MATCH REPORT: After trailing by as much as six goals in the first half, Göppingen turned things around to beat Chambéry
Incredible turnaround sees Göppingen into the EHF Cup Final
After troubles in the first half and trailing by five at half-time, German side Frisch Auf Göppingen turned things around and managed to qualify for the EHF Cup Final with a 28:25 win.
"I don't know if this is the most dramatic game I've ever played," explained the smiling Michael Kraus after the game, "but it's one of the most. Now we're here, we want to win the trophy tomorrow."
Men's EHF Cup Finals, semi-final
Both sides arrived in Nantes with two of the best defences of the EHF Cup and Chambéry literally erected a wall before their goalkeeper in the first half which helped them take the lead in this semi-final.
While Primoz Prost was helpless in the German goal when shot at by Damir Bicanic and Marko Panic, Yann Genty only had to bend and grab the balls as they were swiftly thrown at him.
In the first half, Zarko Sesum, Lars Kaufmann and Adrian Pfahl all took turns but none managed to score. As a consequence, after fifteen minutes, Chambéry were already ahead by three (7:4). A time-out by Magnus Andersson did not help things as Genty began his one-man show.
Seven saves from him in the last fifteen minutes of the first half and a leaky German defence saw the score increase gradually. A 3:0 run helped the French side to go back to the dressing room with a five-goal advantage of 14:9.
But just as Chambéry's defence was unbreakable in the first half, Göppingen decided it was time to match them and came back from the dressing room with completely different intentions.
With Peter Tatai between the posts instead of Primoz Prost and a more aggressive formation, the Germans quickly turned things around. After only ten minutes, the two teams were level at 17:17.
"I think that they came back on the court better but that we gave them the lead too easily," explained goalkeeper Yann Genty afterwards.
"Once we gave them their confidence back and that in the meantime we lost ours, which was it.”
And for the French it was all downhill from there as lost balls gave Marcel Schiller the opportunity to use fast breaks to widen the gap. No matter which players Ivica Obrvan used, the result was the same.
Long periods of defence gave the impression that the momentum was changing side, and if it didn't show on the scoreboard at first, everything became clear in the last ten minutes.
From 22:22 in the 50th minute, the score turned to 28:23 eight minutes later. Only Timothey N'Guessan, on rare occasions, was able to score but that was not enough and Göppingen went on to win 28:25 and book a place in the final against Nantes.
"When we came back on our court, we knew we couldn't be any worse than we'd been in the first half," explains Kevynn Nyokas, who played his first game for more than a year today.
“It's like a fairytale for me, but I want to carry it on by winning tomorrow.”
TEXT: Kevin Domas / cor
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