Kiel win thriller of CologneArticle
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The fourth consecutive EHF Champions League final for German champions.

Kiel win thriller of Cologne

THW Kiel will meet the FC Barcelona in the final of the first ever EHF FINAL4. The Germans won the real thriller against reigning champion Ciudad Real 29:27 (12:15), attended by 18,769 spectators – a new spectator record for European Cup matches.

For Kiel it’s the fourth consecutive EHF Champions League final after 2007, 2008 and 2009. The last two years the Germans had lost the finals against Ciudad Real, now they took revenge in a real highlight match of two handball titans.

Aron Palmarsson made the spectators and team go crazy with his goal to the final score six seconds before the end. Top scorers in this historic match were Sprenger and Jicha (six goals each for Kiel) and Jonas Källman (six goals for Ciudad Real).

On Sunday the reigning champion now will have to play the 3 / 4 game against Medvedi Chekhov, as Kiel grabs for the new trophy in the reprise of the EHF Champions League final of 2000. Back then Barcelona took the title.

The match was absolutely equal until the final stage of the first half, as Ciudad Real took off to the halftime score of 15:12. The game was absolutely breathtaking, it was a fight for every inch of the court with hot blooded and intense defense duels. The fans saw a fight full of speed and world class where as many as eleven former or current World Champions played on the court. Among them were five Frenchmen who wrote history, as they’re World, European and Olympics Champion at the same time.

One of them is Kiel goalkeeper Thierry Omeyer, who started brilliantly. But his counterpart, Ciudad keeper Arpad Sterbik, arose to a concrete wall later on. His saves avoided that Kiel could put a distance to the reigning champion. On the other hand, the THW defense stood well, too. Only after six minutes some rivalries between the players started – another evidence for the high emotion match of two opponents on absolute eye level.

Right after the break Christian Zeitz, who replaced injured Kim Andersson, started Kiel’s catch-up race for the final with his second goal. Omeyer improved and made the hall go crazy.

But Ciudad Real remained cool in the boiling pot. Like in the finals of 2008 and 2009 left wing Jonas Källman surpassed himself. His team got a comfortable 19:15 lead in minute 37, but by a series of 5:1 THW equalized again in only four minutes.

As the emotions were close to explode on the court and on the stands, both defences tried hard to stop the attackers – by all means. It was an incredible clash of two of the best teams of the world.

Ten minutes before the end Kiel took the lead for the first time, after Zeitz had scored the 24:23. But right as they were close to turn the game Kiel weakened themselves by two suspensions against Jicha and Klein. But Ciudad Real couldn’t take the profit from this situation at all: With two players less on the field Zeitz scored the 25:24 for Kiel.

The absolutely thrilling final stage began and due to a wrong substitution Ciudad Real received a suspension With his sixth goal Christian Sprenger extended the Kiel lead to 26:24 four minutes before the end. But still nothing was decided! Fernandez and Entrerrios reduced the distance to 27:28. Only 32 seconds before the end Omeyer saved a shot of Davis, Kiel took their time-out. And then Palmarsson got the party started for the Germans, as he scored and the Ciudad players left the field with heads hung low.

TEXT: Björn Pazen