ciudad attacks. The Spanish champions were away with 10 goals at 28:18 by the mid second half. In this period Rutenka and Larssen were sent off for a 2+2 minutes suspension. Jonas Källman (7 goals for Ciudad) and Petersen (8 goals for GOG) were the best scorers of this one sided game.
Doukas took their first ever point in the Champions League. Bosna played an embarrassing game in Greece – even though they can continue in the Cup Winners’ Cup. However, Bosna failed to play for the Main Round in the last round against GOG. The Greek fans have seen 18 saves from goalkeeper Georgijadis, while the top scorer of Doukas was Zivulovic with eight goals. Stevanovic scored seven for Bosna.
Everything is ready for the clash of titans: Kiel and Barcelona won their matches easily and they can now prepare for the classic game in Kiel. This encounter will decide about the points the teams take to the Main Round. The Spanish and the German are already qualified for sure. The advantage is on Kiel’s side as the Germans won in Barcelona and never before lost a match against the Catalonians on home court.
Kiel remain spotless after a well-deserved victory in FYR Macedonia. “Our defence stood strong and it was good for us that Stefan Lövgren didn’t have to play. We will need him for other matches. Christian Zeitz and Dominik Klein made a good job in the playmaker position,” Kiel’s coach Alfred Gislasson said.
His team was in lead the whole game, even if Skopje tried hard in front of frenetic supporters. Maljchev scored 6 for Metalurg, Kavticnik 9 for Kiel.
Barcelona Borges have beaten Drammen in the Palau by 38:27. Both goalkeepers, Barrufet and Losert, had a superb afternoon and they were a nightmare for the Norwegians. Iker Romero was the leader of the Spanish side with six goals. After 6:4 in the 11th minute, the resistance of Drammen disappeared. They were fighting steadily against the Spanish goalkeepers without a great success. After the halftime result of 17:11, Barca increased the gap to a decisive 30:19. The best scorers of Drammen were Andersen and Hykkerud with six goals each, just like Barca’s Romero.
By winning in Presov, Hamburg will go on to the Main Round with 4 points. HSV won all five matches so far and they will take first place of the group. The other place in the Main Round is up for FCK Kopenhagen or Presov. The Germans also have a good chance with this performance for the quarterfinals.
Whether Copenhagen or Presov will reach the Main Round, this will be decided next match day when FCK will host the Slovaks. Nota bene: the Danes won in Presov 33:32.
If Presov win with a difference of two or more goals, FCK will continue only in the Cup Winners’ Cup.
HSV were in the lead for the entire 60 minutes in Presov. Pascal Hens played his first match after his serious injury that he suffered at the Olympic Games in Beijing. After the break (17:13) HSV increased the speed of their game. The best scorers were Hans Lindbergh (HSV) and Marian Hunady (Presov) with seven goals each.
“It was a great atmosphere, but Hamburg deserved the victory. The big difference was the back court of the two teams: Hamburg had more and better alternatives,” Tatran coach Rastislav Trtik said.
“It was a hard match for us, but in the end everything was okay. We were the better team, though the beginning of the game was not so good,” HSV coach Martin Schwalb added.
It took a few minutes for FCK to get the engine running, but in the end the “Danish express” ran over the Serbian champions. The match was equal until 14:11, but after the break (17:12 for FCK) Belgrade didn’t even have a slight chance. After 40 minutes the difference was 10 goals (24:14). Especially Simon Hammer and Vukasin Rajkovic gave the Danes an easy and well-deserved victory. Hammer was the best scorer with nine goals, Milasevic scored five for Belgrade. The Serbians are still with zero points.
Even after 5 rounds everything is open in Group E. Three teams have the chance to qualify for the Main Round: Portland, Steaua and Chekhov have 6 points.
By winning both top matches against Chekhov and now taking the two points from Bucharest, the team of Pamplona have a psychological advantage. Portland are the favourites for their last match on home court against Koper. Chekhov need only one point from their last match against Steaua to reach the Main Round.
2 000 spectators in Buzau saw a high quality game with high tension until the very last minute. Steaua were leading 15:14 at the break, but Portland turned the page with a series of four goals in a row to make it 26:24 in the 53rd minute. Steaua tried everything to win this decisive game, but Portland proved to have enough experience to keep the lead until the end. With three minutes before the final whistle, Portland – without Jorgensen, Dominikovic, Malmagro and Urdiales – were in the lead with a comfortable 29:26. Steaua came closer to 28:29, but in the end the Spanish players could celebrate. The best scorers were Sania (Steaua) and Kjelling (Portland) with 8 goals.
