Gummersbach worked hard for pointsArticle
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Gummersbach beat Velenje 33:30 in a close end game.

Gummersbach worked hard for points

Hard work for VfL Gummersbach: 90 seconds before the final whistle it was clear that the Germans would win their first match in the Main Round after losing in Montpellier. The Slovenian Gorenje Velenje fought hard until the end, but Gummersbach took the points with a 33:30 (16:12).

The ending was surprisingly excitingIt was a very special match for three players: Momir Illic and Zedran Vrnic (injured) played for Velenje two seasons ago, while Drago Vukovic will join VfL in 2009.

But surprisingly Illic did not play from the beginning as Gummersbach coach, Alfred Gislasson, decided that Kenneth Klev will be in the starting seven. At the very end Illic was one of the match winners of Gummersbach with a decisive goal at 31:29.

“I’m satisfied with the victory, but not with the match,” said Gislasson afterwards. “We played too slow and did not put enough pressure on the Velenje defence. The Slovenians showed a very strong performance, but it was our mistake, that we could not decide the match earlier.”

Unlike Gislasson, Velenje coach Ivica Obrvan was quite satisfied:

“We played well, but the victory was well-deserved by Gummersbach. I’m glad, that we lost only with a three-goal difference.”

His team even had the chance to win in the final phase of the match. As Gummersbach had a five-goal lead in the 45th minute (26:21), it looked like an easy victory for the home team. But five minutes before the end Velenje came back to 28:30, especially because of the strong performance of their best scorer, Pavel Bashkin (nine goals) and winger Rok Golcar.

Gislasson took his green time-out card and changed goalkeeper from Goran Stojanovic to Nándor Fazekas. At first it seemed that Velenje would win as Ales Sirk scored to make it 29:30. But as Matjaz Mlakar received his third two-minute suspension and a red card, Gummersbach took the chance and scored twice to decide the match at 31:29.

The best VfL players were Gudjon Valur Sigurdsson with nine goals and Slovenian Roman Pungartnik with eight. Gummersbach will have a very short rest now as they will play on Wednesday a derby against Ciudad Real in the Kölnarena again.

With 2:2 points, the door of the semi-final is still open for VfL, but now they have to beat the Spanish champions on home soil. Velenje are still waiting for their first point in the Main Round after the two defeats against Ciudad Real and Gummersbach.

TEXT: Björn Pazen