Hard work for KielArticle
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Löwen and Kiel won their opening games very closely against Veszprem and Leon, Montpellier didn’t have problems with the Greek team Paok.

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»Group Phase

Hard work for Kiel

Two victories for Germany, one for France – this is the balance of the Sunday’s matches of matchday 1 of the new CL season. Löwen and Kiel won their opening games very closely against Veszprem and Leon, Montpellier didn’t have problems with the Greek team Paok.

Group A:

HB Montpellier – AC PaokSaloniki 46:20 (25:9)

Easy work for the French champion in the opening match of this CL season: Without the need to play 60 minutes on top level, Montpellier won with a difference of 26 goals against Paok. The Greek champion was without any chance in the match – and knew even after five minutes what wind was blowing in their faces at the French coast. Montpellier took an early 5:0, and winger Michel Guigou played outstanding in the beginning, in the end he was the topscorer with eight goals. In his first CL match for his “new, old club” Nikola Karabatic scored six goals. The Greek couldn’t go through the Montpellier defence for 60 minutes, and HB coach Patrice Canayer could give his key players a lot of time to rest on the bench before the hard match in Constanta on Thursday. After his finger injury, Mladen Bojinovic returned to the Montpellier team, that was leading with an extra ordinary 16 goal difference at the break and scored for the third time in this season (including league) more than 40 goals.

Group B:

Rhein Neckar Löwen – MKB Veszprem 32:29 (17:14)

Top start for the „Lions“: By beating strong Hungarian champion MKB Veszprem in a high levelled top class game, the Germans took revenge for the lost EHF cup final in 2008. “Löwen” started well and were leading 7:2 after only nine minutes and 13:7 later. But as they lacked concentration and missed a lot of chances afterwards, Veszprem came closer and equalized for the one and only time at the score of 24:24 (minute 47). But the “Löwen” found their rhythm again in the final stage of the match and won two important points for their objective, to become number one in this group. One key to the success was the “Löwen” defence that stood well, and goalkeeper Szmal, who saved 17 shots. Best player on the field was Icelandic Gudjon Valur Sigurdsson, who scored seven times at led the Germans, topscorer of the match was Veszprem’s Serbian international Marco Vujin with eight goals. “By looking at the whole 60 minutes it was a well deserved victory, but Veszprem was as strong as we had expected. It was a match of two world class teams”, “Löwen” player Oliver Roggisch said. “The Löwen played fantastic handball”, Veszprem coach Lajos Mocsai added: “It was a hard, but fair game, and the Germans have deserved this victory.” His teams was supported by a loud crowd of singing and shouting spectators.

Group D:

THW Kiel – Ademar Leon 35:32 (17:15)

Hard work for THW Kiel to break the Leon wall: “It was a tough match, as we had to show all we can”, Kiel’s coach Alfred Gislasson said after the opener of last season’s finalist against the qualifier from Spain. But Kiel extended their series in this season: Including league and cup it was the seventh victory in a row for the CL winner of 2007. Kiel played weak for a long time of the match – and it took 22 minutes until the host was in lead for the first time (12:11). A lot of technical mistakes occurred in the THW offence, so the 10.250 spectators were disappointed a little at the break. Leon still stood strong in their defence, Croatian goalkeeper Mirko Allilovic showed some spectacular saves. Kiel was in lead for the whole second halftime, but they couldn’t turn this lead in a comfortable one. As Peter Gentzel substituted goalkeeper Thierry Omeyer, the THW defence played better. But the last season’s finalist could decide the match only in the very last minutes. Best scorers were Kim Andersson (Kiel) and Denis Buntic (Leon) with each eight goals.

Read the summary of the Saturday’s games of matchday 1, too:

Group A

Pick Szeged - Chechovski Medvedi 32:32 (15:16)

Ghionea was the hero in Szeged, as he scored last goal that secured the equalizer for the home club in the last minute of the match. The Russian team was in lead most of the time in this mostly equal match, but the Hungarian fought hard for a good start in the new CL season. Chechovski played physical strong and led with a one goal difference after 30 minutes. Best scorers were Zvizej (8) and Katzirz for Szeged and Shelmenko (7) and Kovalev (8) for Chechov.

Group B

Bosna BH Gas Sarajewo – Chambery Savoie 24:23 (13:12)

Bosna started with one of the biggest sucesses in club’s history:Nobody expected a victory against the French top team, but due to their fighting spirit and the outstanding performance of goalkeeper Nebojsa Grahovac (20 saves)the Bosnian took the first points to reach their objective – the round of the last 16. Vedran Banic scored the decisive goal 25 seconds before the end of a high tensioned match. Chambery was in lead 22:20, before the Bosnian started their successful run. Best Bosna scorer was Dobovac (7 goals), Cacar hit the net five times for Chambery.

