“Kind of Magic” in KielArticle
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The hosts dominated the first leg of the semi-finals and won 41:31 to take a big step against Barcelona.

“Kind of Magic” in Kiel

THW Kiel 13 victories, one defeat; FC Barcelona 12 victories, two defeats – the Champions League record of the two teams was like that of great boxers before the game. And the “Zebras” started as if they wanted to add a KO victory to the list. They played on fast speed and they ran over the Spanish handball legends. Within only ten minutes the home team scored nine goals and the stands gave standing ovation to the team.Karabatic started well, but had to leave the court with a minor injury

“I can’t remember such a good atmosphere in Kiel’s arena in the last 15 years,” THW coach Noka Serdarusic was astonished, while the Barca coach Manuela Cadenas tried to change tactics. He modified their 6:0 defence into 5:1. The left winger Christian Ugalde had to meet Stefan Lövgren in front of the other defenders.

Actually, the guests had a better period in the upcoming minutes. However, a Frenchman did not allow them to catch up significantly. Thierry Omeyer saved the shots of the Mediterranen team who were in despair: he saved 12 shots in the first half.

“We all fought well in defence,” said Vid Kavticnik, “but Thierry was simply outstanding.”

Then THW pushed the “turbo button” once again. The huge shot of Nikola Karabatic – measured 112 km/h – made it 11:7. That was a goal not to be forgotten. On the one hand, the Kiel player looked determined, on the other hand, it was also the farewell of the French. Nikola Karabatic, who sprained his left knee during the warm-up, sat down on the bench.

Omeyer showed a stunning performance against BarcelonaBig problem? Not on this Sunday. “We knew,” explained Filip Jicha, “that we all have to give 100% to compensate his loss.” The Czech player, who got the green light just before the start of the game after a ligament injury, was the Jolly Joker. He already scored five goals before halftime. Only his spin shot was saved by David Barrufet.

In the halftime break the great song from Queen “It’s a kind of magic” hit it on the head of the nail. The magic faded away only for a short time after the break. Juanin Garcia scored to come as close as 21:18.

However, when Manuel Cadenas – as in the first half – had to call an early time-out after 10 minutes, the Sparkassen Arena changed into a madhouse: 30:22! Barcelona were simply phlegmatic against a sensational THW.

“We had to realise that Kiel play the best handball in the world,” said Barca coach, Manuel Cadenas. “We did not have the recipe to keep up with them today.”

TEXT: Jan Kirschner