Men's summary: Main Round 3Article
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Ciudad Real, MKB Veszprém and Flensburg Handewitt follow Kiel to the quarterfinals. Read the story of the weekend.

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Men's summary: Main Round 3

While Group I and II are open and three teams can qualify, everything is already decided in Groups III and IV. Ciudad Real, MKB Veszprém and SG Flensburg have followed THW Kiel to the Main Round.

Group I

Chechovski Medvedi – FCK Handball 37:34 (18:17)

Portland San Antonio – HSV Hamburg 27:24 (16:9)

By beating Hamburg, Portland created a lot of tension in Group I. Three teams still can qualify for the quarterfinals before the last round. The situation is quite simple: Hamburg need a draw against Chekhov on Wednesday to finish on top of their group. If they lose against the Russians with less than two goals then both teams are through to quarterfinals as Hamburg would win the direct encounter against Portland and Chekhov in this case. Portland need a victory against FCK and have to hope for a HSV victory to qualify for the KO stage.

The Spanish, who lost in Germany by ten goals, showed a superb first half performance on Sunday. HSV lost their first CL match of the season without the two Lijewski brothers missing due to injuries.

Pamplona took the lead quickly. After 6:2, Portland increased the distance to 11:3 within 14 minutes. The best Portland player was goalkeeper Tomas Svensson, who played for Hamburg in the past.

After the break (16:9) the Germans tried hard to decrease the gap, but they knew that they had little chance to win. In the 49th minute it was still 24:18 for Portland. Three minutes before the end there seemed to happen a sensational turn as Betrand Gille made it 22:25. After that, however, Portland decided the match.

”I hope that Hamburg will help us by beating Chekhov so that we can have the chance to qualify for the quarterfinals,” Portland coach Chechu Villaldea said. “Before the break we played sensationally, afterwards we saw the high quality HSV.”

The best scorers were Jansen (Hamburg/8) and Hernandez (Portland/6).

Group II

Rhein Neckar Löwen – RK Celje 31:26 (15:16)

Chambery Savoie – RK Zagreb 26:30 (12:17)

Similarly to Group I, three of the four teams still have chance to qualify for the quarterfinals.

As Chambery lost their first CL match of the season – at home against Zagreb –, both the French (8 points), the Croatians and Rhein Neckar Löwen have the chance to go on.

The changing of the coach and the financial pressure on the players of RK Zagreb gave new energy to the Croatians that won both away matches now.

In Chambery they didn’t only win the match, they also achieved a better direct encounter against the French team. Chambery will play the last match in Germany against the Rhein Neckar Löwen. If they lose there by more than two goals and Zagreb beat Celje in the last round, the dream of Chambery will be gone.

RK Zagreb started well in Chambery took a 4:1 lead. At this point Daniel Narcisse scored three consecutive goals, but the Croatians remained strong and held onto a five-goal lead in the first half.

The French team came closer to 25:28, but then again an outstanding Kiril Lazarov decided the match with his 11th goal.

“It will be very hard to win in Germany, but why should we not be able to make it?” Chambery coach Philippe Gardent said. “We still have our chances in our own hands.”

Group III

Real Ademar – MKB Veszprém 30:32 (12:17)

By winning their third consecutive match in the main round, MKB Veszprém are already qualified for the quarterfinals. The only thing that will be decided in the last round is whether the Hungarians (8 points) or Flensburg (6) will finish on top of the group.

Veszprém even have the big advantage of playing at home against Montpellier, as Flensburg will travel to Leon. Veszprém took a well-deserved victory in Leon, as they were leading all the 60 minutes.

The key to the third Veszprém success in the main round was defence – as in the previous games – supported by an outstanding Dejan Peric in the goal.

The Serbian Vujin was also impossible to stop and finished the game at 12 goals, while the most reliable Veszprém player, Nikola Eklemovic, added another five goals to the tally.

The Spanish could only keep the pace with right winger Krivoshlykov, who scored ten. Buntic also added 8.

SG Flensburg-Handewitt – Montpellier HB 22:21 (9:8)

Two Swedish players were the match winners of Flensburg: goalkeeper Dan Beutler made 16 saves and Oscar Carlen, son of head coach Per Carlen, scored seven goals.

The two Swedes paved the way of Flensburg to the quarterfinals.

As Leon and Montpellier (both 3 points) can’t catch up with Flensburg anymore, they’re through to the next stage.

The Germans had to work hard for the success. The first 30 minutes were dominated by the defences: the two teams scored 17 goals combined.

Then started the Oscar Carlen show: his fifth goal after the break made it 16:13 and as Flensburg extended the leadfrom 16:15 to 20:15, the match was decided.

Montpellier reduced the gap once again, but it was 22:21 at the time of the final whistle. Flensburg was never in danger. The best Montpellier player was Guigou with seven goals.

Group IV

THW Kiel – GOG Svendborg 37:29 (20:20)

Ciudad Real – FC Barcelona 32:29 (14:14)

After Kiel’s qualification to the quarterfinals, Ciudad also booked their ticket for the KO stage.

In a match played on world class level, the title holders have beaten Barcelona. In the last match of the group, the top sport will be decided between Ciudad Real and Kiel. Ciudad need to win by more than seven goals.

In the match against Barcelona, Ciudad goalkeeper Árpád Sterbik was the match winner again. By saving 21 shots he reached a percentage of 43 percent of saved balls.

The first half was completely equal as Barcelona had to give all they had to keep their dreams alive. They needed a victory with more than four goals to win the direct encounter.

In the second half, Ciudad improved with Sterbik’s performance and also with a better defence despite the absence of Dinart. On the other side László Nagy scored seven Barca goals.

Ciudad were in the lead mostly by three goals in the final stage and took a well-deserved victory. The best Ciudad scorer was Olafur Stefansson with six goals.


TEXT: Björn Pazen
 
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