Kiel and Ciudad Real complete EHF FINAL4 in CologneArticle
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Kiel and Ciudad Real complete EHF FINAL4 in Cologne

Last season’s finalists Ciudad Real and THW Kiel complete the EHF FINAL4 in Cologne. As Kiel again beat the Rhein Neckar Löwen like in the first match with a one goal difference Ciudad Real overran HSV Hamburg with 35:27 after the 22:26 defeat last week.

On Saturday FC Barcelona and Chekhovski Medvedi had qualified for the EHF FINAL4 as the first teams.

The EHF FINAL4 draw will take place in Cologne on Tuesday, 11:30 hrs. A live graphical presentation of the draw will be available on

Quarterfinals, second leg:

THW Kiel – Rhein Neckar Löwen 31:30 (12:13), first leg: 29:28

For the fourth consecutive time THW Kiel has reached the semi final of the Champions League – but booking the ticket for the EHF FINAL4 in Cologne was very hard work for the German champion. After the narrow victory in the first match in Mannheim (29:28), the “Zebras” had to shiver until the final whistle in the re match against the Rhein Neckar Löwen again. Like one week ago goalkeeper Thierry Omeyer was the match winner for THW on home soil with 18 saved shots. The match was completely equal, the lead was changing constantly, but Kiel had the better end, thanks to Omeyer and their bigger efficiency in offense in the final stage. For Löwen the last chance to win a title this season was blown away by the wind at the Baltic Sea. Top scorer for Kiel was again Filip Jicha, who’s the first ever player, who scored more than 100 goals in one CL season. Including his eight goals on Sunday evening his record’s currently 101 goals – and he’ll still have two matches left in Cologne. Bjarte Myrhol and Karol Bielecki scored each six goals for the Löwen.

Kiel had the better start and led 5:2 thanks to six early saves of Omeyer, but then the “Zebras” lost their rhythm. The “Lions” took control of the match, as their goalkeeper Slawomir Szmal improved. At the break the guest were in lead 13:12 – which meant an equal addition of both matches at this time.

In the second half both opponents remained very close. Even as Kiel had scored three goals in a row to the score of 22:19, Löwen fought back – and equalized to 23:23 after a time-out of coach Lindgren in minute 50. Five minutes before the end the result was still equal (27:27), before Kiel took some Löwen mistakes in offense to decide the game. As Dominik Klein scored the 30:27, the 10.250 spectators in the Arena went crazy, as they knew that Kiel will go to Cologne. Even that the Löwen reduced the gap to only one goal with the final whistle, didn’t have a meaning anymore.

Statements of the coaches:

Alfred Gislasson (Kiel): “Both teams gave all they can in both matches, but we deserved to go on to the EHF FINAL4. I’m looking forward this great event and I’m really high on the draw on Tuesday. All opponents are very tough, but we want to reach the final, of course.”

Ola Lindgren (Löwen): „Both matches were very tough, in the end little things have decided about the winner. We missed too many chances in the first match, today we played much better. We fought the whole 60 minutes and it wasn’t missing a lot to reach the semis. I wish good luck to Kiel.”

BM Ciudad Real – HSV Hamburg 35:27 (18:11), first leg: 26:22

The reigning champion taught HSV Hamburg a handball lesson: The second leg of the quarterfinals was a proof of the real strength of Ciudad Real after the weak performance in the first leg. HSV could stand the offense and defense power of the Spaniards only 13 minutes, then the disaster for the Germans started. Ciudad defense stood like a wall and forced Hamburg to make mistakes, and in offense the fast players of Ciudad scored one counter attack goal after the other. After 17 minutes the score was 10:5, six minutes later 14:7 and four minutes before the break Ciudad was in lead with ten goals f

or the first time (18:8). Even as HSV scored three consecutive goals until the break, it was obvious that Ciudad will win their sixth of eight matches against HSV in the last three years. Right after the break the Germans could reduce the gap to seven goals, before Ciudad Real accelerated again. At the score of 24:19 Vori (HSV) and Aguinagalde (Ciudad) received red cards after a short rivalry on the field, and with two players more on the field the Spaniards extended the distance to eleven goals (29:18) – the gap in total was seven goals at this moment.

The spectators in the Arena Don Quichote pushed their team to the limit and started their celebrations very early. Latest four minutes before the end when Ciudad Real had stopped an intermediate strong phase of Hamburg and led again with a nine goal difference all the spectators left their seats. Again their team was in lead with ten goals – and Arpad Sterbik now saved nearly every shot of HSV players. For Hamburg the 27:35 was the biggest ever defeat in their Champions League history, for Ciudad it was the 13th victory in their 14th CL match of this season. Joan Canellas was top scorer of Ciudad Real with seven goals, Marcin Lijewski scored four goals for Hamburg.

Statement of the coaches:

Martin Schwalb (Hamburg):Congratulations to Ciudad Real. They played with hard intensity and surprised withtheir great defense and their attacks. They played better than us and they deserve to be in the EHF FINAL4.”

Talant Dujshebajew (Ciudad Real):I think it's unfair that those teams met so soon again, as it should have been normal that we had met in Cologne. Right now I feel 300 percent happy and although we have not won anything this season up to now, we've achieved the goal of being in Cologne.”

TEXT: Björn Pazen