Pure adrenalineArticle
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The victory of Nürnberg over Krim Ljubljana was a surprise to many including coach Müller. The Germans are just one step from the Main Round.

Pure adrenaline

Nürnberg win second match against Krim Ljubljana – and have best chances to reach the Main Round.

“We celebrated a sensational result in Ljubljana, but I don’t think we have the power and the strength to win again. We don’t have a chance even when we play at home,” said Herbert Müller, coach of German women’s champion 1. FC Nürnberg. The coach did not have the highest hopes before the return game against the two-time Champions League winners from Slovenia. However, after 60 minutes of tension, he was celebrating again.

“This is the highlight of the club’s international history,” Müller was shouting with nearly no voice after the 26:24 (15:13) against Krim. It was a victory that opened the gates of the Maind Round. It was Nürnberg’s second sensational victory after the 31:30 in Ljubljana.

The teams played another spectacular gameAnd this victory was really a historic one for German women’s handball: never before won a German team more than one match in the group phase of the Champions League. Nürnberg still have two matches to play.

After Round 4 it’s obvious that Russian champions, Zvezda Zvenigorod, are through to the main round with seven points after a victory in Sävehof. Nürnberg now have the best chances to reach this objective – something nobody would have thought in Bavaria. FCN are standing with five points, Krim and Sävehof only with two.

Supported very loudly by the Nürnberg football fans, the Müller team played a great performance in the sold out hall. The mixture of power, energy and the never ending motivation was the key to the victory.

The new Krim coach, Bojan Cotar, tried everything to win this important match. He changed a lot in the back court (Freser and Derepasko as playmakers) and in the goal (Alizar, who was injured on her right hand, substituted Stefanisin).

But it was not enough for the favourites, especially as Nürnberg’s goalkeeper made a lot of great and important saves. In fact, Jana Krause can still hope for a place in the German national team for the World Championship in France.

“This match was adrenaline, pure adrenalin,” said Müller after the final whistle.

Close match, late decision

His team lost one point at home in the Bundesliga against Frankfurt/Oder only three days before this game and Ljubljana were leading 5:2 early in the game.

Nürnberg did not take their chances at the beginning, but after some loud words of Müller from the bench, his team woke up taking back a 7:5 lead.

The 10 goals of Slovakian international Miriam Simakova – together with Ania Rösler and Krause – was key to this success.

After the 15:13 half time result Ljubljana tried everything and had their best period, but goalkeeper Krause (20) completely locked her goal especially when Krim equalised several times (at 20:20 and 22:22).

The tension rose in the last minutes as Krim scored the 23:24 (57th min). The goals of Simakova and Kerstin Wohlbold were decisive at 26:23. The best scorer of Ljubljana was Oxana Iatsenko with six goals – not enough to beat a sensational Nürnberg on their way to the eight best teams of the World.

“Unbelievable, this is totally unbelievable,” said Müller before leaving for the locker room. “I have to sleep once to believe that it really happened.”

TEXT: Björn Pazen