CL summary: Men's Round 1Article
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Read the summary of Round 1 in the Men's EHF Champions League.

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CL summary: Men's Round 1

Four victories in four matches – the Spanish teams took an ideal start in the Champions League season. While three Spanish were the favourites – Portland against Bucharest, Ciudad Real in Svendborg and Barcelona in Drammen –, the victory of Leon against Montpelier somewhat surprising. In the other top matches of round 1, Zagreb made a draw against Rhein Neckar Löwen and Veszprém – in a tense match – took the points against Flensburg-Handewitt.

Group A
Chambery HB – Pivovarna Lasko Celje 37:30 (20:18)
Hammarby IK– Granitas Karys 31:27 (13:11)

As Celje didn’t have a chance in France and lost by seven goals, Hammary took two important points against the Lithuanian champion Karys. “The match was full of ups and downs,” Hammarby coach Staffan Olsson said afterwards. The match winner for the Swedish champion was their goalkeeper, Michael Aström, with a 40% save stats. After 15:11 at halftime, Hammarby decided the match at 22:16. In the following minutes they kept this distance from Karys. “In the second half our defence was too weak,” Karys’ coach Valdemaras Novickis analysed after the game. The only disappointment for Hammarby was the number of spectators – only 488 fans showed up to watch the game.

Group B
GOG Svendborg – Ciudad Real 24:34 (10:16)
Bosna Sarajevo – ASE Doukas 34:22 (18:13)

GOG could not repeat the start from last seasonCiudad Real sat in the driver’s seat right from the start. The CL title holders were leading in Denmark already by 6:0. Even as GOG came closer by halftime, the favourites didn’t have any difficulties. As the gap was mostly around six goals, Ciudad improved again and settled the matter already at 26:19. The top scorer of Ciudad was their line player. Thorsten Laen scored seven goals against his old club, while on the other side Hallgrimsson scored six goals against the again outstanding goalkeeper duo Sterbik/Hombrados and a strong Spanish defence.

Bosna Sarajevo took two important points on their quest for a minimum objective, the third place of the group. After an equal start, the Bosnian champions took the lead after 8:8 and increased this gap through the whole match. The 3 500 fans saw a very strong performance by Nebojsa Golic who scored ten times.
“I’m very satisfied with our start in Champions league,” Bosna coach Gregor Cvijic said. “As we have a new team, we didn’t know where we stand. But for the next home match I hope that more support will come from the spectators,” he added. For Doukas Sasa Zivulovic was the best scorer with eight goals. The match was decided after 40 minutes as Bosna were already in a ten goal lead at 28:18.

Group C
THW Kiel – Metalurg Skopje 37:29 (18:15)
Drammen HK – FC Barcelona 24:29 (12:16)

Kiel had an easy start against the FYR Macedonian champions on Thursday. The other top team of the group, Barcelona had a more difficult time. The Catalonians made too many mistakes in Drammen, but won clearly at the end. After a 7:7, the guests improved and took a few goals lead by the break. Drammen came closer in the mid second half and nearly took back the lead at 19:20 with five goals in a row. But more individual class and more international experience brought two points for Barcelona. “Drammen were a strong team,” coach Manolo Cadenas said. The best scorers were Hansen (Drammen) and Nagy (Barcelona) with six goals each.

Group D
HSV Hamburg – Tatran Presov 32:20 (14:8)
Crvena Zvezda – FCK Kopenhagen 25:34 (10:16)

FCK started with a victory in BelgradeHSV defeated Presov on Thursday. The other game of Group D promised more excitement.
In their first ever Champions League match, the Copenhagen-based team celebrated a clear away victory in the hot atmosphere of Belgrade. The local supporters were shocked already at the beginning as FCK started with an 8:1 series. Afterwards they had no difficulties to take control over the match. After 40 minutes the distance was ten goals at 23:13.

“It was an easy victory for us. We are glad to have started the Champions League so well,” FCK sporting director Thomas Hylle said. The winners of Round 1 will meet Copenhagen in the next round.

Group E
Portland San Antonio – Steaua Bucharest 38:30 (19:14)
Cimos Koper – Chehovski Medvedi 28:35 (15:12)

Portland dominated the game against Steaua on Thursday and took the two points in a convincing fashion.
Chehovski Medvedi played a thrilling game in Slovenia. The Russians won the match in Koper after the break. The Slovenian runner-up played very well in the first half and they were leading 15:12 after 30 minutes. The team of coach Maximov needed only 10 minutes to equalise at 18:18, ant then scored five goals in a row between the 46th and the 51st minute – despite Konstantin Igropoulo receiving a red card just before. It means that both Slovenian teams started the new season with a defeat. The best scorer of Koper was Mraveljevic with seven goals, while Dimirov (10) and Filipov (9) scored more than half of the Chehov goals. Goalkeeper Oleg Grams made 15 saves for Medvedi.

Group F
Haukar – Zaporozhye 26:25 (13:17)
MKB Veszprém – SG Flensburg-Handewitt 29:28 (14:14)

5 000 spectators saw a very tense match in Veszprém with a last minute victory for the Hungarians.
Haukar clinched a sensational victory against Zaporozhye. The Ukrainian champions seemed to be heading towards victory even in the mid second half as they were leading all the time. However, after 22:22 the Icelandics turned the match. Sveinsson and Brynjarsson were the best scorers with each four goals.

Group G
Reale Ademar - Montpellier HB 25:21 (14:8)
Amicitia Zürich – HB Bregenz 35:25 (15:13)

Ademar won a close gameWith good concentration Leon took two important points that take them nearer to the main round. This was the top duel of this group.
In the Swiss-Austrian clash Zürich made an impressive start at their first ever Champions League match. Even with the help of 250 supporters coming from Bregenz and with the goalkeeper Marinovic making many saves, Zürich won clearly at the end after a nearly equal first half. After the injury of Lukas Mayer, Bregenz lost their strength and Zürich played on easily. The best scorers of the Swiss champions were Andy Schmid with nine goals and Norwegian international Frank Löke with six. The key player of Zürich was goalkeeper Arunas Vaskevicius in the last 20 minutes.

Group H
RK CO Zagreb – Rhein Neckar Löwen 33:33 (16:14)
Wisla Plock – Pick Szeged 16:26 (8:14)

“We lost a point due to a bad defence,” Zagreb coach Lino Cervar said after the top match of Group H. Meanwhile, Löwen’s manager Thorsten Storm was very satisfied: “This was our best match of the season.”

In the second game of the group Szeged showed a strong performance in Poland. The Hungarians took an early lead (5-1 in 9 minutes). The Polish side were unable to score with Puljezevic in the Szeged goal who saved clear chances and 7-m shots as well. On the other end of the court Milorad Krivokapic was very effective scoring eight goals for Szeged. Sebastian Rumniak scored four times for Wisla against a focused Szeged that gave Plock no chance over the whole 60 minutes.

TEXT: Björn Pazen