HSV and Löwen back on track, Montpellier ends black seriesArticle
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HSV Hamburg (against Zagreb) and Montpellier HB (in Valladolid) are the winners of Sunday’s top matches.

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HSV and Löwen back on track, Montpellier ends black series

Rhein Neckar Löwen and HSV Hamburg are back on track. As Löwen won easily in Sarajewo after the draw against Kielce, Hamburg made the home defeat against Ciudad Real nothing but distant memory with an outstanding match and a clear 35:26 victory in the Sunday’s top match against Zagreb. For the Croatians it was the first defeat in this season after two victories. So Kiel and Ciudad Real remain the only two teams of the 24 CL participants with a “white vest” after matchday 3.

Chambery took their first points in this season by beating Velenje thanks to 13 goals of Bertrand Roine. The second French team won, too: Montpellier finished their “black series” in Spain by beating Valladolid on their home soil. Now everything looks equal in group A, as Montpellier, Constanta and Chechov stand on top with each four points, Valladolid and Szeged follow with each three points.

Group A:

Pevafersa Valladolid – HB Montpellier 21:26 (9:9)

Montpellier found their way back to success: After the sensational defeat in Constanta, the French champion won very sovereign in Valladolid. This victory was the end of a long series of defeats in Spain, as Montpellier had lost the last eleven away matches in Iberia before. Valladolid was leading only once, at the score of 8:7, at the break the match was equal.

Afterwards the Karabatic brothers Nikola and Luca took the lead in their team – and by the support of Wissem Hmam Montpellier increased the distance from 13:12 to a pre decisive 24:17 in minute 51. As the French defence improved, the Spanish team didn’t have the chance to come closer again.

Group B:

BH Gas Bosna Sarajewo – Rhein Neckar Löwen 24:39 (10:20)

It took only 15 minutes for the Löwen to pre decided the match at the score of 9:4, the decision was taken at the halftime score of 20:10, as Bosna couldn’t stand the power and the speed, the Germans played. After the break Löwen coach Ola Lindgren could give his “second row players” more time to practice and save the powers of the key players. In the end the difference was enormous with 15 goals – the same gap Bosna was even behind in minute 40 (15:30).

Top scorer for the Löwen was Uwe Gensheimer with ten goals, Doborac scored seven goals for Bosna. As the still unbeaten Löwen took the lead in group B with now five points Bosna remains with two points.

Chambery Savoie – Gorenje Velenje 28:24 (14:9)

13 goals in 16 attempts – this was the world class balance of Bertrand Roine in the match against Velenje and his former team mate Jure Natek. His goals and the 21 saves of goalkeeper Michael Robin were the key factors for the first Chambery victory in this season. Chambery had a good start, increased the lead from 5:1 in minute 8 to 14:9 at the break. In the second halftime Gorenje came closer to mostly four goals, but couldn’t turn the match against Roine & Co.

„It were not only my goals, but the performance of the whole team“, Roine said after the match. Goalkeeper Robin added: “Our defence stood very strong today, so it’s easier for a goalkeeper to save this number of shots.” Like Sarajewo both teams now have two points on their account.

Group C

HSV Hamburg – RK Zagreb 35:26 (14:12)

It was a gala, no one could expect after the clear home defeat against Ciudad Real: Due to an outstanding performance of goalkeeper Johannes Bitter and the seven goals of the Croatian pivot Igor Vori HSV overran RK Zagreb. As for Zagreb only Ivano Balic played on top level and Kiril Lazarow hit the post more often than the goal, the Croatians didn’t have a chance in Hamburg. 7415 spectators attended a speedful and powerful match on high level.

In the beginning both teams missed several 100 percent chances. As Zagreb mostly hit the post, goalkeeper Gorasz Skof was the termination of the HSV hopes. With one exception: Igor Vori. The world class player, who transferred from Zagreb to Hamburg before the start of this season, was the best player on the field. Either he scored, or he could only be stopped by a foul, leading to a penalty shot. Vori and Domagoj Duvnjak, who made the same way before the season, were highly motivated against their former club. The third HSV Croatian Blazenko Lackovic couldn’t play due to an injury. But for him Pascal Hens played his first CL match in this season.

HSV were in lead the whole 60 minutes. After the 8:4 the Germans went away to 13:9, before Balic’s goals made Zagreb come closer. At the break (14:12 for Hamburg) the Coratians could hope for the third consecutive victory, but HSV destroyed these hopes within minutes. It only took eight minutes, as RK had to take their time out, as HSV was in lead 21:15. But there was no change, as Hamburg played absolutely dominant in defence and offence and increased the gap intermediately to eleven goals (34:23). The resistance of Zagreb had been broken long before. The spectators honoured their team with standing ovations after the final whistle.

“This was real fun”, HSV playmaker Guillaume Gille said: “We wanted to show that the defeat against Ciudad was a singular failure – and I believe, we coped with this. Now we won two highly important points, but it will be a real tough re match in Zagreb.” Both teams now have 4 points- like FCK Handball – and have a good base for the next matches, still two points behind leader Ciudad Real in group C.

TEXT: Björn Pazen