World class performance from THWArticle
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Round 6 has seen an absolutely top game between Kiel and Barcelona with an astonishing Omeyer.

World class performance from THW

THW Kiel gave a free lesson to FC Barcelona-Borges: in between six weeks the German champion won for the second time against the record winner of Champions League.

In the “duel of the giants” THW have beaten Barca by 33:26 (16:11) after being even ten goals up. 10 250 spectators celebrated their club that kept the series alive: Kiel never lost to Barcelona on home court. THW won the first match in Spain – for the first time in club’s history – with 31:27 in October.

The match winner of Kiel was again – and like in the first match in Barcelona– goalkeeper Thierry Omeyer, who saved the sensational number of 25 shots in 55 minutes. As he left the court, the spectators raised for standing ovations.

Apart from the outstanding Omeyer, especially the defence was on top in Kiel: the best scorer was the Czech international Filip Jicha, who hit the net seven times. The best scorer for Barcelona was wing player Juan Garcia with ten goals.

By beating Barcelona again, Kiel remained on top of their group with six victories from six matches and start in the main round with 4 points, as Barcelona carry zero points.

“We tried hard, but we didn’t have any chance,” Barcelona coach Manolo Caderas said after the match. THW manager Uwe Schwenker was enthusiastic: “If we play like today, every team of the world will have big problems to beat us on home court.”

Kiel had – due to the early saves of Omeyer (10 in the first 14 minutes) - a great start with a 5:1. As Barcelona missed too many chances (and lost Hungarian László Nagy very early due to an injury), Kiel were on track.

Even a very strong Barca goalkeeper, Kasper Hvidt, couldn’t bring the Spain back in the game. The goals of Jicha and Kim Andersson gave Kiel a comfortable 16:11 halftime lead.

The spectators went crazy, as Kiel played a sensational match and at the intermediate score of 21:13 it seemed that Kiel would reach a similar big victory to last season’s CL semi-final when THW have beaten Barca 41:31.

After THW were leading by ten goals (28:18), coach Alfred Gislasson started to change his squad. Barca could reduce the gap to at least seven goals, but never had the glimpse of a chance of beating THW.

“We have not won any title up to now, but we have a good basis for the main round,” wing player Dominik Klein said.

And THW captain Stefan Lövgren added: “The match was not running on its own; we had to work hard. But we saw again that we don’t have to be afraid of any opponent in the Champions League. Now we have our fate in our own hands.”

Both teams qualified for the main round before, but still this match was important as it decided the number of points the teams would take to the next stage. And as Kiel won against Barca again, it’s clear that there will be no duel between German clubs in the main round.

All four German participants – Kiel, Hamburg, Flensburg and Löwen – won their groups, and as it’s in the regulations that no teams from one country that finish group phase as number one will compete against other teams from their country.

“I don’t mind what team we will play against in the main round as every opponent is very hard to beat,” Lövgren said.

The fans celebrated goalkeeper Thierry Omeyer after the match, but the French Olympic gold medalist kept calm:

“If you want to beat a team such as Barcelona, you can’t do it on your own. You need a team, and our team played very well today. The defence helped me a lot. Maybe we seem to be unbeatable at the moment, but this is not true. We work hard every match and if we don’t do so, we can be beaten.”

But his teammate Kim Andersson dedicated the victory to THW goalkeeper:

“Thierry was outstanding. Just as the rest of the team, he gave 1 000 percent and we knew before that we had to show a world class performance to beat Barca.”

Coach Alfred Gislasson was very satisfied:

“We start with four points now; this gives us the chance to go on to the quarterfinals."

TEXT: Björn Pazen