French lesson for KoldingArticle
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Montpellier win top match, Barca and Ciudad well-prepared for the Asobal clash, and Hamburg without problems against Presov – a summary of Saturday’s matches of Round 5.

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

French lesson for Kolding

Four victories from the favourites were the result of Saturday's matches of Round 5 in the VELUX EHF Champions League.

Group A:

Targi Vive Kielce – FC Barcelona-Borges 26:33 (11:18)

The expected ‘struggle for points’ was easier than expected for FC Barcelona, leaving Kielce awaiting its first victory and with only one point to its name after Round 5.

The home team knew that only a victory could keep their chances alive.

Accordingly, they started with a lot of enthusiasm, but also made too many mistakes at the beginning to hand Barcelona an early five-goal lead, at 7.2.

After the break, and with a seven-goal deficit, the performance of Kielce improved, but they could only manage to stop the gap from increasing.

After ten minutes of the second half the host clawed back to a four-goal gap with Stojkovič leading the chase, but Barcelona didn’t allow closer contact, sealing the victory in the last ten minutes.

The Catalan success was mainly due to outstanding top-scorer Iker Romero, who hit the back of the net eleven times. Zaremba scored six times in reply for Kielce.

Statements after the match:

Xavier Pascual, Barcelona coach: "I want to give thanks to all the Kielce spectators. They were great, and we knew them from the summer tournament. We played very well today, especially Romero and Raul. In the second half the home team improved. For us it’s a very important victory. We knew about the situation, but everything went well for us."

Iker Romero, Barcelona player: "I was looking forward to coming to Kielce. In front of these spectators you cannot have a weak day. We played well, but we had some luck as well. I wish Kielce good luck but first of all it was important for us to qualify."

Bogdan Wenta, Kielce coach: "We allowed too many opportunities for our opponents. Barcelona has an exceptional team with great players. We have to learn from matches like this, and hope we will meet them again in the future. I wouldn’t say that we didn’t fight enough, but the difference was too big."

Mateusz Zaremba, Kielce player: "Barcelona was much better and deserved to win. Our defence didn’t work well and I was one of the players who couldn’t cope with his duties."

Group B:

HSV Hamburg – Tatran Presov 35:23 (17:11)

From rank four to rank three – this was the step HSV Hamburg made after their well-deserved victory against the still pointless team from Presov.

The Germans (now with six points) were dominant for nearly the whole 60 minutes, even though the Slovakian champion was surprisingly in the lead at the very beginning.

Top scorer for Hamburg was Pascal Hens, who’d returned to the team after injury, with six goals, but the top scorer of the match was Dainis Kristopans with 7 goals for Presov.

Thanks to a strong performance from goalkeeper Per Sandström and five goals from Blaženko Lacković in the first 30 minutes, HSV extended the lead after the 6:6 to 17:11 at the break.

Presov then lost their rhythm completely and made too many mistakes, which were punished by the Germans. In the 42nd minute, the distance was ten goals for the first time - 25:15 – and the game was effectively decided.

Statements after the match:

Martin Schwalb, HSV Hamburg coach: "The start was difficult, but when we began to put enough pressure on the Presov defence, everything worked well. After the break our defence played better and I really enjoyed watching Pascal Hens on his comeback."

Rastislav Trtik, Tatran Presov coach: "It was a good chance for us to meet a world-class team. In the first 20 minutes we played well, but then it became harder minute by minute. The result is not as bad as it looks, though."

Stefan Schröder, HSV Hamburg player: "When we entered the field after the break, our performance was stronger than in the beginning, especially in defence. Our great spectators, once again, played a big part in this victory."

Dainis Kristopans, Tatran Presov player: "This was a really tough match for us, as we had big problems with the HSV defence. But I’m glad, personally, to have scored some goals against those world-class HSV goalkeepers."

KIF Kolding – Montpellier Agglomeration 28:36 (13:19)

The French rose again: Nikola Karabatić and Vid Kavtičnik, had their international comebacks after injuries, and were the match winners for Montpellier in this top clash.

With six points on their account the French Champion is equal with the Danes and HSV now. Nobody expected such a clear result – except the 50 French supporters who arrived in Kolding after a 22-hour bus ride.

The beginning of the game was equal, but then Kolding made a lot of "unforced errors" in attack and didn’t play aggressively enough in defence.

The French team had no problems in deciding the game early, thanks to counter-attacks and their physically-stronger back-court players.

Even a time-out called by KIF coach Ingemar Linnell at the score of 6:9 didn’t help his team.

In fact, Montpellier extended the gap to six goals at the break and later, to ten goals in the 40th minute (26:16).

Despite the late goals of Anders Oechsler, Kolding couldn’t turn the game, as the MAHB goalkeepers, Stochl and Robin, played brilliantly.

Vid Kavtičnik was top scorer with eight goals, Oechsler and Christiansen each scored seven times, and Karabatić six times.

Statements after the match:

Patrice Canayer, Montpellier coach: "I’m really happy and have to give my congratulations to the whole team. It was a highly important result in a match that we expected to be much closer."

Nikola Karabatić, Montpellier player: "We were under pressure and I know from all the matches I played in Kolding that it is very tough to stand here. So I was surprised about the clear result. The decisive period was the last 15 minutes in the first half when we extended the lead by counter-attacks. In the second half it was easier to play."

Ingemar Linnell, Kolding coach: "It was really an easy game for Montpellier, We started well, but then we lacked consistency in defence – and without a stable defence, you cannot beat Montpellier, a team which is physically much stronger than ours. We were really taught a lesson by Montpellier and I hope we’ve learned the lesson well, for when we meet again next Sunday in France."

Kasper Söndergaard, Kolding player: "Montpellier was an amazing team, much stronger than we were. I hope we can improve to stand a chance next weekend."

Group D:

Bosna Sarajevo – Renovalia Ciudad Real 22:29 (11:16)

Ciudad Real remains unbeaten and Bosna remains without a victory. With nine points on their account, the Spaniards have already opened-up a seven-point gap to fifth place.

The match was easy-going for the favoured team from La Mancha, four days before the Liga Asobal classic against FC Barcelona.

Top star of the match in the Skenderija hall was a Balkan player: the Macedonian Kiril Lazarov, who scored seven goals for Ciudad Real. Celica scored six times for Bosna.

The Bosnians had no real chance against the three-time winner of the VELUX EHF Champions League.

Right after the break, Ciudad had virtually decided the game by making the score 18:11, and from then onwards, the difference always remained between seven and nine goals.

TEXT: Björn Pazen