“Not a sightseeing tour”Article
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“Not a sightseeing tour”

The day 19 October 2008 was a historical occasion for THW Kiel: after five defeats, the German champions captured the “fortress Palau Blaugrana” for the first time ever.31:27 was the final result from the Kiel point of view in Barcelona. And the Germans won the retrun game too by 33:26.

Ahlm will be there in the Palau to score for KielThese four points were the basis for Kiel to go through the quarterfinal. Barcelona paid a price too high as the CL record winner were eliminated after the second group phase due to another two defeats against Ciudad Real. On Sunday the “old rivals” Kiel and Barcelona meet again in “Palau Blaugrana”, and again in the group stage of the competition as before they mostly met in decisive K.O. matches. The balance isn’t equal since last season: before the teams met 10 times and each team won five home matches. The current balance is: Kiel 7 victories, Barcelona 5.

But this season several things changed on both sides: Kiel has to replace players such as Karabatic and Lövgren with Momir Illic and Daniel Narcisse (currently injured); Barcelona signed top players such as Rutenka or Igropoulo, but lost two goalkeepers.

Both Kiel and Barcelona won their opening matches in CL. Kiel had to fight hard to beat Leon 35:32, Barcelona had problems only in the starting phase in Zürich, but won very clearly by 39:27.

In the Wednesday league matches the results of both top clubs were quite different: Barcelona took the points spectacularly against Cuenca (42:25); Kiel lost the first home point for 399 days due to a 27:27 draw against TBV Lemgo. Nevertheless, they remain unbeaten on home court for 31 matches. The last home defeat was in November 2007.

Kiel had problems against Lemgo in the starting phase and couldn’t keep the rhythm at the end even if they had a four-goal lead. Right back Kim Andersson was very disappointed: “If we want to win in Barcelona, we have to play 1000 times better.”

Kiel coach Alfred Gislasson wants to win again in the impressive “Palau Blaugrana”: “We don’t go to Barcelona for a sightseeing tour, but for two points.”

One statistic data is interesting, however: when Kiel and Barcelona meet (12 matches so far), no game ended in a draw.

TEXT: Björn Pazen