Important victories for Löwen and ChekhovArticle
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Rhein Neckar Löwen and Chechovski Medvedi take two points and get just a step away from the quarterfinals.

Important victories for Löwen and Chekhov

Rhein Neckar Löwen and Chechovski Medvedi took highly important and difficultly earned victories on Thursday evening. Both teams have good chances now to reach the quarterfinals, as both have 6:4 points now and remain second in their groups. Löwen have beaten RK Celje 31:26 (15:16), and Chechov won against FCK 37:34 (18:17)

Rhein Neckar Löwen needed 55 minutes to prove that they were favourites against Celje. The Slovenians remain without a point in the main round despite their good performance and the many mistakes of the Germans.

“Our concentration was not good, but the only thing that matters are the two points,” line player Christian Schwarzer, who scored two decisive goals said.

“I’m satisfied with our match,” Celje coach Tone Tiselj replied, “but we knew before the game that Löwen were the better team. In the very end they had more alternatives on the bench and more power.”

As the hosts – with an extra-ordinary right winger Uwe Gensheimer (8 goals) – were in lead by 15:11, the 3,849 fans expected a clear victory like it was in Celje. But due to a lot of missed chances the Löwen couldn’t increase the gap. Celje scored five consecutive goals and surprisingly were in the lead at halftime (16:15).

Until 25:25 Celje resisted the Germans. Goalkeeper Aljosa Reznar did well and four players kept scoring: Furland (5), Reznicek (7), Terzic (4) and Koksharov (6) scored 22 of the 26 Celje goals.

Löwen had no weapons against an aggressive defence. Only in the last five minutes did the Germans play quick on counter attacks. This decided the game.

“In the Champions League you never meet easy opponents; every match is hard,” Uwe Gensheimer said. “Had we used our chances before the break, we could have decided the match earlier.”

None of the players or coach Wolfgang Schwenke complained about the current uncertainties at the club after the announcement of Noka Serdarusic.

“No comment,” Schwenke said. “We concentrate on our matches and on the season. It’s not our job to look for a coach,” Gudjon Valur Sigurdsson (seven goals) added. “I don’t know how much I had to read last weeks about who’s coming or not.”

The one and only objective in the Champions League is to win the last and decisive match against Chambery on home court:

“We have it in our hands to advance in this highly important competition,” Schwarzer said.

Chekhov win

Chechov also have a good chance in Group I. FCK (0:10) are out of the race after losing their fifth match in the main round. The Russians took the second place with 6:4 points. If Hamburg (8:0) win in Portland (4:4) on Sunday, Chekhov (together with HSV) would already be through to the quarterfinals. In this case they won the direct encounter against Portland.

If Portland win on Sunday, the situation would be quite different. Then the Spanish have the better chances to go on, as they will play their last match against FCK and Chekhov has to win in Hamburg.

In the match against the Danes, Chekhov had to fight hard to beat the Andersson team. It was a big battle until the 45th minute. The match was totally equal, sometimes with advantages for Chekhov, sometimes for FCK.

Both teams played on full speed. 15 minutes before the end the Russians extended their lead to 28:24 and decided the match.

TEXT: Björn Pazen