Vive Targi Liece – RK Gorenje 23:21 (9:13)

Henrik Knudsen was the outstanding player in this close match. The Dane scored 15 goals for Kielce and saved the first two points for the Polish champion. The 4000 spectators went crazy, as their team turned the match in the last two minutes. Gorenje was leading 21:17, before Kielce scored four consecutive goals. In the final stage Kielce goalkeeper Marcus Cleverly became the second “man of the match” due to his brilliant saves. “We are so proud”, Knudsen saidafter this optimal start in the CL season: “The spectators were the eight man for our team”, coach Bogdan Wenta added. The match was decided ten seconds before the end, as Gorenje missed their last chance, and Rastko Stojkovic hit the net with the 22:21. “One point would have been good for us, but we showed a very weak performance in the last minutes of the match”, Gorenje coach IvicaObrvan said. In his team Bostjan Kavas and Jure Natek were the best scorers with each four goals.

Group C:

Fyllingen Handball - HC Croatia Osiguranje-Zagreb 22:29 (9:15)

Zagreb won as expected, but the 2712 spectators honoured the performance of Fyllingen in their first ever CL match. Zagreb had more individual class, but Fyllingen still had a chance to come closer in the last five minutes of the game. “We missed too many 100 percent chances, otherwise the result wouldn’t have been so clear. But I think we did a good match”, Andreas Gjeitrem, top player of Fyllingen (six goals), said. The best scorer of the match, Zagreb’s Kiril Lazarov (10 goals), gave warm words to the Norwegian host: “Fyllingen is going to be very good in two or three years. Their young crew need time.” In the one sided match both goalkeepers played strong.

HSV Hamburg – Alingsas HK 35:25 (20:12)

The CL debutant from Sweden didn’t have a chance against last season’s semi-finalist. Even after 30 minutes the match was pre decided as HSV was in lead with an eight goal difference. HSV players Per Sandström and Niklas Grundsten were highly motivated against the team of their home country, but Marcin Lijewski was the topscorer with seven goals. At the beginning of the second halftime the 3225 spectators were a little bit surprised, as Alingsas came closer to 16:22, but in the end Swedish HSV goalkeeper Sandström decided the match with more than 20 saves. Ten minutes before the end Hamburg was leading 27:19 – and everything was clear. “We played well against one of the best teams in Europe”, Alingsas coach Robert Wedberg said, “this was an outstanding experienced and after the break we really played strong.” HSV coach Martin Schwalb was satisfied: “It was quite good for the first match. In halftime one we played very effective.”

Ciudad Real – FCK Handbold 34:22 (15:9)

Great atmosphere and a clear victory: Ciudad Real started in the new season with an extra ordinary performance, as the title holder gave the Danish top club a free lesson. After a good startof the home team (6:2, 11:6), FCK came closer a little bit, but in the middle of halftime two the winner was known, as Ciudad was in lead with a comfortable 23:15 and 27:16. Best players in the guest team, that missed too many chances against the strong Ciudad defense, were goalkeeper Kasper Hvidt and Erlend Mamelund (four goals). The Spanish club played in a very balanced way, nearly every player scored, Garcia and Gull were the top scorers with each five goals. FCK coach Magnus Anderson was not satisfied: “I’m disappointed with the way we lost. We played a bad attack andCiudad Real has taken advantagefrom every ball we lost in offense.” Goalkeeper Hvidt added: “We will learn fromthis game and improve our play system for the next matches.” On the other side, Ciudad coach Talant Dushebajew was impressed by the performance of his new team: „We took the match for serious from the first to the last minute. Our defence was really good, as well I’m satisfied with our offense matchplay. On Wednesday in Hamburg we’re going for the victory!”

Group D:

Amicitia Zürich – FC Barcelona 27:39 (15:15)

As expected Zürich didn’t have the chance for a surprise in the end against the great favourite Barcelona. But: The Swiss champion was in lead 6:1, and Barca coach Xavi Pascual had to change his teams on several positions very early. “Zürich played well in the first 20 minutes, but we turned the match after the break”, Pascual said: “But the Swiss champion was an opponent on high level.” As Zürich had to miss goalkeeper Edin Basic, they couldn’t come closer after the break, as Barcelona extended the lead comfortably. But in contrast to the defeat Zürich coach Robert Nijdam was satisfied: “I’m proud of my team, unfortunately I don’t have such strong alternatives on the bench, as Barcelona have”, he said. Topscorer of the match was Jan-Henrik Behrends with eleven goals, Victor Tomas scored six times for Barca.

Vardar Skopje – KIF Kolding 25:32 (10:13)

The goalkeeper of the Danes, Erevik (19 saves), and topscorer Schnuchel (8 goals) were the top players in the “Boris Trajkovski” sports hall in Skopje, where Vardar lost their home start against Kolding. Skopje played equal only in the first 12 minutes, after that Kolding dominated the match and took the points very easily, as they extended the lead from minute to minute. Best Vardar scorer was Marakovic with six goals.

Text: Björn Pazen

TEXT: Björn Pazen