Good chances despite defeatArticle
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Nürnberg lose 29:35 in Zvezda, but Main Round is still within reach.

Good chances despite defeat

A defeat that was not too painful: as Russian champion Zvezda Zvenigorod are easily through to the Main Round of the Champions League after a 35:29 (18:13), the German Nürnberg still have the best chances to reach the next round. Even a draw would be enough next Saturday at home against Sävehof to make a sensational result and qualify for the Main Round.

The match was equal until 11:11The looks after the defeat in Chekhov on Friday evening were not very unhappy as Nürnberg showed a good performance. On Saturday the mood changed completely after Krim and Sävehof (both now with three points on the table) made a draw. It means that the door for Nürnberg (5 points)is wide open.

But there’s one point that leaves Nürnberg coach, Herbert Müller, less satisfied: both goalkeepers, Jana Krause and Marianna Gubova, injured at the match in Russia and nobody knows this time, how long they will be missing.

After the sensational 27:27 draw in the first match in Nürnberg, the Germans did not have high hopes to prevail in the cold Russian winter.

Russian favourites

“We only have a chance, if Christmas and New Years Day come together on one day,” said coach Herbert Müller before the match against the team with eight players of the Russian world champion team. Zvezda has just been awarded the Russian female team of the year.

Nürnberg started in Chekhov with respect but no fear. Until 11:11 the 2,000 spectators saw a close match as the Nürnberg defence were well prepared. But after this the high-class match was decided by the Russians: they scored seven consecutive goals and they shocked Nürnberg that looked a little asleep in this phase.

But even after the 18:13 halftime score for Zvezda, the Germans fought hard and demonstrated good moral. Ania Rösler, who is the topscorer normally, did not have her best day. On the contrary, the experienced Simone Luber, who arrived to the team from Nürnberg’s second team before the start of the season, made a good match.

As the Russians played highly concentrated also in the second half, they were leading constantly with five to seven goals and Nürnberg missed too many chances to come closer. Especially Elena Polenova (nine goals) and Jekaterina Andrushina (eight goals) showed the Germans how to score.

The best Nürnberg scorer was Miriam Simakova with seven goals. In the end FCN’s coach Herbert Müller was not disappointed:

“We dominated at the beginning, but in the last minutes of the first half we lost the match due to substitutions and missed chances. But after all we showed a good performance. I hope we will be able to win the decisive match against Sävehof.” 

TEXT: Björn Pazen