Better to lose the first?Article
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Why Ciudad Real made their dream come true and why Kiel failed to make the final step? Read the analysis of Björn Pazen on the CL second leg.

Better to lose the first?

Players: While Kiel had their complete squad at disposal, Ciudad Real had to replace many key players: Rutenka, Davis, Metlicic and Urios could not play due to injuries. For Ciudad it was similar situation to Kiel’s last season ending when Lövgren, Ahlm and many others could not play – still Kiel won.


The fans gave their best in the finalThe atmosphere in the sold-out hall was indescribable, which is normally a decisive advantage for THW Kiel. The fans were united behind the team. However, they arrived to celebrate, hardly anyone expected Kiel to lose. This wasn’t even foreseen at halftime when they were two goals behind. Ciudad Real kept cool in the hot atmosphere and this was key to the success.


The goalkeepers were the best players of both sides, nevertheless Ciudad Real prevailed in this respect. “We could not win against Árpád Sterbik,” said Kiel’s right back, Kim Andersson, after the match. This is true. It was a real great one-man show by the Ciudad goalkeeper who made 24 saves against Kiel. On the other side, Thierry Omeyer made it possible for Kiel to stay in the game until the end.


Even as David Davis could not play due to an injury, Ciudad played their 5:1 defence very well – with a special focus on Nikola Karabatic. They formed a brick wall, especially Morros and Dinart. Most of the balls that got through were blocked by Sterbik. In the first half the Ciudad defence were only weak when pivot Marcus Ahlm found space. The Kiel defence had too many “holes”, especially on the left side where Olafur Stefansson hit the net quite often. But in the middle they were also strong, though a bit slower than usual.


Kiel failed to make the stepKiel lost the match in attack. They made too many technical mistakes punished by Ciudad’s counter attacks (mostly by Jonas Kallmann). Kiel didn’t have enough inspiration and ideas to break the Ciudad wall. Kim Andersson and Filip Jicha didn’t play their best match ever, Karabatic was stopped and only Ahlm and Kavticnik did a “normal” job. The latter was cold as ice from the 7-m line. On the other side Ciudad Real were able to replace very important players such as Metlicic or Rutenka. Ales Pajovic, who normally plays only in defence, supported Entrerrios. Stefansson had a great match on the right back position. The left winger Kallmann played one of his best matches ever in the Ciudad shirt. Even if the game was often interrupted and no smooth game was played, individual class and counter attacks decided. Kiel could not play their quick game.


Kiel lost the second leg – not because of their hands, but their heads. Maybe it would have been better for them to lose the first match in Ciudad Real to have more concentration and passion for the second. Ciudad – after replacing important players – played a great tactical and physical game – with a world class goalkeeper.

TEXT: Björn Pazen