First points for SävehofArticle
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Two German victories, four white vests and a last second goal in Sweden were the ingredients of match day 3 of the VELUX EHF Champions League matches on Sunday.

»EHF CL Channel »2010-11 Men's CL
»Group Phase

First points for Sävehof

Still four teams from four countries are spotless after 30 percent of the Group Phase: Veszprém (Hungary), Kolding (Denmark), Löwen (Germany) and Ciudad Real (Spain). Aside reigning champion THW Kiel, Chekhovski, Valladolid and Zagreb are still unbeaten in this VELUX EHF Champions League season. On Sunday Sävehof took their first points and Szeged won their second match at home.

Group A:

Löwen ahead of Kiel and Barca – this is the situation after Match Day 3. Kielce still wait for their first points.

THW Kiel – Vive Targi Kielce 33:29 (16:13)

It was much harder work than expected before for the reigning champion of the VELUX EHF Champions League to beat still pointless team from Kielce. The biggest problem for the Germans was to stop outstanding Kielce pivot Rastko Stojkovic, who scored incredible 13 goals. It took until the final stage of the match, before this game was decided – Ahlm, Illic and Jicha each scored six times for the still unbeaten team from Kiel. THW turned the 8:8 to 16:13 at the break, but even in the second half THW wasn’t able to reach a bigger distance tohard fighting team from Kielce. After the 26:29 the Polish champion hoped for the big surprise, but then Jicha and Zeitz secured the two points at the score of 31:26.

After the match THW announced that the contract with German international Dominik Klein was extended for three more years until 2014.

Statements after the match:

Alfred Gislasson, Kiel coach: “I analysed the first two Kielce matches, but today they played much better. Our defense didn’t act well, specially against Stojkovic – and in attack we missed too many clear chances. We’re happy to be the winner of this close match, but a lot of work is waiting for us in the upcoming weeks.”

Bogdan Wenta, Kielce coach: “If someone would have bet against me before the game that we’ll lose with only four goals, I would have agreed. Kiel was the better team in the whole game, but we can be satisfied with our performance.”

Rhein Neckar Löwen – Chambery Savoie 37:22 (19:11)

The Löwen remain spotless – and celebrated a clear victory after their first home match in this VELUX EHF Champions League season. Thanks to a good start (6:2) and a strong defense, Löwen were the kings in their cage for 60 minutes – and Chambery played completely different to last week when they had beaten Celje. But even after the halftime score of 19:11 the memory of last season was in the heads of the Germans – in 2009 they tied against Chambery after a six goal lead. But this year the lions remained highly concentrated and in minute 47 it was a 13 goals difference for the first time in this absolutely one-sided match. Another key factor was goalkeeper Henning Fritz, who saved 20 shots. Top scorers were Myrhol (seven goals for the Löwen) and Paty (five goals for Chambery).

Statements after the match:

Gudmundur Gudmundssson, Rhein Neckar Löwen coach: “We had analysed Chambery before and knew all about their tactics. I’m satisfied with the way we played, but we have to stay on the ground even after this great performance.”

Philippe Gardent, Chambery coach: “Since last season the Löwen have improved, they play with much more excitement. We didn’t have a chance today.”

On Match Day 4 Kielce want to grab the chance for points against leader Löwen, Kiel has to travel to the lion’s den in Celje and Barcelona is favourite in Chambery, but has to be aware, as also Celje lost in the Alps before.

Group B:

Kolding and Veszprem are in lead spotless– four points ahead of three teams, including top clubs like Hamburg and Montpellier, which are equal in points with Sävehof now.

IK Sävehof – Tatran Presov 33:32 (16:11)

It was a long and tough fight, but in the end Sävehof took their first points in this VELUX EHF Champions League season, as Presov’s still pointless. Friden (7), Jakobsson (6), Apelgren and Stenbäcken (each 5) paved the way for the Swedish champion with in total 23 of the 33 goals. Antl and Radchenko each scored six times for the Slowaks. Despite a 7:5 lead Presov lost their rhythm completely and Sävehof went away to 20:11 – what seemed to be the pre-decision. But the roller coaster took the opposite direction, as the Slowaks first reduced to 29:30 and then equalized at the 31:31 and 32:32. Four seconds before the end Apelgren scored the decisive goal.

