Aggefors inspires Aalborg to victory against Flensburg
After beating SG Flensburg-Handewitt twice in the VELUX EHF Champions League 2019/20 group phase, Aalborg Håndbold once again overcame their German rivals (26:21) on Thursday evening in the first leg of their EHF Champions League Men quarter-final.
Goalkeeper Mikael Aggefors’ 16 saves and eight goals each from Swedish compatriots Lukas Sandell and Felix Claar have left the door open for Aalborg to become the first Danish EHF FINAL4 participants since AG Kobenhavn in 2012.
QUARTER-FINAL FIRST LEG
Aalborg Håndbold (DEN) vs SG Flensburg-Handewitt (GER) 26:21 (13:10)
- boosted by the saves of goalkeeper Mikael Aggefors, an outstanding mobile defence and Lukas Sandell's seven goals from seven attempts in the first half, Aalborg were in full control before the break
- Flensburg had an extremely low scoring percentage – 38 per cent – in the first 30 minutes, and only Benjamin Buric's total of 10 saves prevented the 2013/14 EHF Champions League winners from more than a 13:10 deficit
- SG coach Maik Machulla found the right words in the dressing room at half-time. Flensburg’s defence, still supported by Buric, put enormous pressure on Aalborg's attack at the beginning of the second half
- Aalborg's nine-minute spell without a goal allowed Flensburg to enjoy a 3:0 run and level the score for the first time at 14:14, although the visitors also missed some chances to take the lead
- Aalborg used the high-risk strategy of an extra attacking player on many occasions, but Flensburg struggled to convert their long-range shots into the empty goal after turnovers
- now led by Felix Claar, the hosts forged ahead to 24:20 for their first four-goal lead since their 9:5 advantage in the first half, as Flensburg only scored twice in the closing stages
Swedish players in focus
On both sides, Swedish players made an imprint on this intense battle: Aalborg goalkeeper Mikael Aggefors finished with an incredible 45 per cent save efficiency, while Lukas Sandell and Felix Claar were the Danish side's top scorers with eight goals each.
Flensburg centre back Jim Gottfridsson had problems in the first half, but he was on fire after the break, scoring five times, while left wing Hampus Wanne netted four times.
We had a successful start in the game. We know Flensburg is one of the best teams in the world and we were good today in the one on one and we had a fantastic defence. Only 21 goals against us – I think that was the key for us to win today.
We had a good comeback in the second half. We missed a lot of free shots in a very important period of the match and we defended very well against seven against six and then we had the chance to change the game, but we never took it, so now we are very disappointed.