Kiel vs Ciudad Real: the last battle for the trophyArticle
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Only 60 minutes – only one hour of playing time – and we will see who can lift the coveted Champions League trophy.

Kiel vs Ciudad Real: the last battle for the trophy

THW Kiel might be on the European take the throne again. After winning the first leg of the Champions League final away by 29:27, the title holder need only one step to reach their objective, the second CL title in a row.

However, players, coach and manager are aware that they should not to think about the second leg as “easy” match.

“The result is good, but also dangerous,” said left winger Dominik Klein before the second leg in Kiel, where the Sparkassen Arena will be sold out again.

“We will not play again as we did at home,” warns Ciudad coach, Talant Dujshebaev. But unlike his club, Kiel do not have injury problems (as they had last season in the finals).

As Klein and Karabatic will be able to play, coach Noka Serdarusic can send his best team on court. On the Ciudad Real side it is still not sure whether David Davis (knee injury) and Siarhei Rutenka (shoulder injury) would be fit. Also the pivot Rolando Urios and right back Petar Metlicic have injuries.

Kiel would pay special attention to line player Urios if he could play:

“If Urios plays well, Ciudad are much better,” said Julio Fis, former player of both clubs.

“We have to wait and see who will play,” said THW captain, Stefan Lövgren, “but if we will have a solid defence as in Spain, we will have a great chance to raise the trophy again”.

As manager Uwe Schwenker says, there are “no preparations for the party” yet. The manager doesn’t think that they won the trophy.

“We have won one match, and if Ciudad Real win in Kiel, we don’t deserve the title,” Nikola Karabatic warned his teammates.

Ciudad Real lost at home in the CL after more than two years. Their hopes are still alive:

“It’s halftime before the second leg. We lost the first half, but still can win the match,” said left handed Olafur Stefansson before travelling to Kiel.

Much will depend on the goalkeepers: as Ciudad’s Árpád Sterbik played a great match again in Spain, Thierry Omeyer showed some great and decisive saves in the second half.

“It took some time, until he warmed up, but then he was great,” said THW coach Noka Serdarusic, who also is cautious, not enthusiastic:

“We have to play with big concentration. If we do so, we will have the chance to win also the second match.”

Last season Kiel made a draw in the first match in Flensburg and then won the second at home by two goals.

A brief look at statistics: Kiel know that Ciudad Real are dangerous away – even in Germany. The balance of this season’s matches against German teams in Germany is 2:1. After winning in Flensburg in the group phase easily, Ciudad were lucky to win in Gummersbach with a goal. In the semi-finals they lost in Hamburg by six goals and were close to be knocked out.

“We don’t look at the statistics and we don’t look at the first match any more. The final starts again from nil-nil and we want to win,” Lövgren says.

Losing the match with one goal would be enough for the title, but Kiel will surely play to win as they always do.

TEXT: Björn Pazen