On Match Day 4 Hamburg will have their first home match of this season (against Sävehof) – but the absolute clash of the titans will be the game of the two spotless clubs Veszprem and Kolding. Montpellier has to improve to take the points from Presov.

Group C:

As Valladolid and Medvedi lead the table with each five points, Szeged caught up to them by beating Aalborg.

Pick Szeged – Aab Handball 37:28 (18:13)

Supported by a great atmosphere Szeged took their second victory on home ground after beating Schaffhausen – and built a quite good base for their objective, to go to the last 16. Aalborg – still waiting for their first ever victory in the VELUX EHF Champions League – couldn’t catch up with the Hungarians. The Danes had their best period right after the break when they reduced the gap to three goals, but then Katzirz (in total seven goals), Sulc (6) and Zubaj decided the game very early. AaB top scorer was Larholm with seven goals.

Statements after the match:

Peter Bredsdorff-Larsen, coach of Aalborg: “We were happy to come to a club with big tradition and great history. We come to Szeged to win the game and we knew that we had to prepare very well and had to do our best. I have to admit that we were far away to win the game.”

László Skaliczki, coach of Szeged: “We expected a tough game, because the Danish handball is very famous and they have excellent players. Our audience was fantastic, and during the entry ceremony I was shivering. The feeling was like when I was a coach here years ago and we played against Barcelona. I believe that emotions determine thoughts, and this was very important today. I am very happy and congratulate my players. I would like to thank you the Aalborg for the fair game.”

Kristian Kjelling, player of Aalborg: “During the game we didn’t think that we might with so many goals, we were justfighting and moving forward as hard as we could. After the game we feel big disappointment, but I would like to congratulate the Pick Szeged.”

Ádám Bajorhegyi, player of Szeged: “We hold the game in our hands in both halves, although bad periods occurred. Luckily then we always had one or two players who gave an impulse. I am very happy that we could win this game and I am also happy because fans think that I am better and better.”

On Match day 4 the leading teams Chekhovski Medvedi (against Schaffhausen) and Valladolid (against Szeged) are in favoured roles. Aalborg’s objective against Minsk is to take their first victory.

Group D:

The wheat is starting to separate from the chaff after three rounds, as Ciudad Real (6 points), Zagreb (5) and Flensburg (4) have won their matches.

Renovalia Ciudad Real – HCM Constanta 34:28 (15:12)

The shooter again decided the game for Ciudad Real: Eight goals of Kiril Lazarow paved the way for the Spaniards to their third victory in their third match. Constanta remained with zero points after this expected defeat and after changing their coach. 3128 spectators attended a one-side game in which the host had the lead throughout the whole 60 minutes. After the 9:3 Constanta could reduce the gap to 12:15 at the break, but latest at the score of 26:19 the winner was known. After the 32:25 Ciudad Real decelerated and Constanta reduced again to four goals.

Statements after the match:

Hairi Eden, coach of Constanta: “Congratulations to Ciudad Real. I think we did some mistakes because the changes in the last days. We have a young team and we had no time to adapt to the new situation. I hope that we can change in future and will play better.”

Talant Dujshebaev, coach of Renovalia Ciudad Real: “I’m happy with the team because they have taken the game very seriously and have kept the control.”

Daniel Cristian, player of Constanta: “We have to improve because we have changed the coach this week and we are adapting. Ciudad Real has been better and we were unable stop him.”

Nacho Plaza, player of Ciudad Real: "I played the best I could and it has been difficult to play in defense. I felt good and now I have to train every day to improve”.

On Match Day 4 Constanta need a win against Bosna to remain with chances for the last 16. The top game of this group will be the visit of Ciudad Real in Zagreb, aside Flensburg will meet St. Petersburg on home soil.

TEXT: Björn Pazen