“We were so eager to win this match, but in the end we failed,” Steaua coach Bozo Rudic said. “We knew in advance that it would be a hard match. Steaua play tough and on a high speed. But now we have our fate in our hands by beating Koper,” Chechu Villaldea, coach of Portland, said.
With a better attack, Chekhov have beaten Koper. This was the last chance of the Slovenians to continue in the European Cup, but Chekhov dominated the match from the first to the last minute.
Flensburg are through to the Main Round and in any case will be number one of their group. The Germans have the better results from the direct encounters against Veszprém and Haukar. In case the Icelandic team beat Veszprém on Saturday and qualify for the Main Round, Flensburg can go on with 4 points. In the other case – the Hungarians join the SG – both teams will go on with 2 points each.
After losing with one goal in Hungary, Flensburg were eager to beat Veszprém. However, the match was mostly equal, the lead changed hands very often. Now Flensburg are really enthusiastic before the Main Round draw: “If you beat Veszprém, you can beat any team in the Champions League,” coach Kent-Harry Andersson said after the 32:29.
The game was a high level one. Flensburg were leading 11:6, before Veszprém equalised at half-time (15:15) and took the lead at 19:17.
Due to a series of 5:0 goals, Flensburg took control again. “We showed a great moral in this decisive stage of the match,” Andersson said.
His team was in danger again as the Hungarians came closer, but goalkeeper Dan Beutler saved a 7-m shot of Marko Vujin in the 47th minute at 26:23 and the goals of Muratovic and Knudsen made it 28:23.
As Beutler won the duel of the two top goalkeepers against Dejan Peric, the Germans celebrated an important victory. Flensburg will finish on top of the group. The best scorers were Lars Christiansen (Flensburg, 10 goals) and Marko Vujin (Veszprém, 7).
It took five matches for the Ukrainian Zaporozhye to take their first points, but this was a very clear victory. Haukar played their worst match of the season. The Icelandic champions only scored eight goals in first half and seven in the second. The best scorer of Haukar was Brynjarsson with three goals… By beating Flensburg in the last round, Zaporozhye could still reach the European Cup.
Two draws in Round 5: Ademar Leon will win the group after taking a point from Montpellier. The Spanish team will go on to the Main Round with 3 points and the French champions are qualified with one point. For Zürich, the 28:28 in Bregenz was enough to qualify for the Cup Winners’ Cup.
As goalkeeper Karaboue made some impressive saves, Montpellier could hope for the victory after first half. The French team were even leading by seven goals at one point. To win the group, Montpellier had to win by six goals, but at halftime the distance was reduced to only three goals. Due to suspensions in Montpellier, Leon came closer and equalised in the end.
Zürich continue in the European Cup, Bregenz is eliminated. Nevertheless, the Austrians could be satisfied with taking their first point of this season after a tense game. The Austrians were leading nearly the whole time, mostly with a difference of four goals. In the final stage Zürich equalised. Five seconds before the final whistle Markus Hüsser scored to make it 28:28.
“It’s bitter that we failed to win again,” Bregenz goalkeeper Marinivic said. In his team Ogad was the top scorer with eight goals, Behrends and Schmid hit the net six times each for Zürich. The Swiss player Stranowsky received an early red card due to a foul after 18 minutes.
Thanks to the last second goal of Karol Bielecki, Löwen stay unbeaten in their first ever CL season. Zagreb were leading 56 minutes of the match and even scored to make it 27:26 with only 13 seconds the end, but the teams shared the points. The best scorers were Kiril Lazarov (7 for Zagreb) and Sergej Harbok (six for Löwen). The positions in Group H will be decided in the last round. As both teams made two draws against each other, the complete goal difference will decide.
Zagreb are leading with 2 goals over Löwen, but the Germans have a somewhat easier match next weekend in Plock as Zagreb will meet Szeged on home court.
By winning against the still pointless team of Plock, Szeged are qualified for the Cup Winners’ Cup and remain in the international competition. In a one-sided match Szeged didn’t leave any doubt and could celebrate their first home victory this season after losing against Zagreb and Löwen. Szeged decided the match very early and were in a 8:2 lead within 13 minutes. The best Hungarian scorer was Ghionnea with seven goals, Wuster scored four for Plock.
TEXT: Björn Pazen
|Content Copyright by the European Handball Federation and EHF Marketing (c) 1994-2019|